Benoit Badiashile’s £35 million signing from Ligue 1 side Monaco has given Chelsea a centre-back conundrum.
While the Blues have struggled defensively in the 2022-23 season, it’s not been due to a lack of options.
And Graham Potter now has the experience of Thiago Silva and Kalidou Koulibaly, as well as the youth of Wesley Fofana, Trevoh Chalobah and Badiashile to choose from.
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Add to that, academy graduate Levi Colwill is beginning to excel on loan at Potter’s former club Brighton.
The 19-year-old has started the Seagulls’ last four Premier League matches, winning three of them under new manager Roberto De Zerbi.
Colwill is an impressive athlete with an eye for a pass, meaning he could develop into the perfect centre-back for the modern game.
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But his Chelsea future in unclear, especially now that fellow left-footer Badiashile has been signed.
Previously preferring to play with three central defenders, it seems that Potter is now looking to transition to a four defender formation.
Six centre-backs is simply too many when there are two in the starting lineup, so one of them will have to be sold. Who will it be? Colwill?
How Chelsea could line up with Benoit Badiashile
Edouard Mendy has fallen out of favour under Potter, with Kepa Arrizabalaga, the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, the man preferred in between the sticks.
Reece James and Ben Chilwell have seldom been fit enough to start many games together, but they remain the first-choice full-back pairing at Stamford Bridge.
Wesley Fofana has also had his injury woes, while Kalidou Koulibaly has been underwhelming, so Badiashile will partner Thiago Silva in the centre of defence.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 5, 2023
Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho will start in midfield, with N’Golo Kante another player struggling for fitness.
World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez would complete the trio if he is signed from Benfica; Mason Mount will fulfill the role otherwise.
Summer signing Raheem Sterling will keep his place on the right flank, with Christian Pulisic on the left – unless the Blues beat Arsenal to the signing of Shakhtar Donetsk star Mykhailo Mudryk.
Kai Havertz will lead the line, with Armando Broja injured and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looking a poor piece of business.