Marina Granovskaia £58m Kevin De Bruyne heir might force Chelsea to take Ousmane Dembele risk – Daniel Childs

Hearing noises that some of Chelsea’s attackers are not particularly happy right now caused more of a stir than it should of.

Romelu Lukaku’s interview included sentiments expressed by supporters months before, though when coming out the mouth of the £98m forward felt unprofessional.

His decision to air dirty laundry was misguided, and the aftermath has been painful for the Belgian’s reputation. But some of his teammates might be feeling similar, leading to the upcoming summer when transfer questions will be posed to Marina Granovskaia over where the club looks next.

Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz all watched from the bench during Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Spurs last Sunday – a trio that cost Chelsea £174m between 2019 and 2020.

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The lack of consistent end product has only been heightened by the superior numbers from players out on loan like Armando Broja and Conor Gallagher.

Pulisic, who has endured another difficult season at Stamford Bridge, has come in for attention whilst on international duty with the USMNT this week has elaborated on his current mood in west London.

“It’s tough, it’s tough.” The 23-year-old told Goal earlier this week.

“It’s definitely played a lot on me, and mentally it’s been difficult at times, but I’m always very excited to come back with the national team and step away and get to enjoy playing with these guys and get to just enjoying football in general.”

The American has played fewer minutes than Chelsea’s other attacking players this season, and there are again rumours of a summer departure. However, as The Athletic reported on Wednesday, Granovskaia will not sell for anything less than the price originally paid for him in 2019 of £58m.

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Apart from the business of recouping the original fee, there may also be some trepidation in letting Pulisic leave too soon. His development has been halted due to persistent injury issues but shown in moments the potential to blossom into an elite talent.

The 2014 sale of Kevin De Bruyne is a deal that will loom over Stamford Bridge for some time, a player who departed before getting the chance to become the extraordinary player he has for Manchester City.

Mohamed Salah could also be thrown into this list after a similar lack of opportunity under Jose Mourinho.

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Pulisic has had an opportunity to shine at Chelsea, but given his potential, he will not reach a peak age of 26 until 2025, when he could be somewhere else brushing his previous fitness woes behind him and becoming one of Europe’s best wide players.

The fear of ‘another De Bruyne’ situation has also been discussed with Callum Hudson-Odoi when Bayern Munich came in to buy him in 2019 and 2020.

Chelsea and Granovsakia probably fear a repeat though the 2022 summer transfer window poses a tricky dilemma. After over £300m of investment on attacking players has not led to a more prolific attack, how many of the current crop are worth persisting with?

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If Pulisic or others were to depart, would that open the door for Chelsea to recruit one of Tuchel’s previous gems in Ousmane Dembele? I feel a player would be a silly risk to take given his horrendous injury woes at Barcelona.

This is a player Tuchel has previously worked with and got the best out of at Borussia Dortmund for one season in the Bundesliga.

Though Tuchel will be prioritising players that best suit a more flexible system when assessing his current options, that’s something Pulisic has offered Tuchel at Dortmund and Chelsea.

But the fear of letting him go should not overcome Chelsea’s need to form a more prolific attack next season. And Pulisic’s frustration reflects the harsh reality of the current dilemma of an expensive attack lacking clarity.

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