Twelve months prior, it appeared as though Chelsea would experience a defensive centre issue. Nearing the conclusion of their contracts, Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, and Thiago Silva all appeared unlikely to have their terms extended.
Christensen and Rudiger eventually left on their own, and Todd Boehly and company had a difficult task on their hands when they arrived after the takeover to find successors. Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella, and Kalidou Koulibaly were all signed and have all played in Chelsea's back three this year. Since Chelsea struggled, none of them have had a perfect start, but their talent cost the Blues $165 million.
Meanwhile, Silva, who turned 38 this year and is once again approaching the end of his contract, has played more minutes in the Premier League than any other Chelsea player this season. The Brazilian, who is now competing in the World Cup, made a suggestion that negotiations for a deal might start before or after the event, but he also acknowledged that he desired to have his future settled so he could begin making plans for what comes next.
The Blues trained with the first team during the summer with two players who could play central defence. Since then, Thomas Tuchel has decided to add reinforcements and Levi Colwill and Ethan Ampadu have both left Stamford Bridge on loans rather than spend the season there.
Colwill trained briefly at the centre of the defence during that time, but an injury ultimately forced him to leave the team for the current campaign. The teenager ended up on loan at Brighton because the Chelsea leadership was not open to a permanent arrangement.
Since moving to the Amex Stadium, the 19-year-old has faced a new head coach and some fierce competition, but he has made three starts, including the Seagulls' final two games before the World Cup break. Colwill may be in a strong position when the Premier League resumes thanks to performances as Robert de Zerbi's left-side partner in a center-back pairing that have received rave reviews.
However, a person who may be the most familiar with Colwill's traits was taken aback by his departure from west London. Although Brighton is a good destination for the Cobham product, Huddersfield sporting director Leigh Bromby, who brought the defender on loan to the Terries last season, predicts that he will eventually find himself in the first team.
This is a logical next step to go on loan in the Premier League and then make that move to the first squad, he told the Athletic, adding that he was shocked he wasn't linked with Chelsea. I am aware of the boy's strong desire to play and ambition. He is quite smart, and he is aware that he must play this season.
On paper, it appears to be a brilliant decision and a perfect fit for him. You can see him naturally joining Chelsea and becoming a regular there if he does well this season.
With the club inclined to initially spend to strengthen, this summer demonstrated that it would not be simple for a defender to break through. Colwill will have another opportunity in the following summer. He will probably feel comforted knowing that Graham Potter was glad to sign him in the summer and will get the chance to evaluate him over a substantial amount of time.
Despite this, Chelsea has continued to be connected to players like Josko Gvardiol despite the summer's activities. The struggle to earn a spot on the Blues' first team is never over. However, according to Bromby, Colwill's talent and potential are undeniable.
There aren't many left-footed centre backs, he said. He stands a good chance. He's got a bright future, in my opinion.
"Did we anticipate him to perform at such high levels? Because we warned the coaches, they would either be the ones who started a future England international or the ones who let him down when he told his story to the media. We had a good deal of faith that he would develop into a star player."
The work Chelsea does moving forward will show how much they believe in Colwill's abilities. The decision to prevent the child from leaving the country permanently in August was a clear one, and a show of support. The Blues' next move, if Silva does leave, could be more significant for the former Huddersfield loanee whose contract expires in 2025.