Avram Grant has backed Thomas Tuchel to steer Chelsea back towards the top of English football again over the next 12 months and believes his former club now have the strongest squad in the Premier League.
Tuchel remains unbeaten since taking over the reins from Frank Lampard back in January and the Blues will move to within three points of third-placed Leicester City in the table should they beat Everton this evening.
Chelsea are also alive and kicking in the Champions League after the 47-year-old German – who has been nominated for the Premier League Manager of the Month award – led them to an outstanding victory over Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their round of 16 tie.
Widespread reports suggest Tuchel already has one eye on the summer transfer window as he looks to further strengthen ahead of his first full season at Stamford Bridge but Grant – who took charge of Chelsea from 2007 to 2008 – feels there’s already an argument for them having the best squad around.
On whether Chelsea can return to a ‘title-challenging level’ under Tuchel within the next year, Grant told Dubai Eye 103.8 Sport:
‘When you ask me this question the first thing I’m looking for is if they have the players or not because you need a strategy, you need a lot of things but you need to the players to do it and I think they have good players now.
‘They have a very good goalkeeper and they have good defenders. [Antonio] Rudiger, for me, is one of the best defenders in the Premier League and you see it now when he’s playing and they have good midfield players, [N’Golo] Kante and others.
‘They’ve spent a lot of money. [Kai] Havertz is a big talent, others players from Ajax, Timo Werner… I think they have the squad, they need to put them together but I don’t see any other team that has a better squad than them.
‘Maybe in terms of attacking you can say Liverpool because they have [Mohamed] Salah and others. But if you look at the midfield and others, I think [it’s true].’
DO CHELSEA HAVE THE STRONGEST SQUAD IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE?
Yes No Asked whether Chelsea’s squad is really better than the current Manchester City outfit, Grant responded:
‘It’s a good question. I don’t think that City now, after David Silva left, have a better squad than others.
‘I think what’s happened is that they have a very good team and squad but tell me one position where they have a top, top player now. Top, I mean like David Silva or others. I don’t think so.’
Pressed on whether Kevin De Bruyne should be considered in that bracket, Grant said:
‘Ah, De Bruyne is top-class, yes. ‘For me, he is the most efficient player in the world. If you look at his numbers since he played outside of England.
‘De Bruyne, yes, I agree with you. They are a very good team, don’t get me wrong, but I say when you look sometimes there a lot of stars everywhere but I don’t see stars. ‘I think Pep Guardiola is doing a great job with very good players.’