Chelsea's abundance of wingers could create a desirable headache for Antonio Conte

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Chelsea will head into the new season with a much larger contingency of wingers as compared to the start of last season. 

First team regulars Eden Hazard and Willian are set to be accompanied by former loanees Juan Cuadrado and Victor Moses, with the latter having impressed so far in the pre-season campaign. 

Providing more competition and depth is the brilliant Pedro, who moved to the Bridge from Barcelona at the start of the previous season. Despite having not truly made a mark in the side, the Spanish winger still remains a world-class option for Antonio Conte. 


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Having spent four consecutive seasons on loan at as many clubs, German midfielder Marko Marin is back with the Chelsea squad, for now at least. 

Another player who experienced a similar fate, is promising Ghanaian winger Christian Atsu, having also spent the majority of his Blues career on loan abroad. 

With a plethora of talented wide players at his disposal, the Italian manager is faced with a dilemma of essentially cherry picking which players he wants as part of his plan and who will potentially face another spell on loan, or even an exit from west London. 

Added Options

Apart from Hazard, Willian, and Pedro, the other wingers are relatively new to the Chelsea setup, having served loan terms with different clubs, which has developed into a routine strategy for the club in recent years. 

Having initially joined the Blues from FC Porto in 2011, Atsu was immediately loaned out to Vitesse, where he guided the club to a sixth-placed finish in the league, scoring six goals in the process. 

The Ghana international then spent last season on loan at Malaga, where he showed glimpses of his talent, but found opportunities hard to come by. Now 24-years-old, perhaps the midfielder has the right amount of experience and technical ability to finally feature for the Blues. 

In the friendlies against Rapid Vienna and RZ Pellets, Atsu impressed after coming on as a sub, but it remains to be seen if he can hold onto a place in the team once the likes of Hazard and Pedro return to the side. 

Marin has had a rather unfortunate last few seasons, having seen chances few and far between during loan spells at Sevilla, Fiorentina, Anderlecht, and Trabzonspor, in addition to injuries suffered during his time in Belgium. 

Despite a frustrating tenure at Chelsea, there is a small chance that he could still feature for the club, having played a part in the 2011/2012 campaign for the Blues, helping them to a Europa League win. 

However, the presence of higher quality candidates at the club will make it nearly impossible for the diminutive winger to make any meaningful appearances. 

A player who has a genuine chance of featuring for the Blues next season is Cuadrado, who served a highly successful loan term with Italian champions Juventus, guiding the Bianconeri to the Scudetto as well as the Copa Italia. 

The 28-year-old was initially brought into the club by former manager Jose Mourinho two seasons ago, but did not have enough time to make any telling contributions for the club. 

Conte is a keen admirer of the Colombian international and was a fan of the winger during his time with Fiorentina, with the 46-year-old then managing Juventus. 

With exceptional performances in this summer's Copa America, the winger is bound to play a crucial role in Chelsea's campaign next season, having already joined training with the squad. 

Nigerian winger Moses is yet another genuine option for the Blues on the flanks, having spent the last three seasons on-loan at other Premier League clubs. 

The 25-year-old was the stand out performer in both of the club's opening friendlies, looking extremely comfortable on the ball and posing a serious threat down the left hand side of Chelsea's attack. 

Possessing great strength and pace, the winger could be a key figure for the club, providing energy and skill down the left flank, the type of player Conte absolutely relishes. 

It is unlikely that all the aforementioned players would remain at the club, but they have the rest of the pre-season to prove their potential to the new manager, especially as the former Italian national team boss would not have any preconceived notions about anyone's ability. 

Possible Starters

Even if the unlikely scenario occurs, that Conte opts to keep all seven wingers at the club, only a few would be selected to feature on a regular basis. 

As mentioned earlier, Hazard and Willian are automatic picks for the first team, with Pedro and Cuadrado ideal replacements on the bench. 

These players bring very different styles to the table, and the manager could switch them up depending on the opposition or the competition. 

Pedro came on for Hazard on several occasions during the previous campaign, while Cuadrado is a like-for-like alternative for the industrious Willian. 

Apart from these options, Moses provides an extra option as a wide player, enhancing the team's depth of attacking talent. 

Conte might well be able to incorporate more than just two of the above players in his first team, depending on the formation he chooses to adopt. 

However, in light of Chelsea's first two pre-season games, the 4-2-4 shape is the Italian's preferred choice for the team, which offers just two natural wide roles. 

It will be interesting to see if the Italian manager continues to experiment with the formation and lineup as the squad makes their way to the United States for further friendlies, and with the return of majority of the players in the coming days, Blues fans are in for a treat. 

Which winger should be moved on from Chelsea this summer? Leave YOUR suggestions in the comment section below!

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