Chelsea’s lack of options has begun to hurt the European Champions this season as their narrow play has resulted in few goals and even less wins as of late.
The Blues have become increasingly reliant on their players in the middle, Frank Lampard and Juan Mata bearing much of the weight for the team.
After Chelsea’s hapless 2-0 defeat to Manchester City on Sunday it is clear that a quick, inventive winger would do the Stamford Bridge outfit a world of good.
With another summer shakeup looking certain as owner Roman Abramovich will bring in a new manager, Give Me Football picks five young wingers who could make an instant impact in the Premier League.
Iker Muniain | Athletic Bilbao
At the tender age of 20, Muniain is already closing in on 200 appearances for Athletic Bilbao and has already won his first cap for Spain. He was an influential member of the side that made it to the Europa League Final last May, as he scored five goals in the competition including the winner in a 3-2 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Muniain has a reported release clause of £32m and has attracted many suitors across Europe, including Sir Alex Ferguson. Bilbao has faltered under manager Marcelo Bielsa this season and striker Fernando Llorente has already signed a pre-contract with Juventus when his contract runs out in the summer.
It may be time for Muniain to seek a new challenge and if Chelsea are to land him it would be a major boost to their title hopes for next season.
Antoine Griezmann | Real Sociedad
Staying in Spain, Antoine Griezmann has proven over the last few seasons that he has what it takes to be a superstar.
The France youth international has been with Real Sociedad since 2005 and in his first season with the senior side he helped the club win promotion back to La Liga in 2010. Since then, the winger has blossomed into a real talent with an eye for goal, bagging seven goals in each of the last two La Liga campaigns.
While Griezmann still has some maturing to do, in November he was suspended from being called up to the national team by the LFP for disciplinary issues along with Yann M’Vila, he is certainly worth considering.
At only 21, Griezmann has a bright future, and the Stamford Bridge faithful would certainly warm to his goal-scoring ability, energy and bursting runs down the sides; traits lacking by Chelsea wide men since Joe Cole and Arjen Robben were healthy and lining up together for the Blues.
Gareth Bale | Tottenham Hotspur
Maybe the most exciting player in the Premier League right now, Bale is quickly becoming recognised as a game changer and one of the best players in the world.
The Welsh international’s goal tally has increased each season at White Hart Lane and his 19 goals in all domestic competitions this season prove that he is a reliable goal scorer.
The 23-year old has been courted by various suitors including Real Madrid and Barcelona, so landing his signature would be a major coup for the West London club.
Andre Villas-Boas would certainly not want to lose one of his most prized assets to his former club and a title challenger next season so it seems highly unlikely that this move would pan out.
But with Roman Abramovich’s deep pockets, anything is possible and Chelsea posses many talented players who have failed to break into the first team squad that may find it easier to get first-team football in North London.
Jeremain Lens | PSV Eindhoven
Jeremain Lens is the oldest on the list and maybe the least known. After progressing through the youth ranks at AZ Alkmaar, featuring in a handful of appearances for the club when they won the Dutch title in 2009, Lens was transferred to Dutch giants PSV in May 2010.
Lens is a versatile player who can be deployed on the wing or up front and is very pacey. He has already scored five goals for the Oranje in just nine caps and has found the back of the net 28 times in 90 Eredivisie appearances for the Eindhoven club.
The winger has been one of the standout performers for the club this season as they sit first in the table with just 10 games to go.
Kevin De Bruyne | Chelsea (on loan at Werder Bremen)
Chelsea already have a quick winger with a remarkable eye for goal in young Belgian star Kevin De Bruyne. With the ability to play and score with either foot, De Bruyne drew much attention while playing for Racing Genk and has proven to be one of Bremen’s best players this season.
With six goals in the Bundesliga this season, De Bruyne has shown that he can adapt to the rigors of a major European league. It will be interesting to see if he has a place at Stamford Bridge next season. If he does return, he will certainly provide a good partnership with fellow Belgian star, Romelu Lukaku, who has had a fantastic season on loan at West Brom.
Since he is already on the Chelsea books, De Bruyne would be the cheapest option, leaving funds open for Chelsea to access other areas of need if they are to get rid of Frank Lampard and Fernando Torres.
We shall wait and see if any of these moves come to fruition. Do you think we left a young prospect out? Let us know what you think by commenting below.
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