Mauricio Pochettino is expected to be announced as our new manager this week as he arrives in London to put pen to paper.
So it’s finally time to really start looking in to what sort of setup and starting Xl he will be leaning on the most as we look forward to the start of our reign under Poch.
As we know, his preferred starting formation is using the 4-2-3-1, which I actually think suits many of our players that we already have in the squad. But as always, Poch is going to have some major selection headaches when picking his Chelsea Xl next season.
It’s great to have solid options for each position, and we know the squad is going to be trimmed down so that will help, but he is still going to have some major decisions to make each week, and I’ve got one to make now!
I have been racking my brains and banging my head trying to come up with my preferred starting Xl under Poch, and the below is what I have come up with. Some picks are straight forward for me, but others are very tough.
The hardest choice here is left centre back. I love Benoit Badiashile and think he will become world class. But for me Colwill pips him due to his progressive play and long ball vision. There isn’t much between them at all and of course, there will be plenty of matches for both to get game time.
The goalkeeper is up for debate but I’m so adamant we need leaders and experience added to our spine. Although Declan Rice might be becoming more unrealistic by the day, it is far from over yet and there’s a chance Chelsea might still go all out for him. My backup choices for Rice would be Manuel Ugarte first, and then Moises Caicedo, followed by Romeo Lavia.
If Mason Mount stays, which can still happen even if I am not too hopeful right now, then I would actually start him on the right instead of Madueke, who is an unreal player but still raw in the final third and needs to develop some more. Mount under Poch on that side of the pitch could really thrive.
The striker position is the one that had me really doing my nut in because I’m so undecided on this still. I’d love Victor Osimhen but I still don’t see it as being realistic, and also, I don’t want to spend over £100m on a striker right now when we need to be putting that investment in to a defensive midfielder.
The rest of the targets we have been strongly linked with don’t overly excite me right now, and Ivan Toney is likely to get a long ban. I’m not sold on Lautaro Martinez either, I don’t think he is the profile of forward that we need.
So for that reason I think I’d be trying to sign Toney, and using Armando Broja until his ban ends, obviously depending on how long it would be. I’m also not completely against using Romelu Lukaku for this season under certain circumstances until we can get another more attainable striker next summer. But again with that, I’m still not convinced by it. But I rate Broja a lot and I know it would be seen a risk, but to be honest I would even look at signing a striker like Alexander Mitrovic this summer to come in and compete with Broja until next summer or a time when we can get another striker.
I think we need to sign the perfect striker option, we need an elite 9, so it’s important we get it right. If we cannot get it right this season, or we want to wait it out and have a look at someone like Evan Ferguson or Rasmus Hojlund next summer, or sign Toney and wait on his ban, then I’m happy to look at contingency plans like Broja, Lukaku, or Mitrovic right now.
As you can see, there is plenty of variables still and it’s a tough one to decide on.