Marina Granovskaia’s dilemma as Man United tormentor could solve Tuchel’s crucial Chelsea issue

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When Chelsea signed Romelu Lukaku for £97.5 million in the summer it was difficult to foresee any issues for Thomas Tuchel in the forward department.

The Belgian striker wasted little time in reassuring Marina Granovskaia and the Blues hierarchy that he was worth the money, when he bullied Arsenal’s defence and netted on his return.

The 28-year-old has scored four times in his 11 appearances for Chelsea this term and the goals had dried up a little as Tuchel tried to work out how to best utilise the former Manchester United forward’s attributes as players looked to find familiarity with their focal point.

However, for most, that is nothing more than a short term issue. In fact, it was the injury Lukaku suffered against Malmo that has exposed a weakness in Chelsea’s squad.

It wasn’t long after the star striker hobbled off that Timo Werner followed his teammate off the pitch and Chelsea were without an out and out centre-forward.

Kai Havertz came on at Stamford Bridge and wasted little time in slotting past Johan Dahlin with aplomb.

There may not immediately seem to be a problem as the Blues have won every game since the pair were injured but in a squad full of rotation , Havertz has been required to start each game since.

The German international completed 90 minutes against Southampton, Newcastle and the return fixture with Malmo. The 22-year-old only played 70 minutes against Norwich but the Blues were already five-nil up and he was replaced by Ross Barkley and Tuchel were left without a true focal point.

Throughout last season the Blues boss had three forwards to pick from as well as the option of Havertz. Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud both left the club in the summer to become first choice forwards in Serie A.

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Abraham joined Roma for £34 million and found it a ‘massive honour’ to be the number nine, after having limited opportunities at Stamford Bridge since Tuchel’s arrival. Giroud joined Milan, describing it as an ‘obvious choice to leave’.

In many ways, that sums up Chelsea’s issue. Giroud has bagged four goals in his opening seven Serie A matches, and shows the quality the Blues had sitting on their bench last season.

Werner often led the line but despite not many goals coming from their strikers, Tuchel could call upon Giroud or Abraham, who was joint top scorer along with Werner, if he so wished.

Giroud was the ideal reserve for Chelsea. The now 35-year-old was able to come into the side and perform well, score goals, and never caused issues during lengthy periods he had to settle for a place on the bench, or was utilised in cup competitions. It coincided with a very successful period for the Blues as he claimed an FA Cup, a Europa League and Champions League title.

It may be sensible for Granovskaia to target someone of a similar profile.

One name linked to the club is Duvan Zapata. The Colombian has been in incredible form for Atalanta this season and he put the Italians ahead against Manchester United on Tuesday night, as he tormented Harry Maguire and Eric Bailey in the 2-2 draw.

Zapata has netted seven times in 13 appearances this season to back up his 19 goals and 14 assists in 49 appearances last term.

At a mooted £38 million price, that would not be a cheap back-up option, and the presence of Lukaku makes any transfer difficult.

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Tottenham have had a similar problem with finding a rotation option for Harry Kane in recent seasons, and the obvious first choice options leaves any negotiating team with a tough task. The Blues have trophies to offer as addition recompense however.

At 30 Zapata is in the form of his life, but he likely needs a transfer to find success, so there could be a chance, if Chelsea have that much to spend on a squad player, while having to be concerned about the contracts of their defenders expiring. With Tuchel reported to want a solution in January, Zapata having already played in the Champions League would be issue.

Perhaps Michy Batshuayi could offer a cheaper option before his contract expires in 2023. The Belgian would be aware of the pecking order at the club and irrespective of how well he does at Besiktas, few suitors would be likely to match his Chelsea salary.

Armando Broja may be ready to spend a season at Stamford Bridge next season in the next step to his development. The Armenian has shown stunning form on the international stage and was starting to earn his place in Southampton’s starting XI before his injury.

The 20-year-old could even be an option this January if the Blues have included a break clause to the loan agreement. Chelsea have ended loans early in the past, such as the case with Conor Gallagher whose loan with Charlton was ended to begin a new one with Swansea.

There is no easy solution. Werner has been linked with a return to the Bundesliga, though he has played down any immediate worries. However, it shows how fragile the situation is.

Source by Football London

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