As the clock ticked down against Burnley with Chelsea frantically chasing to find a winning goal after Burnley’s surprise equaliser from Matěj Vydra, some minds could have wandered towards the need for a different attacking option.
If this game had taken place last season, Thomas Tuchel likely would have been able to call on either Olivier Giroud or Tammy Abraham. Given both departed in the summer transfer window to Italy, Tuchel only really has one traditional centre forward to choose from in Romelu Lukaku.
After the Belgian’s injury, along with Timo Werner’s hamstring issue, suddenly there was a panic over the Blues attacking options and the lack of depth was brought up again as January nears.
My fellow colleague Jai Mcintosh wrote about this issue, advocating for Marina Granovsakia to solve this issue in the winter transfer window to bolster Chelsea’s attacking options heading into the second half of this season.
The recent example of Olivier Giroud signing from Arsenal in January 2018 is the strongest example you could present of a mid-season spend coming in and having an overwhelmingly positive impact for Chelsea. You only have to speak to supporters on how they feel about Giroud to grasp why his transfer was a success.
Scoring big goals for Antonio Conte as the Blues won the FA Cup, the following season in the Europa League triumph under Maurizio Sarri and then for Frank Lampard to help Chelsea qualify for the Champions League.
Giroud left with very fond memories at Stamford Bridge and his continued importance as an alternative option for several coaches proved how invaluable a player of his profile and experience can be to a squad looking to challenge on multiple fronts.
Though Chelsea must resist the temptation to buckle for a player they simply do not require. Context is required for the 2018 window given Alvaro Morata’s terrible form after the Christmas period which never fully recovered before he was sold the next year. Antonio Conte’s consistent battle with the club’s hierarchy, demanding a new forward in the window to help solve his growing attacking issues as form massively dipped.
By the time Chelsea reach January this year under Thomas Tuchel, the hope will be that Chelsea is in a prime position in the Premier League to seriously challenge for the title against Manchester City and Liverpool.
And the imminent return of Lukaku and Werner will boost the attacking options as Tuchel faces the gruelling challenge of 10 games in the 33 days before Christmas across three competitions. Even looking away from the expected sources of goals, the amount of scorers seen so far this season speaks to the variety of attacking threats in the current squad with 17 outfield players finding the back of the net.
That speaks to a level of confidence flowing through the current squad and to Tuchel’s coaching intelligence to maximise the amount of productivity from his 3-4-2-1 formation whilst maintaining a solid structure.
But there is the reality of Chelsea outlaying quite a lot on their attack in recent years. Starting with the £60m signing of Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund in 2019, the around £150m spent on the trio of Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz in 2020, adding the record-breaking addition of Lukaku for £98m this past summer.
You include the academy pair of Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi who have played regularly in recent weeks, with Ross Barkley finding his way back into minutes.
There are enough solutions for Tuchel to utilise, be that shifting Havertz into the centre-forward role which he has since Lukaku’s injury, or the consistent creative threat offered from Ben Chilwell and Reece James will mitigate any craving for a short-term panic buy in January.
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Source by Football London