Chelsea duo Reece James and Timo Werner face position change if two transfers completed
Will Chelsea sign a striker this summer?
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Reece James and Timo Werner could be forced to show their flexibility next season if the Blues manage to get deals for Erling Haaland and Archaf Hakimi over the line. Thomas Tuchel has now identified his top two targets this summer and Chelsea have now made their move for Inter Milan wing-back Hakimi, while contact has also been made for the Borrusia Dortmund sensation.
The club have reportedly matched Paris Saint-Germain’s opening offer of £56.1million for the former Real Madrid defender.
Inter Milan are under pressure to sell the Moroccan due to their financial troubles. Owners Suning have requested that the club raise £70m in player sales, a demand that forced title-winning boss Antonio Conte out of the door.
If Chelsea managed to wrap up a deal for Hakimi, fans can be forgiven for wondering how his potential arrival may impact Reece James.
The right-back, who has worked his way into the senior side via the club’s academy, has been a revelation since being promoted to the first-team by Frank Lampard ahead of the 2019/20 season.
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James was faultless in the Champions League final win over Manchester City, pocketing Raheem Sterling as he cemented his place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for Euro 2020.
So why do Chelsea need another right-sided full-back? They don’t but former Wigan loanee James has been utilised by Tuchel as the right centre-back in his three-man defence in the latter stages of the season.
Although James returned to right wing-back in Porto he has flourished as part of the back-three after occasionally switching positions with Cesar Azpilicueta.
Hakimi is the perfect wing-back having played the role with both Inter and Borussia Dortmund, while he can also play in a back four.
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But if he joins the club it’s unlikely to affect James’ playing time and the England international could be set for a more permanent position change.
James has also played in midfield since the arrival of Tuchel back in January and is very highly rated by the German.
Furthermore, should Chelsea somehow twist Dortmund’s arm and agree a deal for Haaland, Werner is unlikely to ever play through the middle at Stamford Bridge.
That could of course change if Tuchel alters the system but the 47-year-old is expected to continue featuring from the left.
Although that’s not a clear positional change given how much he played there last season, Werner is a central striker and would prefer to play through the middle.
Even though his finishing and composure has been questionable to say the least, Werner has proven he can still be of use from out wide which is why he rarely lost his place in the side.
His runs in behind the defence have regularly stretched the opposition, while his movement and pace has also created a number of chances for his teammates.
Werner’s goal tally could improve with Haaland is in the side. The Norwegian is likely to occupy and distract defenders, leaving other attackers to pick up the pieces.
Although Werner was brought to Chelsea as their new No 9, his future lies as a wide forward in west London.
Tuchel is now assembling a Chelsea side with immense depth that is also tactically flexible, providing them with all the ingredients to mount a Premier League title challenge next season…
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