Monday, August 15, 2022

Can This Powerhouse Portuguese Partner Kanté At The Middle For Chelsea?

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Arka Tarun Mukherjee
Arsenal fan and football expert, Arka Tarun Mukherjee actually used to play cricket at semi pro level. An ardent student of football tactics, ATM is very passionate about the tactical aspects of the game and has a dream of being a football manager in the future.

If recent reports are to be believed then Chelsea are keen to bring Portugal’s defensive midfielder William Carvalho to Stamford Bridge. Carvalho has had a wonderful Euro 2016 with his national team Portugal where he won the trophy and contributed to his team’s successes with his excellent displays in the middle of the park. Chelsea has already bought Kanté from Leicester City for a sum of £32m, so a move for Carvalho is thus a bit surprising but is a strong indication of the futures of Matic and Obi Mikel at the club under Conte.

Apparently, trying to sign a player with the attributes of Carvalho after having secured the signing of N’Golo Kanté is something which gives an indication of how the manager is visualizing his team would be deployed against oppositions next season. Carvalho is not as complete a player as Kanté but he is an excellent passer of the ball having great vision and maturity to dictate the tempo of the game. The Portuguese rarely loses possession and can be thus very effective during the crucial moments of the games where Chelsea would need to control the game.

The potential transfer of Carvalho would however give Conte a selection headache as he also has the likes of Matic, Mikel, Fabregas and Oscar who can all play centrally alongside the new boy Kanté. If Conte decides to go 4-4-2 (which has got the least possibility of happening) then Carvalho won’t suit the needs of the team playing beside the Leicester City man but the 24-year old would give the team an extra dimension playing in a 3-5-2, 4-3-3 or even a 4-2-3-1.

Under Jose Mourinho, Fabregas and Matic were the undisputed central midfield pairing, but that’s definitely going to change next season and after the disappointing performances of Matic last season, his place in the team now looks increasingly under threat. Conte has stated that Matic, who is on the radar of Juventus is an important player in the squad and won’t be leaving this summer but it would be interesting to see what kind of role he is given next season or if he continues to play regularly.

Portugal's midfielder William Carvalho (L) vies with Poland's forward Arkadiusz Milik during the Euro 2016 quarter-final football match between Poland and Portugal at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on June 30, 2016. / AFP / Valery HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
Portugal’s midfielder William Carvalho (L) vies with Poland’s forward Arkadiusz Milik during the Euro 2016 quarter-final football match between Poland and Portugal at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on June 30, 2016. / AFP / Valery HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

The signing of Carvalho though would certainly spell the end for Mikel. It is pretty clear already that Conte wants to have a team that can challenge on all fronts next season and having the luxury of the aforementioned players in the squad would give the manager the provision to rotate at will. The question is however, will Carvalho be interested in signing for the club if he is not guaranteed a starting spot or will Matic agree to play as a cover in the midfield being the secondary option?

The answers will be clear next season if Chelsea manages to sign the European Champion from Sporting Lisbon. Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that William Carvalho can be the perfect choice beside Kanté in Chelsea’s midfield as long as Conte sticks to his set of formations other than a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-4.

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