Amid a period of uncertainty surrounding Chelsea Football Club Thomas Tuchel is still the shining light despite having not been at the club a year. Many names have been lined up for departures away from King’s Road. This would mark the end of an era – should the club decide to part ways with the players who have expiring contracts in the summer.
Losing players of such high calibre and importance on and off the field would call for major changes, a revamp of the club, its style and philosophy since the start of the Tuchel Administration.
Losing club captain Cesar Azpilicueta and defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen would be catastrophic to the side’s defence – with all three names playing an integral part of Tuchel’s back three since the inception of the club’s organization in defence being a crucial part of their success under the German. What does this spell for the defence if three first-team starters are lost? A back four?
Everywhere Thomas Tuchel has gone – be it Mainz, Dortmund and PSG, he has placed emphasis on attacking football. Chelsea has been the only place where he has consistently persisted with the wingback structure in a five man defence. Now that he has settled the team down, with every player knowing their worth, it might not be completely uncalled for to suggest that he may revert to what he excels and specializes in.
Chelsea already have an embarrassment of riches at their disposal in midfield and attack. Jorginho and N’Golo Kante both finished in the top five for the Ballon d’Or, demonstrating the class Chelsea have over others in Europe.
Chelsea must place all their trust into the hands of Tuchel and allow him to spend money, mould this Champions League winning side in his image to make them an invincible juggernaut. The previously ever-effective 3-4-2-1 model seems to have lost its touch in places in the past month, though there are mitigating circumstances that make this understandable. The point still stands that Tuchel may look to revert what he established in Mainz, Dortmund and Paris. An attacking 4-2-3-1 system.
To change to a four at the back formation many things must be sorted out in January and in the summer. For example, any players who do not fall into the philosophy of the manager and do not fit the bill of Tuchel’s plans, should be moved on and replaced with players that do fit the bill.
The contract renewals of the trio of Rudiger, Christensen and Azpilicueta should be solved as soon as possible. But the club should prepare for the worst. Rudiger and Azpilicueta both being linked heavily with moves to Spain, the club may be forced to cut their losses. However, the talks with Christensen are still ongoing and seem to be reaching some sort of climax, which could be good news potentially for the European Champions.
Let’s have a look at the top two priorities needed in order to start operating with a back four. Losing two centre halves would mean bringing in at least one as a replacement – making right centre-back a problem position; someone to partner Thiago Silva is needed. A name which immediately springs to mind is the French international Jules Kounde. Chelsea were hoping to wrap up a deal for the defender last summer but fell short of Sevilla’s £70m valuation. This January, a deal is heavily possible following the defender’s desire to move to west London and the club willing to lower their price-tag. Kounde should be the top priority for January following the Covid-19 and injury crisis brewing, as well as the contract drama at Chelsea.
Kounde would slot in as a right centre-back in a strongest, preferred 4-2-3-1 for Tuchel. He would bring about power, pace and ball carrying ability. His speed and acceleration would mean that Chelsea can continue to play a high line – even with the change in system. He also averages 3.1 clearances per game, bettered only in the La Liga by one other defender. And he averages 0.9 tackles and 1.1 interceptions per game. The risks are low if Chelsea can secure a deal for him; a young player with plenty of potential to hit the highest level under Thomas Tuchel and only get better.
Another problem position that needs to be solved in the transfer market is a creative and direct winger. Chelsea have failed to fill the void of this requirement left by Eden Hazard. Christian Pulisic’s injury woes have troubled his Chelsea career and brought about a cloud of uncertainty, as well as links being reported that he would be looked likely to be a part of the summer overhaul.
Step forward Federico Chiesa. The 24-year-old Italian winger is one of the hottest properties in Europe right now. Chiesa recently faced Chelsea in the Champions League but performed excellently on English soil during Euro 2020. The winger was one of the Italians’ title-winning stars and could well help add to the attacking options at Stamford Bridge after recording 18 G/A in 29 league starts for Juventus in 20/21.
His stats pretty much speak for themselves. He is currently averaging 2.2 shots per game, which is exactly what Chelsea are seeking from their wingers – a risk-taking and goal-scoring wide-man. He is also the direct winger Chelsea need, averaging 2.6 dribbles per game.
Chiesa is a dynamic and versatile attacker who could slot into Tuchel’s intense press with ease, while some have questioned the lack of game-changers available to the Blues and whether they need an upgrade. Federico Chiesa would most certainly fill the void on the flank Chelsea have struggled to fill since the departure of Eden Hazard. He will bring the technical quality and playmaking to unlock oppositions as well as getting in behind and being a goal threat. He is still young and will mould into a top lethal winger under the guidance of Thomas Tuchel if a deal can be struck.
This one seems quite likely to happen too, with reports from Italy suggesting Chelsea are set to bid €84m for Juventus star Federico Chiesa, with manager Thomas Tuchel having approved the deal. That’s according to reports, with Italian journalist Enzo Bucchioni claiming that the finer details are being worked on right now.
“Chelsea have decided to take action and offer €84 million for Federico Chiesa,” Bucchioni says. “Evidently seeing him play twice closely has removed the last doubts and Tuchel gave the OK and the operation has officially started through intermediaries.”
Signing these two should be top priorities for this winter and the upcoming summer; to set the foundations for a new era; bearing in mind Tuchel spent a positive net spend during the previous summer after winning the Champions League. It’s time for him to spend the money now and establish his blueprint, the way he did in Germany and in Paris – but this time in London. West London.
This time it’s different, it feels like he’s building something special, we need to let him work his magic and give him the keys to the kingdom. It’s time for Tuchel’s blueprint to be put into construction.
Written by Ibrahim Khan (@ibzfussball)
Edited by Tom Coley (@tomcoley49)
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