Former Premier League manager Sam Allardyce believes not replacing Kurt Zouma could cost Chelsea the title this season.
Zouma left Chelsea for West Ham this summer. Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde was supposed to replace Zouma before Chelsea pulled out of the deal due to Sevilla’s demands.
Allardyce told Sky Sports: “When you let Zouma go and you haven’t replaced him is the reason as to why they wanted to sign Kounde.
“That could be a big telling factor because his [Thomas Tuchel’s] defensive success was based on the defensive quality that they proved last year that Frank [Lampard] couldn’t find.
“But he found that defensive quality at Chelsea straight away which stood them in good stead and I think they had the best defensive record apart from Manchester City in his tenure.
“I think that is why they did so well, and they won the Champions League.
“Injuries in that area now may make it more difficult but certainly the rest of the squad and especially Lukaku where it was goals missing upfront last year, they’ve got that leading goalscorer to put that right.
“Defensively, if they suffer a few injuries, I just wonder how they will get on with the cover that they now have in the centre-half area.
“Zouma’s gone and the young and upcoming Kounde was going to be the natural replacement- he had a lot of quality in Spain and now has a big reputation.
“It would have been ideal but unfortunately it hasn’t happened for him.”