Chelsea Transfers: Why Signing Etienne Capoue Makes Perfect Sense for Blues
Roberto Di Matteo has a wealth of options available to him and would be wise to mix it up a little, but the 4-2-3-1 is expected to be the regular formation.
Spending £32 million is a lot for one player, so Chelsea would be wise to grant the Belgian his wish and play him where he does the most damage.
With Hazard in behind Fernando Torres and potentially switching with Juan Mata throughout the game, Chelsea's advanced line looks dangerous, quick and skilful.
The problem lies in the midfield, where Chelsea would need to field two multi-skilled central players who know how to get the balance of defence and attack right.
What Chelsea need
The Blues have great passers in the middle, but the lack of a genuine ball-winning midfielder is a concern.
John Obi Mikel has been shamefully converted into a safety player, leaving behind his days as an up-and-coming attacking midfielder. His 1.6 tackles and 1.5 interceptions per game last season suggest he still isn't comfortable in that role.
Michael Essien is over the hill, while Ramires has proven he is so much more than a ball-winner. Di Matteo has experimented with his dynamism in several ways, and looks sure to give him multiple assignments next season rather than restrict him to a ball-winning role.
If Chelsea are to look for a player in the right mould, they should look no further than Etienne Capoue. His 2.8 tackles and 3.5 interceptions per game are double what any of Chelsea's regulars could muster last season.
While Oriol Romeu looks a great prospect, the buy-back clause in his contract will stop the Blues from building around him. Andre Villas-Boas can explain away all he likes, but Barcelona will likely have the last laugh.
Clive Mason/Getty Images
How it would work
The great thing about Capoue is his all-round capability. Yes, he is a midfield enforcer and ball-winner, but he's also comfortable on the ball and exerts dominance on the pitch.
Rather than screen his back line and tackle when someone invades his zone like Yann M'Vila or act as a midfield sweeper like Leon Britton, Capoue will tear around the pitch until he gets the ball.
While that may seem like it could be bad for the structure of Chelsea's holding duo, a fluid system would allow him to chase down his man.
The truth is, under Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Di Matteo, the Blues defence was being exposed to far too much pressure.
At times it seemed John Terry and Co. were wide open for attacks and AVB's final loss against West Bromwich Albion saw his side give up tonnes of space in front of the back four.
Di Matteo identified this issue and dealt with it accordingly, but his side were visibly rigid and played it safe. The Italian's first job was to stabilise the ship, but now he can look to play better, more expansive football combined with the defensive solidarity he brought along in February.
Capoue would not only fill this problematic hole and patrol the right areas, but provide bite to the midfield and help cause turnovers in possession. His 76.5 percent pass completion rate isn't flattering, but in a stronger side that would improve—he isn't limited like many pure enforces like Javi Fuego are.
While Chelsea need to complete other deals in the meantime, signing Capoue would fill a glaring need and turn a good midfield into a great one.
He could play alongside any of Mikel, Frank Lampard and Raul Meireles. As a specialist, good form would see him turn regularly.
Out of best midfield destroyers in the world, Capoue has the biggest upside to adapt to a big team and become a much better player as a result. He is not limited as a player like Philipp Bargfrede is.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?