Youthful Riches: Defense
If you have read any of my previous articles you’ll notice a theme I often write about is how life often imitates football. Each and every team will grow—in Chelsea’s case the team has grown together and shown fortitude that we haven’t seen at Stamford Bridge since our salad days. Our players seem to have grown together into a sustainable unit of core players. I hear fans and pundits alike calling for reinforcements at the next transfer window; I urge them to relax.
Conte (Chelsea’s first team manager, i mean head coach) has implemented a system that places players in situations where they can succeed, and we have witnessed the rise of Victor Moses, Marcos Alonso, and Nathaniel Chalobah. I whole-heartedly agree that reinforcements are necessary, but I think we have more options, better options, already on our wage bill.
Wing Back Options
Kenedy is a no-brainer recall in my opinion. He has the strength, pace, and stamina to succeed in backing up Marcos Alonso. Marcos has been playing well but I get a sense that a poor run of form could take place at any moment. Kenedy could easily back him up and provide us with further attacking options in our front 3. The two players are very different. Kenedy is more like a left-footed Moses, he would thrive getting forward and be pesky enough defensively to disrupt attacks. Alonso is 6 feet 2 inches tall and his ability to win headers in the box is a skill that our defense will always treasure. Kenedy will provide more pace and a more attack minded option.
We have Baba Rahman on loan at Schalke 04. Last year he was poor as a left back, but he is still young (22 years old) and his skill set looked more suited to playing a left-wingback role. Baba’s defensive frailties were exposed at left-back, but in a wingback role he would have more license to bomb forward because there would be another defender always covering him. Both Baba and Kenedy are left-footed players that are already on our wage bill who could fill a back-up wingback role better than most players in the transfer market could.
Center Back Options
We already have 3 up-and-coming center backs on our wage bill. Chelsea boasts a rich blend of young options after their starting 3 of Cahill, David Luiz, and Caesar Azpilicueta.
First is Kurt Zouma who is coming back from a serious knee injury that has seen him sidelined since February. Before his untimely injury, Kurt Zouma had displaced Gary Cahill in Chelsea’s starting 11. Let’s hope he can regain his fitness.
Next up on-loan at Bournemouth is Nathan Aké who has been playing brilliantly the last two matches. The Cherries hadn’t been using Aké until recently. In the last two matches he has two game-winning goals. His offensive output may be overshadowing how solid his defensive displays have been, he has been the only solid rock in the Cherries back line.
Lastly we have the young Danish international, Andreas Christensen, on loan at Borussia Mönchengladbach. Christensen’s loan has gone so well that Borussia Mönchengladbach has attempted to purchase him on a permanent basis; Barcelona FC is also interested in the young Dane.
The point I’m trying to articulate is that we have a wealth of riches already at our club. Why wouldn’t we give our youth a chance before going out and purchasing young players off other clubs?
Optimism is peaking at the bridge.. What can’t Chelsea accomplish this year? I know I’ll be sitting here with my popcorn ready! Thanks for taking a look, I appreciate it! As always, Up The CHELS!