Enzo Fernandez signs, Mateo Kovacic return: Graham Potter’s dream Chelsea midfield after January
Chelsea are looking to improve their squad in the upcoming January transfer window and football.london takes a look at how Graham Potter could line up his midfield afterwards
Argentina World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez
Enzo Fernandez is a big target for Chelsea in the upcoming January transfer window
The January transfer window is set to be another busy period for Chelsea behind the scenes as the new-look recruitment team look to improve Graham Potter’s squad.
The Blues, who were taken over earlier in the year after Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital bought the club for £4.25billion, have seen numerous board members leave over the past few months. The likes of Bruce Buck, Marina Granovskaia and Peter Cech – to name just a few – have moved on from Stamford Bridge since the takeover.
Boehly has assembled together a new-look recruitment team to help Chelsea in the upcoming transfer windows after what was a manic summer behind the scenes. It was a summer that saw many transfer targets pass them by and the club was widely criticised for a lack of clear strategy.
However, Boehly and Chelsea are keen to not see a repeat of the madness in upcoming windows. And, with January on the horizon, the club right now look in a much better condition to attack the window and secure their targets. There’s a lot of them, too.
Following the season-ending injury Armando Broja suffered earlier in the month, Chelsea are in the market for a new attacking player. Joao Felix has been offered to the Blues in recent days. The club have had scouts at numerous Atletico Madrid games this season, football.london understands.
As well as this, with Reece James being ruled out for up to a month following the injury he sustained against Bournemouth on Tuesday, Chelsea are looking at signing a new right-back. A centre-back is also on the agenda, with talks ongoing with AS Monaco for talented defender Benoit Badiashile, football.london understands.
One area that remains a priority for Chelsea, however, is the midfield. Jorginho and N’Golo Kante both see their contracts at Stamford Bridge expire at the end of the season and both have interested clubs looking at them ahead of next month.
Jorginho and Kante will be permitted to speak to clubs from abroad in January over a pre-agreement that would see them leave Chelsea on a free transfer at the end of the season. As well as this, Kante is ruled out until the end of February/start of March with a hamstring injury that has seen him sidelined since the second game of the campaign.
With that in mind, Chelsea will look to add to their midfield when the January transfer window opens. football.london understands Benfica star Enzo Fernandez is a big target for the Blues, who are willing to pay the £105million release clause in his contract.
Chelsea have sent representatives to tell Benfica of their intentions. The west Londoners, though, rather understandably, are wanting to pay the sum in instalments rather than a one-off fee.
Despite Chelsea’s desire to make the record-breaking move for Fernandez, they are not alone in their interest. It’s hardly surprising given the World Cup he had for Argentina that the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United and Liverpool have all been credited with an interest in the 21-year-old midfielder.
Boehly, however, is looking to make a real statement with Fernandez and that is exactly what it would be. But where would he fit into Chelsea’s midfield?
We saw Potter run a 4-3-3 formation against Bournemouth on Tuesday evening – something that worked really well; especially in the first-half. The midfield three included Denis Zakaria, Jorginho and Mason Mount.
Jorginho was the deepest of the three midfielders, dropping deep to collect the ball as he always does. Zakaria was acting as a box-to-box midfielder on the right-hand side of the three, where the Switzerland international could be seen making bursting runs into the box.
Meanwhile, Mount was the most attacking of the three. The positions the England international took up almost made it a front four with Raheem Sterling, Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz.
Fernandez, who often played as the ‘middle man’ in Argentina’s three-man midfield at the World Cup, can either be used in the Jorginho role or on one of the wider positions. The Benfica man is constantly asking for the ball and is very strong at keeping it simple, but equally, his vision and technique means he can open up the play with long diagonal passes.
His versatility in midfield makes him an attractive option for Potter. If Chelsea do continue with the three-man midfield that worked so well this week, then Fernandez can theoretically slot into any of the roles.
Chelsea will be hoping Zakaria can keep up his recent form. His aggression and physicality really stood out against Bournemouth. He and Potter will be hoping he can improve his concentration because sometimes he was guilty of giving the ball away too cheaply, but overall it was really impressive from the on-loan midfielder.
If he can keep up his strong form, a midfield three of Zakaria, Fernandez (if he signs, of course) and Mount could be a really attractive option for Potter between now and the end of the season. Of course, Mateo Kovacic is on his way back after representing Croatia in the recently-concluded World Cup.
Kovacic, when on form, is one of the first names on the Chelsea team sheet, so he is likely to come back into the side when he is deemed fit. Kovacic, Fernandez and Mount/Zakaria is a really attractive prospect for Chelsea supporters.
Let us know down in the comment section below who your dream Chelsea midfield would be if Enzo Fernandez does complete a January move to Stamford Bridge
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