Three new signings can completely transform Chelsea’s feeble attack under Potter with Fernandez, Madueke and Mudryk

HAVING bought the club off of Roman Abramovich last May, American businessman Todd Boehly now has two transfer windows under his belt at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues have enjoyed football’s greatest riches over the past two decades during the Abramovich era and so Boehly had gargantuan shoes to fill.

Chelsea have spent £326m in January on players including Mykhailo Mudryk, Enzo Fernandez and Noni Madueke

But the American hasn’t messed around, spending more money than any other club in the history of the January market, splashing out £326 million to sign eight new players, including Mykhailo Mudryk for £88million as well as Enzo Fernandez for £107million.

The signings have been astonishing with others arriving including Joao Felix, Noni Madueke, Malo Gusto, Benoit Badiashile, Andrey Santos and David Fofana.

But can these players flip Chelsea’s fortunes on their head this season?

Enzo Fernandez

Having been linked with Manchester United during his time with River Plate, Enzo Fernandez made a smart decision to sign for Benfica as a stepping stone to one of Europe’s top five leagues.

The Argentine star was guaranteed playing time under German coach Roger Schmidt which meant that he would likely receive a call-up to the Argentina national team for the World Cup in Qatar.

This is exactly how things worked out.

Fernandez not only received a call-up to Lionel Scaloni’s side but played a key role in helping his country lift the prize for the first time in 36 years.

Fernandez is now the most expensive signing in English football history, breaking the £100million fee Manchester City spent on Jack Grealish in 2021.

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While the price tag may weigh heavily on his shoulders, Fernandez is still an astute signing for the Blues and a player who was desperately needed at Stamford Bridge.

Jorginho has been one of the best midfielders in the Premier League since joining Chelsea in 2018 from Napoli.

The Italian was the key man for Chelsea to break opposition lines and to dictate the tempo of their game in the middle of the park.

The 31-year-old has been moved on to rivals Arsenal, but his replacement is sharper, more mobile and has a much higher ceiling.

Fernandez’s role at Chelsea under Graham Potter will not involve him being a marauding central midfielder or a box-to-box player but to simply keep things ticking, looking to move the ball around from side to side with his centre-backs.

Enzo Fernandez was a key player in the World Cup final

Fernandez has dropped beside the centre-backs to receive possession in space. Noticing the right-back pushing higher on the right, the Argentine midfielder plays a sumptuous switch of the play out to the flank, forcing the opponent to push across.

The former River Plate youth product will be important to help Chelsea move the opposition in order to find gaps in their defensive block.

As Pep Guardiola famously once said: “We do not pass to move the ball, we pass to move the opposition.”

Having a player like Fernandez will be so important for Chelsea to move the ball well around the back and midfield as he is excellent when receiving under pressure and is superb at switching the play from side to side.

The reason this is so vital is because the opposition will shift their defensive block from side to side as well in correlation with the movement of the ball in order to defend the ball-side.

However, it is extremely difficult to do this consistently without gaps opening up in the block and so this is where Fernandez’s ability will shine through.

Chelsea’s new signing will be the player tasked with breaking the lines of the opposition to play to higher areas of the pitch when these spaces do open up in the opponent’s defensive block.

Enzo Fernandez’s pass map from the World Cup final

Having attracted Sporting into a deeper area, Fernandez notices a free man standing in the middle of the pitch and plays an excellent through pass into the player’s feet to break the opposition’s lines.

Having a mobile deep-lying playmaker capable of playing between the lines is something that all top sides must possess in order to play a possession-based style of football.

Liverpool have Thiago, Arsenal have Thomas Partey with Jorginho as a rotation option, Manchester City have Rodri, Manchester United have Christian Eriksen and new signing Marcel Sabitzer, Newcastle United have Bruno Guimaraes, and now Chelsea have Enzo Fernandez.

Potter will be hoping that Fernandez’s impact on the team is instant as the Blues don’t possess any other player capable of fulfilling this role.

Mykhailo Mudryk

Mykhailo Mudryk joined Chelsea for £88million on a lucrative eight-and-a-half year deal from Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk.

His debut cameo against Liverpool was certainly promising as Mudryk attempted more dribbles than any other player on the pitch despite coming on for merely 35 minutes.

Mudryk threatens to dribble inside Joe Gomez inside the box but quickly drops his shoulder and pushes the ball to the left, creating an excellent goalscoring opportunity for himself.

The Ukrainian will be a menacing player in the final third for Chelsea due to his ability to dribble past opponents at ease.

