Four wildcard transfer decisions Chelsea could make to solve crucial midfield problem

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There are just days left of the transfer window but plenty of business to be done.

Indeed, Chelsea could have plenty of players to sell before the end of play on Tuesday with the likes of Ross Barkley without a squad a number, and Kurt Zouma seemingly moving closer to a West Ham transfer.

Jules Kounde remains closely linked with a move to Thomas Tuchel’s side and with a multitude of defenders in the final year of their contracts, it is easy to see why.

But there is a growing consensus that it is actually Chelsea’s midfield that needs the most attention.

While N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are Ballon d’Or candidates in the eyes of many, the only current obvious player to rotate them with Mateo Kovacic, also no slouch.

However, given Kante’s injury record in recent seasons and Jorginho’s penchant for a yellow card from time to time, the Blues could be considered a little light in the department.

Aurélien Tchouaméni and Declan Rice have both appeared to hold interest from the Blues and there would be a great deal of money and competition to overcome to land either signature.

Below we take a look at some wildcard options that could prove to be the solution in the centre of the park for Chelsea.

Casemiro

It would certainly be a statement.

The Brazilian midfielder wouldn’t come cheap but as momentum builds for Real Madrid’s move for Kylian Mbappe reporters have suggested most of the squad would be considered for sale. Los Blancos have already allowed Madrid goliaths to depart in Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane this summer, and all of a sudden anything seems possible.

Casemiro has two years remaining on his deal so command a decent fee but the Blues would be gaining a player who could slot into the team and defensively could contribute as much as anyone. Nobody can live up to the work-rate of Kante, but 29-year-old Casemiro would add an aerial presence and produce more clearances to still allow those ahead to contribute in attacking phases.

He may not be as accurate with the ball at his feet as Jorginho but is used to seeing a lot of the ball. He would provide a new asset for Tuchel to tinker with and provide an engine that has regularly performed around 40 matches a season.

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It would ensure the Blues had top quality midfielders no matter the situation, but perhaps some angst for whoever doesn’t play in a given week.

Ruben Neves

Ruben Neves has been regularly linked to both Manchester United and Arsenal in recent months but perhaps it’s Chelsea that could benefit most.

Despite an impressive stint with Wolves, Neves remains just 24 years old and has experience of captaining with Champions League football. His experience at Porto during his teen years took him to one of the grandest platforms in football and the midfield is sure to hold ambitions of returning.

It may not be an easy move to make but Wolves have conceded he would have a price.

Coach Bruno Lage said: “Ruben is happy here and we are happy with him. We are not thinking to let anyone leave, but every player has a price.”

Like Casemiro, Neves would be able to offer something different to Jorginho and Kante while also being able to deputise if required. It would also give the Wolves star the opportunity to be moulded by Tuchel into the role he can be used in as the player moves towards his peak years.

A £40m fee may not be cheap but would still see less outlay than what may be used to sign the likes of Kounde this month – though whether the Portuguese international’s ceiling is as high would be disputed by many.

Ethan Ampadu

Keeping Ethan Ampadu could be the catalyst to help the Welshman start realising his potential. While some of the Blues loan stars may be considered in front of the 20-year-old, circumstance could really push him ahead. The former Sheffield United loanee has the capability to slot in defence and the centre of midfield and could really learn from more time spent with and competiing against Kante, Jorginho and Kovacic.

While the number of passes Ampadu attempted per 90 minutes last season is much lower than either Kante or Jorginho, he was outstanding when compared to other defenders in pressuring the opposition (98th percentile) , tackles (95th percentile) intercepting the ball (73rd percentile) and the number of blocks he produced (83rd percentile). This may be enhanced due to his positing within a back three with the Blades but goes someway to show his reading of the game has the potential to line up with what is expected with a Chelsea midfielder.

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He was more progressive in passing while retaining a pass completion of over 80%, while also showed the ability to carry the ball forward from the back too.

Within the Blues open training session and against Weymouth it seems Ampadu lined up as a defensive midfielder which indicates some preparation is underway to take on the role whether it be at Stamford Bridge or somewhere else.

There’s a lot of football to be played this season and if Tino Anjorin departs for the term, perhaps Ampadu could be the one to take the mantle Trevoh Chalobah has carried in recent weeks.

Andre Gomes

Hear me out!

Andre Gomes has not featured in a Premier League squad for Rafael Benitez but showed is qualities off the bench against Huddersfield in the EFL Cup. It may not be reassuring to know that the Toffees are looking elsewhere for midfielders but it could provide significant opportunity.

Such a move would give Marina Granovskaia the leverage she would need to get a good deal for the midfielder, who still retains some pedigree after three years with Barcelona.

Gomes wouldn’t disrupt the team dynamic with Kante and Jorginho being the standout first team stars and Gomes able to fill in required while still retaining a level quality.

The 28-year-old may not provide as many interceptions but standing at 6 feet 2 inches, provides some physical presence and ability to manoeuvre around the pitch and the ability to dictate the flow of the game.

His performance against Leeds United earlier this season shows what he can do even against the most energetic of opponents and the former Valencia star would have the ability to release the pace of Chelsea’s forward players.

If the Blues could get a bargain price then maybe Gomes would be the ideal stop-gap until the likes of Ampadu, Anjorin, Gilmour and co truly come of age.

Source by Football London

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