The Blues shipped five goals at Anfield on Wednesday night to bring their goals against column in the Premier League up to a worrying 54. That tally is higher than any team in the top half it is more than Brighton, just two places above the relegation zone.
The club moved early to secure the signings of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, while there have been strong rumours that they are now lining up an approach for Bayer Leverkusen ace Kai Havertz.
And if the club is going to challenge Liverpool or Manchester City for next season’s Premier League title then they will need to improve their defence.
The Reds, City and Manchester United all have moved to invest in a dominant, defensive leader-Virgil van Dijk, Aymeric Laporte, Harry Maguire. Even if the attributes and strengths of these players differ, they all offer a significant upgrade on other defensive options and are the first names on the squad list.
At Stamford Bridge, this option is not available. Antonio Rudiger may be the closest but his form has been scratchy while Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori are all adequate choices but none stand out as established, undisputed starters.
Fresh rumours have now tied the club to Atletico Madrid defender Jose Maria Gimenez. The Uruguayan central defender has been part of Diego Simeone’s first-team squad for six seasons. He is tough, combative, fast and commanding. He has fitted into European football’s most reliable and resilient defensive unit and plays with both confidence and personality.
There is little doubt that Gimenez possesses all the vital attributes to put him on the road to success, but he has one weakness. Injuries. Lots of them.
The 25-year-old has sustained 17 different injuries in his career, 15 of which have been muscular. He has endured separate toe and ankle injuries in recent seasons but he has been hit, again and again, by hamstring and calf strains.
This trend of misfortune has held him back; Gimenez has played 20 or more La Liga games in just one season and not at all in the past four campaigns.
This is a major concern and has caused rumours that one of his legs is longer than the other, which will distort his stance and lead to muscle wear and tear in high-intensity workouts.
Of course, this misery is not the fault of the defender and players at the Madrid-based club are often afflicted by muscular injuries, reportedly due to the intensity and fierceness of Atletico Madrid conditioning training. Perhaps at some other club, with dissimilar training routines, the injuries would clear up.
There is no doubt about Gimenez ‘s capacity at the highest level. He initially built a rock-steady defensive partnership with fellow Uruguayan Diego Godin, and his dressing room status has grown following Godin ‘s departure last summer.
A host of experienced players left Atletico Madrid -Juanfran Torres, Filipe Luis and Gabi Fernandez among them. Gimenez is now still young – aged only 25 – but also highly experienced and is now the club’s ‘third captain’ behind Koke and Jan Oblak.
The emergence of Stefan Savic and Felipe Monteiro means Gimenez is no longer a proven starter as he struggles to overcome his muscular injuries and build up a run of form. Perhaps, in this context, Atletico Madrid would be open to a sale this summer but Diego Simeone will be aware that Gimenez embodies ‘Cholismo’ – the coach’s philosophy of defensive solidity and unrivalled dedication – and is invaluable to the dressing room.
Along with Saul Niguez, Thomas Partey, Koke, Gimenez (who joined the club as a young teen from Danubio in Uruguay) has been at the club for nearly the entirety of his professional career.
Injuries may have riddled him physically but his mind is that of a warrior, someone who is willing to play through the pain barrier and sacrifice himself to benefit the team. It remains extremely doubtful that Gimenez will leave Madrid, but he would mark a tremendous signing for any club at the elite stage.
This is a player who would instantly establish himself above Chelsea’s other defensive options and become an instant starter. He could marshal the defence and lead by example-the qualities the fragile Blues back-line have desperately lacked this campaign.
His injury record can prove to be a major concern for any suitors, but if he can put his injury problems behind him then Gimenez will represent an excellent signing.