A Look at Chelsea's Frightening Squad Depth After January Signings
- Chelsea broke the bank to acquire their transfer targets in the January window
- The Blues recently secured the signature of Benfica ace Enzo Fernandez, after chasing the World Cup winner for weeks
- Graham Potter will now have to find his perfect starting XI to enable the Blues to salvage what has been an underwhelming season
The transfer window is finally shut, and fans who have been closely following Chelsea’s activities in the market can take a breather.
Graham Potter now has the unenviable task of finding his strongest XI, after the Blues spent a whopping £320m in January transfers alone.
At the moment, Chelsea currently has one of the deepest squads in English topflight, with practically every position having a backup.
With the addition of Enzo Fernandez to the squad, who will cost the club £105 million as per BBC, Chelsea can now regard themselves as a competitive side, although it might be too little too late to go for the big prizes as they currently lie 10th on the log, 10 points off the top four places.
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What is Potter’s strongest starting XI?
In goal, Potter will have the option to choose whether to go with his favourite Kepa Arrizabalaga or resort to AFCON champion Edouard Mendy.
Mendy has lost his place as Chelsea’s number 1 in recent weeks but remains an integral part of the side.
As far as defence is concerned, it is really a no brainer if everyone is fit.
Reece James typically has the right back position, while the centre backs are likely to be Thiago Silva and Benoit Badiashile, while Ben Chilwell will hold things down at left back.
This is an area that has a lot of versatility in Chelsea, and it is usually dependent on whether Potter decides to use the ‘three-at-the-back’ setup as opposed to the traditional 4-2-3-1.
Enzo Fernandez will be a like-for-like replacement for Jorginho, who joined Arsenal on deadline day, and is likely to partner with N’golo Kante at the heart of midfield. Mason Mount is also a strong contender.
However, Chelsea also has the luxury of choosing from either Matteo Kovacic, Connor Gallagher, Denis Zakaria or Ruben Loftus cheek, who are all fully capable of commanding the midfield battle.
This is where things get interesting for Chelsea as they still are devoid of a classic number 9, with the exception of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Ironically, this is not to say the team is short of attacking talent, especially with the addition of Mykhailo Petrovych Mudryk, who showed glimpses of what he is capable of during the 0-0 draw against Liverpool recently.
Chelsea has had a culture of playing with a false-9, and they have plenty of players who are brilliant in that role including loanee Joao Felix, Kai Havertz and Aubameyang.
Still in attack, Graham Potter can go for a combination of Mudryk and Raheem Sterling on either side of the false nine, with Christian Pulisic, Chukwunonso Madueke, Callum Hudson Odoi David Datro Fofana also other options.
With every other factor considered, this would be the ideal squad for Chelsea:
In goal: Kepa
Defence: Reece James, Silva, Benoit Badiashile, Ben Chilwell
Midfield: Mason Mount, Enzo Fernandez
Attack: Raheem Sterling, Mykhailo Mudryk, Kai Havertz, Joao Felix
How Chelsea is avoiding breaching FFP rules
Sports Brief also reported on how Chelsea has somehow avoided punishment from FIFA despite their massive spending.
Mudryk's deal is believed to have been spread across eight years, with Chelsea paying instalments of slightly over 10 million euros each year through a process known as amortization.
This helps the club only record an outward investment of 10 million every year, rather than trying to balance the whole amount at once, which would be difficult. This also explains the bizarre length of the contract given to Mudryk.
For Enzo, the fact that Chelsea will pay Benfica an initial fee of 40 million euros. The rest of the money is expected to be spread in different financial years.
Source: Sports Brief News