Roman Abramovich and Marina Granovskaia have done it again. The pair, with plenty of help from Frank Lampard and Petr ?ech, have managed to land a deal to sign RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner. The rebuild is on.
Unlike the infamous arrivals of Danny Drinkwater and Davide Zappacosta, this signing is one which will actually have an impact on the Chelsea first team. It will come as a huge boost to some players, but it leaves other players under threat.
Let’s take a look at those players who will be under the most pressure following Werner’s move.
Werner is a starting-calibre striker, so the first player whose spot in the team seems under threat is Tammy Abraham, who has exceeded expectations as Chelsea’s first-choice forward this year.
Unless you’re the eternally-ancient Burnley, two-striker formations have faded away in recent years. Seeing Werner line up alongside Abraham in attack is unlikely, but that’s where the German’s versatility comes in.
While obviously an elite striker, Werner is excellent when cutting in off the left wing, and there will definitely be times when he is deployed out there to give Abraham some much-needed minutes to avoid stunting his development.
Abraham could even return the favour. He spent plenty of time as a right winger in Chelsea’s academy, forming a devastating, record-breaking partnership with Dominic Solanke, so that could be another avenue for Lampard to explore.
If both Abraham and Werner are playing, there will be one less wide spot for Callum Hudson-Odoi, and with Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech and maybe even another summer arrival competing for those minutes, Hudson-Odoi might find himself towards the back of the queue.
There’s no way that Werner’s arrival will oust Hudson-Odoi permanently. Lampard is a huge fan of the teenager and Chelsea are paying him a huge salary until 2024. The Blues are banking on him becoming one of the world’s best, and he’ll need minutes to do that.
Hudson-Odoi will just need to be ready to make the most of every opportunity. He might be deployed on the left, the right or in the centre, and he needs to impress. There’s real competition now, but that might just bring the best out of him.
He’s still only 19 years old. He doesn’t need to be a permanent fixture in the team just yet. Lampard will give him time to prove himself, and he might just force his way to the top of the pecking order.
Werner’s arrival probably spells an end to Mason Mount’s time as a winger, and that’s definitely a good thing for everyone involved.
Mount has by no means disappointed out wide, but he risks falling victim to his own versatility. Is he a deep midfielder? An attacking goalscorer? A wide creator? Until he commands one permanent spot in the team, he’ll always struggle.
With Werner playing out on the left, Mount will have no option but to stick to a central midfield role. He’ll get more high-level practice in that position and will be permitted to make the deep goalscoring runs which his manager made famous at the Bridge.
It’s time for Mount to stop being a utility player. If he’s a central midfielder (and he is), he needs to prove it.
Mount’s move inside will mean one less place for Ross Barkley. Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s return to fitness and Billy Gilmour’s emergence have both threatened to take Barkley’s place away, and now the added competition could spell the end of Barkley’s time at the Bridge.
The Blues just have too many central midfielders on the books, especially when you factor in Ziyech’s imminent arrival as well. Does Barkley get minutes instead of the aforementioned four, Jorginho, N’Golo Kanté and Mateo Kova?i??
You’d assume that there will never be more than three central midfielders on the field at any one time, and Barkley stands to be eighth in the rankings. His chances of regular minutes aren’t looking good.
Soon-to-be moneybags Newcastle have been touted as a potential destination, and with Chelsea looking to raise money to continue their squad rebuild, you get the sense that Barkley’s exit wouldn’t be met with much resistance.
Faith in Michy Batshuayi has been dwindling all season. He came nowhere near becoming a starter and even floundered in his role as a backup, so much so that Chelsea decided to extend Olivier Giroud’s contract.
He’s third-choice right now and will drop to fourth when Werner arrives. Given only one striker is needed at a time, there’s no way he’d see any minutes.
The Belgian will enter the final year of his contract this summer, and it’s probably for the best if we all just say goodbye and pretend his spell at the Bridge never happened.
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