Marina Granovskaia can unlock Thomas Tuchel’s dream midfield with clever £84m Barcelona leverage – Jake Stokes

Chelsea has become home to some of the most press resistant midfielders in European football and Marina Granovskaia could arm Thomas Tuchel with another in January if the Blues play their cards right.

The west London side have always been aware of Jorginho’s and Mateo Kovacic’s ability to wriggle from the grasp of an opponent’s advances.

But, it wasn’t until the former Paris Saint-Germain boss took the helm at Stamford Bridge when Chelsea soon became specialists in beating the press.

Once just a mere partnership of two technically excellent, courageous and spatially aware midfielders; Tuchel formed his own herd of lion-feared antelopes with the addition of Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

The Blues boss recognised a rare quality that not many other leading sides have to the same quantity as Chelsea and first trialled the ‘antelope tactic’ against Brentford.

Loftus-Cheek ran the show in west London with his incredible ability to evade Thomas Frank’s surging press, opening avenues for attacking transitions as he made his first step towards a glorious resurgence.

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Speaking after the Brentford clash, the Cobham graduate acknowledged the specialist ability that Tuchel encouraged him to make use of.

“When opponents press it’s intense and difficult,” said Loftus-Cheek, speaking to the club website. “I have to use my body and be aware of what is behind me, I think I am quite good at that.

“Sometimes when teams press like that and everyone is forward, I can then beat the press myself. It is just a big advantage for the team if I can do that and we have got an overload to go forward.”

However, while Chelsea’s press-resistant midfielders continue to flourish under Tuchel, the Blues’ transfer chief could turn the trio into a quartet.

Barcelona has reached out to the European champions ahead of the January transfer window to ask about a potential deal for both Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, according to ESPN.

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The report claims that the Catalan side sees the west London duo, who are valued at a combined £84 million by Transfermarkt, as potential targets should they fail to land Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling.



LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Hakim Ziyech of Chelsea celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 2-0 with Timo Werner during the pre season friendly between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on August 4, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner have both been linked with Chelsea exits

Chelsea is keen on one of Europe’s leading playmakers, Frenkie de Jong, according to Spanish outlet Todo Fichajes.

With Xavi’s side-eyeing the signings of Ziyech and Werner, Granovskaia could engineer a deal that hands Tuchel a diamond of press-resistant midfielders.

While the arrival of de Jong would supplement Chelsea’s niche in beating the opposition’s press with such ease, the Netherlands international would cater for Stamford Bridge’s fairly uncertain feature in midfield.

Follow our Carefree Chelsea trends writer Jake Stokes on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

Source by Football London

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