Former England international Peter Crouch thinks Chelsea are one transfer away from closing the gap on Manchester City next season.
The Blues haven’t been anywhere near the top of the table for most of the season but their recent form under Thomas Tuchel has people talking them up as potential challengers next season.
Chelsea have only lost two out of their 25 matches under the German since he replaced Frank Lampard at the helm at the end of January.
That run has seen them reach both the FA Cup and Champions League finals, while they have moved up to third in the Premier League table after they had previously looked likely to miss out on a top-four finish.
And Crouch reckons they are just a “top-class central defender” away from seriously challenging City – who they face in the Champions League final – for the Premier League title next season.
When asked what Chelsea need to close the gap on City next season, Crouch told the Daily Mail: “Another transfer window. If Chelsea can get a top-class central defender, one out of the highest bracket, that would put them in with a huge chance next season. Thomas Tuchel took over a really good squad but it is still behind City at the minute, for all the progress they have made.
“I cannot wait to see the next steps Tuchel and Chelsea make because I have been bowled over by the impact he has made. I’m so impressed and nobody in Europe would want to play them in their current form.
“They put a marker down for the Champions League final on Saturday. City will not play the line-up they used at the weekend on May 29 but it will be in their minds, the damage Chelsea can do in a one-off match.
“If you were giving me a free bet on that outcome, I would back Chelsea at the respective odds.”
When asked about tactical fouls and whether sin bins should be used to deter players from making them, Crouch added: “No. I cannot agree with you on this and I wouldn’t ever want to see them.
“Football is football – let’s not turn it into rugby or ice hockey. We have had too many rule changes that have ruined things in recent years. Let’s not add any more.”