How Chelsea could line-up next season with Erling Haaland, Declan Rice and Achraf Hakimi added to star-studded squad
CHELSEA are set to strengthen their squad with some huge-name signings this summer, including Erling Haaland, Declan Rice and Achraf Hakimi.
Now champions of Europe, Roman Abramovich looks keen to keep the momentum up with a summer splurge in a bid to wrestle back the Premier League crown.
Thomas Tuchel will be speaking with the Blues board in the coming days regarding their movements in the transfer window.
And he knows just two or three key signings could be the difference between a top-four battle and challenging Liverpool and the Manchester clubs for the title.
There's still plenty of work to be done, but Haaland, Rice and Hakimi appear to be Chelsea's top targets this summer with reinforcements lined-up all over the pitch.
But how will Tuchel send out his star-studded team should all three join? We take a look at THREE possibilities…
First and foremost, Edouard Mendy is now well-and-truly Chelsea's No1 – pretty much ending talks of moving for Gianluigi Donnarumma, who is now set to join Paris Saint-Germain instead.
With Hakimi in the squad, the Moroccan will fight with Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta for two positions depending on the formations.
There will be plenty of games and minutes available to keep all three happy.
Although it's worth noting that Hakimi can also cover Chilwell on the left – as well as play further up the pitch – with his versatility, as well as undoubted talent, a huge selling point.
In this formation though, Hakimi is likely to take the right-mid spot, with one of James or Azpilicueta on the right-side of a central trio.
Andreas Christensen has a massive shout to start at the back, of course, and he could even be fighting with James and Azpilicueta for the right-centre-back spot, as well as with Antonio Rudiger for the left centre back spot.
Rudiger has been on fire since Tuchel arrived, although there are doubts over him signing a new contract. But if he does sign, he's surely in there.
For me there's one nailed-on starter – Thiago Silva. He is truly world class.
Of course, N'Golo Kante starts – he's the best in the business – and Rice would likely take the other deeper midfield slot should he rejoin.
Should no-one be sold or loaned out, Rice would face competition from Mateo Kovacic, Billy Gilmour and Jorginho.
Ben Chilwell is undoubtedly the man to start on the left flank after securing his spot under Tuchel.
Mason Mount is arguably the first name on the team-sheet and has future Chelsea captain written all over him.
He'd likely start playing off Haaland – the ultimate all-round centre-forward – along with Kai Havertz who seemed to improve as the 2020-21 went on.
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With a back-four, Tuchel has the opportunity to send out a well-balanced side.
In this instance, James could take over the right-back slot, with Hakimi on the right wing, providing a genuine attacking threat, but also strong defensive cover.
In a 4-3-3, Mount would likely drop into a deeper midfield role – more of a No8 than a No10 – with Timo Werner or Christian Pulisic coming into the team on the left-wing.
The likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Hakim Ziyech would also be chasing minutes in this formation.
This formation would potentially put a big strain on the full-backs, but in Hakimi – or James – and Chilwell, Chelsea have the men for the job.
This central-heavy line-up would allow Tuchel to send out Rice and Kante deep, as well as Mount and Havertz further up – while also playing two centre-forwards.
With Mount and Havertz more than capable of drifting into wide areas, it could almost become a flexible, attacking 4-4-2.
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