Paul Merson urges Chelsea to sign two players to catch Arsenal and Man City | Football

Paul Merson has been discussing Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea (Picture: Sky Sports)

Paul Merson says Chelsea need to strengthen in two positions this summer to ‘start bridging the gap’ to Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool.

Despite enjoying their best spell of the season, Mauricio Pochettino’s side are still just seventh in the Premier League – 13 points outside the Champions League places and 29 points adrift of leaders Arsenal.

At various points of the season it appeared as though Pochettino’s job may be under serious threat but the Blues’ recent form – alongside two productive cup runs – has given Chelsea fans hope ahead of the 2024-25 campaign.

Merson insists Chelsea have a long way to go to rival Premier League title contenders Arsenal, Man City and Liverpool and says a Champions League spot should be the objective for next season.

But he says Pochettino will need even more help in the transfer market and has urged Chelsea to sign an ‘experienced centre-back’ to replace the departing Thiago Silva and a new striker.

‘Chelsea haven’t been consistent enough,’ Merson told Sky Sports. ‘They’ve been good in the cups – that’s what sometimes happens when you’re a young team. 

‘They’re doing well at the moment, fair play, and they’re right in the race for Europe. 

Departing Thiago Silva in action for Chelsea

Chelsea need to replace the departing Thiago Silva (Picture: PA)

‘For me, they’ve got to get in – they’ve got into a final, a semi-final, they were bang unlucky in both, and it could turn out to still be not a bad season. 

‘But they’ll have to go and buy players, and not sit and think that they got it right all along. No, they haven’t. They’re miles off Man City and Arsenal. You’ve got to look at the all-round picture. 

‘They’ve got to bring in experience in the summer. It looks like Thiago Silva’s going, he’s their main experienced player. 

‘So they’ve got to add to that, you need that if you want consistency when things aren’t going too well, and they can just calm it down a bit. 

‘They probably need an experienced centre-half to take Silva’s place, and they could do with another centre-forward too. 

‘They want to be getting into the Champions League next year, surely. So they’ve got to start bridging the gap to Arsenal and Man City. 

‘This is Chelsea, not a run-of-the-mill team. Chelsea are used to winning things, they want to win stuff – not finish fourth in the league like Tottenham wanted to do, and celebrate about it. 

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‘I can’t see how Poch isn’t in charge next season, though nothing surprises you. I haven’t thought they should ever get rid of him, he’s a good manager. 

‘Individuals don’t win anything, and as long as they can keep sorting that out and keep playing as a team now, they’ll be alright.’ 

Chelsea, who thrashed London rivals West Ham 5-0 at the weekend, conclude their Premier League campaign against Nottingham Forest, Brighton and Bournemouth.

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