Following the addition of three midielders this transfer window many have claimed that we have too many midfielders. With Gourlay recently stating that two players will be sold by the club, I expect these players to both be midfielders; Yossi Benayoun and Florent Malouda.
This leaves the club with 12 midfielders, they are; Ramires, Mikel, Essien, Romeu, McEachran, Oscar, Lampard, Meireles, Hazard, Mata, Marin, Kakuta.
These midfielders have a wide range of attributes. We have box-to-box mideiders, attacking midfielders, wingers, holding midfielders. The one type of midfilder we are lacking is a quality deep lying playmaker. This position is an important part of the 4-2-3-1 formation, a formation that is likely to be used as our primary formation next season. So lets look at players in the squad who can play in this position next season:
Frank Lampard: This 34 year-old Chelsea legend was reborn last season as an RDM by being deployed deeper in midfield in this position. He showed he can continue to be a great asset to the club and adapted extremely well in the position. However, the fact is that Chelsea have around 67 games next season. It is therefore extremely unlikely that any 34 year old should be expected to play every game. I think it is therefore likely that Lampard will probably play around 30-35 games next season. This leaves another 35-40 games.
Michael Essien: Although he won’t be operating exactly as a deep lying playmaker, having a partnership of him and Mikel in the double pivot would help to shut down the midfield and would be good for closing games out. However, I would hope that this tactic won’t be needed too often.
Ramires: Some fans have suggested playing him in the double pivot alongside a holding midfielder. In my opinion the purpose of the two players in the double pivot is to shield the defence, win the ball and move the ball on quickly to the four players in front of them. Ramires’s main strengths are his stamina and speed. This position utilises neither of these. Ramires’s main weaknesses are his passing and vision, both extremely mpotant in this position. Therefore I don’t think Ramires is a good option for this position.
Josh McEachran: Some fans will argue that we aren’t giving youth a chance and that we should promote from within and give players like McEcahran and Lukaku a lot of game time at Chelsea next season. I rate McEachran extremely highly, but I don’t think he’s ready to play for the first team just yet. He couldn’t get in the Swansea team so how can you expect him to fit straight into our first team when we want to be challenging for titles? I think the main thing he needs is gametime and hopefully he will get a lot of this on loan next season. McEachran is a player that we should be looking to play in this formation in one or two seasons, but not just yet.
Oscar: With the recent addition of Oscar fans have been trying to work out where exactly he will fit into the Chelsea team, with some people suggesting he will operate in the deep lying role. However, I think most of this season Oscar will be trying to adapt to the premier league, like Ramires did, and I think it would be unfair to expect him to adapt to a completely new role as well. He may play a few games this season in the role and may operate in the future, but I extremely doubt he will play 35 games this season in the role.
Meireles: Without a new signing I think he is the most likely to play several games in this position. I personally don't rate him very highly but he is a decent squad player, particularly as I think he has a good work ethic. He is decent going forward but other than that not much else.
Overall I feel that the squad has the potential for two world-class deep lying playmakers in Josh and Oscar but they will need time to develop and in the short term we need a world-class deep-lying playmaker as Lampard obviously won’t be able to play all 70 games and Meireles is …
The best solution I think is a player that Arsenal have been linked with recently. That player is Nuri Sahin. Sahin is a world class player whose career has stalled due to limited playing time at Real Madrid. His chances at RM look even dimmer with the impending signing of Modric and so he has been linked with a move away from the Bernabeu. He has stated though that he doesn’t want a permanent move away but a loan, and I think this would be perfect for Chelsea, as this will fix the problem short term without hindering the development of Josh and Oscar.
Do you agree and think we have a problem is this area? Is Sahin a good solution? What other players do you think could help in this area?