Before the Roman Abramovich era, Chelsea were always up and around the top of the table, but never really created serious or constant threats to the major trophies.
However, after some clever development of the brand that is Chelsea football club and bringing in high profile names to the squad, the Blues have now become one of the world’s elite.
Top quality players were purchased to help build a solid structure and world class names were placed in every position on the pitch. Every position except one, the right-back slot.
Chelsea have never really had a right-back ‘problem’ in terms of struggling in that area of the pitch. Yet it hasn’t exactly been a permanently occupied position by a certain player. With names like Mario Melchiot, Juliano Belletti, Paolo Ferreira and Jose Bosingwa, Chelsea haven’t struggled, but they have never looked completely convincing either. This may be the reason that a new player is bought into this position almost every season if not every other season.
The squads current official right-back is recent signing Cesar Azpilicueta. Putting in strong performances throughout the season, Azpilicueta seems to be a trust worthy right back who ‘does his job’, but is that what Chelsea need?
Or do they need to bring in a right back that is a more complete full back offering top quality attacking attributes as well as defending, like they have on the other side with Ashley Cole. The other possibility Chelsea have often resorted to, is moving centre back Branislav Ivanovic into the right back position. This in turn, gives a better defensive option but also takes away that important attacking threat that full backs need to possess in the modern game.
With Azpilicueta being decent at attacking but not as solid defensively, and Ivanovic creating a solid wall at the back but then not helping out as much with the attack, Chelsea are left sacrificing either having an extra player in their attacks or defending.
Having said that, Chelsea may already have an answer to this ‘problem’ at their doorstep and may not even need to purchase a new player at all. The solution to this could be current Chelsea midfielder Michael Essein.
With players like Kevin De Bruyne and Josh McEachran returning from loan and new signings like Andre Schurlle and Marco Van Ginkel joining the already existing likes of Oscar, Hazard, Mata and Lampard. It is starting to get a bit crowded in that Chelsea midfield area. Meaning, players like Michael Essien may end up being wasted on the bench and making fewer appearances as a substitute.
Essien has previously played in the right back position as well as centre back against world class opposition like Barcelona among others proving his defensive ability. He is also extremely effective powering forward offering pace, power and strength as well that goal scoring instinct. Being disciplined enough to track back and stay in position as well as having the stamina and ability to help out with the attack and push back the opposition winger, Essien could be the perfect answer to Chelsea’s right-back situation.
If Jose Mourinho can realise this and move Essien to the right back position permanently, Chelsea could well be on their way to a very solid back four.
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