Mudryk has a low centre of gravity and can go either way against an onrushing defender which has become more and more important in the modern game for a winger.

This means that the 22-year-old is capable of dribbling inside as well as outside, making it extremely difficult for defenders to predict his movement when squaring him up.

A primary method of dribbling that Mudryk uses is cutting inside before dropping his shoulder and pushing the ball in the opposite direction to fool the defender.

On his debut for Chelsea against Liverpool, Mudryk completed three successful dribbles into the penalty area which averaged out at around one every ten minutes.

Furthermore, over the course of the 2022/23 campaign for Shakhtar, the man dubbed “the Ukrainian Neymar” completed 70 carries into the box in just half a season.

Mykhailo Mudryk is currently the fastest player in the Premier League

Mudryk was found at the back post with an excellent floated cross. His first touch let him down, but the Ukrainian could have easily opened his account on his debut due to being in the right position.

Nonetheless, Mudryk has also proven himself to be a threat in the opposition’s penalty area.

In all competitions for club and country this season, Mudryk averaged 0.52 goals per game which is one every two matches.

This is an exceptional record for a winger whose primary function is assisting others as opposed to putting the ball in the net themselves.

These added goals can only be beneficial for Chelsea who have massively struggled in front of goal this season, having scored 29 times despite having an xG of 38.74 in all competitions.

Even from his debut, the signs were clear that Mudryk will be chipping in with goals in the latter half of the season for the Blues as the new signing found himself in some excellent goalscoring positions.

Noni Madueke

Another player who can potentially change the club’s fortunes is Noni Madueke.

Having worked with Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistelrooy at Jong PSV and with the PSV Eindhoven first-team this season, Madueke’s game has been elevated to a different level.

While new Liverpool signing Cody Gakpo took all the plaudits with the Dutch giants for his outrageous performances, Madueke was quietly going about his business, improving more and more with each passing game.

Madueke is the perfect man to add something different to Potter’s frontline, being a left-footer who primarily operates as a right-winger.

Noni Madueke likes to hug the right touchline

With Mudryk playing as a right-footer on the left and Madueke on the right, it is clear that the former Brighton coach is looking for something similar to Liverpool’s frontline, with more goal-minded players playing in the forward line.

In the past, Chelsea have neglected attacking prowess in their front three, putting a higher emphasis on creativity and so that may be about to change.

Madueke is undoubtedly a goalscoring winger.

The Englishman’s offensive play is resemblant to that of former Chelsea man Arjen Robben.

Madueke collected the ball wide on the right, dropped his shoulder and dribbled inside to the edge of the area before smashing the ball past AC Milan’s goalkeeper in a recent friendly.

The 21-year-old likes to look for the ball out wide, hugging the touchline before dribbling inside the backline and unleashing thunderous strikes on his left foot.

This season, Madueke is averaging an xG of 0.41 per game while scoring 0.47 times per game, almost one in every two matches for PSV.

Of course, the changeover from the Eredivisie to the Premier League will be something that Madueke has to adapt to but given he played academy football with Crystal Palace and Tottenham, the transition may be smoother than normal.

One of Madueke’s best attributes is that he doesn’t rely on team-mates to create chances for him, similarly to fellow new arrival Malo Gusto.

The England U21s international is scintillating when running with the ball at his feet and loves to take on the opposition’s full-back.

This season alone, Madueke has averaged 13.03 dribbles per game with an accuracy of 56.1 per cent as well as registering 66 carries into the penalty area, primarily coming from the right side.

Madueke has shaped his body up to shoot on his left foot. However, instead, he drags it back onto his right, fooling three opposition players in the meantime before getting a right-footed shot away which trickled into the net.

The attacker is a threat for any defender inside the box and his sharp dribbling makes it extremely difficult to stop him from getting past his man to create space for a shot.

The only downside to having Madueke is that he is not the most creative player in Chelsea’s squad with just two assists this season and a total expected assists of merely 2.66.

This means that Potter will need to deploy a more creative player in the starting line-up to complement Madueke’s lack of creativity.

So what does this all mean?

None of these players are Premier League proven.

Only Madueke has prior experience playing in English football but even that was at academy level.

Nevertheless, with the money spent over the course of Boehly’s short reign at Stamford Bridge, the new owner has put all his eggs in one basket in the hopes that these signings can showcase their quality in West London.

Chelsea are really struggling this season under Potter but if these new players can gel together and form a cohesive unit, the Blues may be on for a very exciting end to the campaign.

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