Edu Hunts for Hidden Gems to Replace Thomas Partey at Arsenal, while Mauricio Pochettino Eyes a £35m Recall to Solve Chelsea's Defensive Woes
Arsenal's technical director, Edu, is on a mission to discover untapped transfer talents as they seek to address the void left by Thomas Partey's absence in their midfield, Meanwhile, Chelsea's manager, Mauricio Pochettino, faces a defensive dilemma and is considering a £35 million recall to bolster his squad and resolve the team's ongoing defensive issues, These strategic moves could significantly impact the fortunes of both Premier League clubs in the upcoming season.
Edu Scours for Hidden Transfer Gems to Fill Thomas Partey's Void at Arsenal
The recent injury setback suffered by Thomas Partey has ignited discussions about Arsenal's urgent need to find a suitable replacement for the midfielder in the upcoming transfer windows.
During the last summer transfer window, offers for Thomas Partey poured in, Initially, there was interest from Italy, followed by proposals from Saudi Arabia, which fell short of Arsenal's valuation for the Ghanaian international.
Ultimately, the decision was made for Partey to stay at Arsenal, despite the high-profile arrival of Declan Rice for £105 million, Partey even featured in the first three games of the Premier League season, However, a training injury just before the Manchester United match changed the narrative, The Ghana FA confirmed the issue, but Mikel Arteta contradicted their prediction, stating, "I don't know, unfortunately, he got an injury in training and it doesn't look good, We need some more tests, we believe he's going to be out for weeks, We think it's a groin but can be something in between."
With Partey potentially sidelined for the next six weeks or more, serious questions are now arising regarding his future at the club, Notably, the statistic that he has featured in only around 64% of games since his 2020 arrival looms large in these discussions.
While the arrival of Declan Rice has offered a glimpse of a future without Partey, the presence of midfielders like Jorginho and the expected return of Mohamed Elneny from injury provide some depth to fill the void left by the former Atletico Madrid man, However, as early as the January transfer window in 2024, Arsenal must contemplate their next move.
Many believe that the focus of the summer transfer window next year should be on recruiting a new forward to bolster the attacking options and provide healthy competition for players like Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah, and Gabriel Jesus, However, the departure of a key player like Partey may shift these priorities or lead to the acquisition of another midfield star.
Identifying the ideal replacement is a complex task. Young midfield talents in 2023 have been on the move, including Rice, Moises Caicedo, Romeo Lavia, Alexis Mac Allister, Matheus Nunes, Jude Bellingham, and Sofyan Amrabat, While some of these transfers might not be in the same league, they highlight the dynamic nature of midfield moves.
One notable deal that fell through on deadline day was Joao Palhinha's potential switch to Bayern Munich, Although slightly older at 28, Palhinha offers experience and has been a standout performer in the Premier League, Bringing in the Portuguese international could be a viable option, Alternatively, revisiting the idea of signing Martin Zubimendi from Real Sociedad, as previously linked in the January 2023 window, could be another avenue worth exploring.
Regardless of the chosen target, Arsenal must seriously consider their options, Relying on Thomas Partey's fitness is no longer a sustainable strategy, and addressing this concern is imperative for the club's future success."
Mauricio Pochettino's Defensive Dilemma: £35m Recall Could Fix Chelsea's Problems
Mauricio Pochettino is poised to welcome back two crucial defenders to the Chelsea squad, potentially transforming the club's defensive lineup after a double injury boost.
In the last three Premier League matches, Chelsea fielded a combination of Malo Gusto, Axel Disasi, Thiago Silva, Levi Colwill, and surprisingly, Ben Chilwell as a winger, These tactical and team selection choices sparked heated debates on social media, especially when Chilwell continued in that role despite the availability of Noni Madueke, Mykhailo Mudryk, and new signing Cole Palmer.
Despite deploying a back five, Chelsea often found themselves with only two attackers on the pitch, primarily Raheem Sterling and Nicolas Jackson, with Conor Gallagher, the furthest forward of the midfield three, not serving as a creative hub, Injuries to Christopher Nkunku and Carney Chukwuemeka seemed to limit Pochettino's options.
However, the impending return of two key players could significantly bolster Chelsea's defense, Club captain Reece James, who suffered a hamstring injury shortly after the league opener against Liverpool, is on track to return in the coming weeks after resuming individual training, Additionally, Chelsea anticipates having Benoît Badiashile fit for selection for their Premier League clash with Bournemouth following the international break.
The return of these two players provides Pochettino with seven options to configure his preferred defensive lineup and shape, Gusto, signed from Lyon in January and subsequently loaned back, was initially brought in to cover for James, given his history of injuries, Disasi's acquisition was a direct response to the long-term injury suffered by Wesley Fofana.
Badiashile, another January signing, impressed during his time in Chelsea's starting XI in the latter half of the 2022/23 season, He often partnered with Silva and Fofana, potentially putting their places in jeopardy.
Fofana is currently sidelined due to injury, and Silva has faced criticism in recent weeks, Pochettino's decision to name James and Chilwell as captains suggests a potential phase-out of Silva from the starting XI, Consequently, the inclusion of Badiashile in place of Silva is a plausible scenario, with Disasi also potentially losing his spot.
While sticking with a back five remains an option, a fully fit defensive quartet of James, Badiashile, Colwill, and Chilwell appears to be the most favorable configuration, This arrangement would feature two left-footed central defenders, a deviation from the norm but one that other teams have successfully employed with right-footed options.
Pochettino also has the versatility of Gusto, who can step in for James, and Disasi, who can provide cover at right-back, The solution may not be crystal clear, but incorporating Badiashile and James upon their return is crucial, given their previous contributions.
Chelsea home shirt 23/24
In other Chelsea news, the club's new home Nike kit for the 2023/24 season pays homage to the 1997/98 campaign, a season of European triumph when Chelsea secured the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup with legendary players like Gianfranco Zola, Dennis Wise, and Roberto Di Matteo in the squad."