Mauricio Pochettino makes Marc Cucurella and Ian Maatsen Chelsea transfer admission

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Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino has admitted that Ian Maatsen is in his plans, but outgoings at left-back could be expected to balance the squad this summer.

It comes after the Blues played out a match with Newcastle as part of a pre-season tour of the USA in the Summer Series, which ended in a 1-1 draw. Nicolas Jackson added another goal to his tally in his early days as a Chelsea player with a calm finish early in the first half.

Miguel Almiron equalised in stoppage time before a host of changes in the second half changed the flow of the game, which ended in a draw. It leaves the west London outfit with two wins and one draw from their three pre-season games so far, though the fitness and chemistry element are the most important aspect.

Mauricio Pochettino

“In general it was a good game,” Pochettino told reporters in a press conference afterwards. “Pleased with the attitude again and the performance – many, many positive things, things to improve. In general, I am so pleased and happy.”

One thing the new head coach was quizzed on surrounded the future of Maatsen, who has been linked with an exit following an impressive loan spell with Burnley last season. The youngster was given another opportunity to star in pre-season with the outing against Newcastle and has seemingly left and impression.

“Yes I am so happy with him. He is a player that can play in different positions. His quality, his understanding of the game, he is a clever player. I am so happy with him so far,” Pochettino said on the impact of the Cobham academy graduate, before he was asked on his future in the side.

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“So far he is in my plans,” the Argentinian coach continued. “I am so pleased with him, I told you before, I am so pleased because he is a player whose attitude, commitment and understanding of the game, we can use in different positions. That is a good thing for the team and for a coach. It is good to have this type of player.”

While that was very much the case when asked about Maatsen, the manager was drawn into talking about competition for places when asked about Marc Cucurella. The Blues currently have four left-back options in Maatsen, Cucurella, Ben Chilwell and Lewis Hall, something that Pochettino believes needs addressing.


He added: “At the moment he [Cucurella] is okay, he is good. All of the players start from zero. It’s about competing. We have him and Chilly also, and they need to compete for this position. Of course Ian, and Lewis, we have four players that play the same position.

“That is the balance we were talking about before. We need to add players as maybe in another position we miss some players and in that position we have four and sometimes the squad is unbalanced. We need to build a balanced squad to have the possibility to compete for a position but not have players who are going to be the third or fourth option to play and it is going to be impossible for one position, for four players to play for one place.”

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It remains to be seen what the solution to that issue is, whether it’s for loan moves, other positions on the pitch or an exit on a permanent basis. It has resulted in quite the conundrum, with balance an issue across the squad as a whole.


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