How Maurizio Sarri’s side could line up at the end of January with Gonzalo Higuain and Leandro Paredes

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How Maurizio Sarri's side could line up at the end of January with Gonzalo Higuain and Leandro Paredes

NEW ATTACK

There are a lot of rumours emerging from Stamford Bridge, so here’s how the Blues could line up when the transfer window closes

Chelsea are a club in transition as the current crop of players still get to grips with the ‘Sarriball’ style of play manager Maurizio Sarri wants them to execute.

But it seems some of these players will not be playing the new system for much longer with Alvaro Morata desperate to leave and Cesc Fabregas completing his move to Monaco.

Fabregas waves goodbye to the Stamford Bridge crowd after Chelsea’s FA Cup win over Nottingham Forest

Meanwhile, Willian’s future at Stamford Bridge looked increasingly uncertain after it was reported Barcelona made another approach for the Brazilian but Maurizio Sarri said he will not let the Brazilian leave in this month.

It’s also still not clear whether Callum Hudson-Odoi will stay with his boyhood club or seek a new challenge with Bayern Munich, who are desperate to sign him. However, it is said that the German club’s reluctance to insert a buy-back option into the contract is holding up the deal.

However, Chelsea have the ability to recruit replacements easily and a deal for Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain is reportedly close to being completed.

So how might the Blues line up when the January transfer window drama is all over?

Below you can see this potential XI for Chelsea in the second half of the 2018/19 season.

Goalkeeper

Kepa Arrizabalaga has made a reasonable start to his Chelsea career after signing from Athletic Bilbao in the summer.

The £71.6million Spaniard holds the record of the highest fee ever paid for a shot-stopper and is clearly a long-term investment so is unlikely to be displaced any time soon.

Defence

Minus their shoddy performance against Tottenham in November, Chelsea have looked a pretty solid outfit at the back so not a huge amount is expected to change for them defensively before January is out.

Cesar Azpilicueta has moved to right-back since Sarri introduced the 4-3-3 system, Antonio Rudiger stays in the centre, while Marcos Alonso is on the left. David Luiz has been Rudiger’s main partner in the middle but Andreas Christensen is fighting for a more regular spot in the first-team.


Midfield

Fabregas left because he wasn’t playing enough first-team football. This is due to Sarri’s faith in Jorginho, who’s pulling the strings in midfield despite failing to register a single Premier League assist this season so far.

Jorginho’s arrival has even forced N’Golo Kante to learn a new role in midfield while Ross Barkley and Mateo Kovacic battle it out for that final spot in the midfield three.

Italian Nicolo Barella was linked to Chelsea in January, but now any potential move will be delayed until the summer – the midfielder citing “family reasons” for not wanting to leave Cagliari just yet, but feisty Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Leandro Paredes is also being eyed.

Barella’s reluctance to join Chelsea in January could pave the way for Paredes

Barella’s reluctance to join Chelsea in January could pave the way for Paredes

Attack

Up top is where there could be big changes to Chelsea’s set-up. Sarri doesn’t rate Alvaro Morata or Olivier Giroud and seems keen to bring in former Napoli frontman Higuain.

A deal for Higuain is seen as the priority, which would pave the way for Morata to join one of a number of Spanish clubs reportedly interested in him including Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla.

And it looks like Willian’s move to Barca isn’t happening in this window at least, making a front three of Willian, Higuain and Eden Hazard.

Higuain could replace Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud

Higuain could replace Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud

Chelsea say they want Hudson-Odoi to stay but could be forced to sell as Bayern’s interest is real and the teenager only has 18 months left on his current deal. Sarri, though, used his press conference ahead of the Newcastle game to call the German champions unprofessional in their approach for Hudson-Odoi.

Starting XI

Could this be how Chelsea line-up at the end of January?

Could this be how Chelsea line-up at the end of January?




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