In case you missed it we have signed a nice young chap by the name of Eden Hazard and are reportedly close to signing a guy by the name of HULK.
Given the success of Mata in his debut season and the ongoing demand for El Nino to be involved in proceedings, the subject of our tactical shape next season has been hotly debated thus far.
It is reasonable to expect all these players must be accommodated in the starting XI in view of the amount of money spent on Hulk/Hazard and the aforementioned success of Mata (Torres has an automatic bye to the first team).
However our tactical shape next season will not be dictated by us (much to my disappointment) but by our new manager/first team coach.
Most managers tend to have a specific philosophy and with that a specific formation they tend to use. Whilst they may make alterations for individual games, their base formation is the same for the vast majority of games they play.
Based on this we can make some reasonable insights into our possible formations next season by considering the tactical preferences of the guys supposedly in the front running for the job (thanks oddschecker.com).
Robbie Di Matteo -
Currently front runner in the stakes by virtue of being the incumbent 'interim' first team coach and for winning some small trophy in Munich. Robbie is a proponent of he 4-2-3-1 system of play. His instigation of this system at Chelsea was a significant shift from AVB's 4-3-3 system. In truth it could be argued that Robbie has us playing 4-4-1-1 in a very defensive 4-2-3-1 setup.
Second favourite by virtue of having recently coached Barca (RA apparently wants us to be them) and having also recently vacated the Camp Nou hot-seat. Pep is a tactical marvel in my opinion. Primarily he plays 4-3-3 but then he is also onboard with the 3-4-3 concept - principally through a diamond.
Arry Redknapp -
Has presided over a very entertaining Spurs side and rumoured to be disappointed with the lack of investment in the transfer market. Natural fit therefore for the hacks - just don't see it myself. Of course this would ensure Lamps is thoroughly kept in check. Uncle Arry does tend to use a greater degree of tactical setups than some managers, but principally he is a 4-2-3-1 man.
Laurent Blanc -
The Frenchman has tasted success at Bordeaux and currently leads France into Euro 12 with perhaps an outside chance. Widely considered one of Europe's younger talents but has been mixed up in a nasty race scandal recently. Blanc likes to play the 4-3-3
Joachim Lowe -
Relative unknown until his formal appointment as Germany head coach, but experienced success in Austria and is the man credited with the revolution of German football since Euro 2000. Plays 4-2-3-1
* Both Capello and Benitez have shorter odds than Lowe but are excluded here given that as unemployed managers if the club wanted them we would have signed them already.
So in summary that is 3 managers who prefer the 4-2-3-1 and 2 who like the 4-3-3. What could this mean for implementing the quadruple into the side?
Below is the likely line-up in a 4-3-3 formation.
It should be fairly self-evident that in a system where you have a front 3 you are going to struggle to incorporate 4 attacking players.
Below is the likely line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Utilising this formation would allow us to incorporate all of the quadruple into the side albeit we would lose the excellent Ramires from contention.
On the face of things this would seem to favour the managers who look to play the 4-2-3-1. If we take this a step further we can probably discount Robbie Di Matteo on the basis that he would probably be unhappy with the potential defensive shortcomings in the side should Hulk/Hazard fail to track back.
This leaves two managers who could incorporate these players into their existing tactical style - Redknapp and Lowe. Of the two I would suggest Lowe has more experience in revolutionising the way a team plays which may well fit with our own current aims. The fact the vacancy is still open would also support the theory that our new manager is still busy with his current team, which of course Lowe is. There are definitely shades of the Scolari appointment here - though hopefully without the following disastrous reign.
You may be dismayed to see that Pep is not in this final category by virtue of his historic use of 4-3-3. However he has also used 3-4-3 in the past and that system could also accommodate the quadruple.
Playing the 3-4-3 would certainly be a bold step and revolution of the highest order at a club like Chelsea. This is just the sort of challenge that may well excite Pep though.
I think this gives us two realistic potential managers next season. But who would you prefer?