Arc Cucurella’s impending move to Chelsea raises many questions – most notably where will he play?
The attacking full-back could soon find himself competing with Ben Chilwell and the Blues are negotiating over £50m to sign him from Brighton.
While there is no doubt about his quality, there are concerns about where Cucurella will be positioned at Chelsea.
The equation is going to be a complicated one for Thomas Tuchel, but with the start of the new season just days away, he wants to add as much quality as possible after missing some goals.
The need for centre-backs has long been a priority for Chelsea, with unsuccessful attempts to sign Matthias de Ligt, Nathan Ake, Presnel Kimpembe and Jules Kunde.
A new wing-back is also on the agenda, but two new center defenders are a priority after the loss of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers.
Despite being only 5 feet 6 inches tall, Cucurella played as centre-back in Brighton’s back three. Similarly, Chilwell played for Leicester under Brendan Rodgers.
Although imperfect, Tuchel offers the option of having both players on the pitch together. The problem is that the Premier League nullifies one of his two most attacking full-backs in the league, minimizing the attributes Chelsea have persuaded to spend his £50m on the two. to limit it.
Tuchel is also keen to switch to a back four if needed next season, and is able to do so when both Chilwell and Cucurella are on the team.
In their 4-0 pre-season loss to Arsenal last month, Chelsea could do the same by starting in a 4-4-2 formation and placing either Chilwell or Cucurella on the left side of midfield.
They can also switch one of the two to the right in a 3-4-3 to push Reece James back to centre-back and use one of the left footers as an inverted wing-back.
Tuchel did the same thing in reverse last season, taking advantage of James on the left when he felt the tactical need or when injuries hit the team.
Cucurella and Chilwell must be versatile to help Chelsea reach their goals.
There is still uncertainty regarding transfers at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea are still hoping to sign a number of defenders, with Leicester City’s Wesley Fofana and his RB Leipzig’s Yosko Gvardiol on the agenda.
They will also have to sell Fulham target Maran Sarr, Barcelona targets Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri as their futures are all in doubt.
Chelsea have spent just under a month balancing themselves on and off the pitch.
Tuchel and new owners Todd Boley and Clearlake Capital have had a busy month, with Chelsea set to be one of the hottest clubs in the September 1st transfer window from now on.