Chelsea have already signed £20m star to complete dream Enzo Maresca midfield

Enzo Maresca faces somewhat of a midfield dilemma at Chelsea next season. The Italian has a number of quality midfielders at the club and a lot will depend on what formation he chooses to deploy.

Maresca has often opted for a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 formation, with the latter preferred during his time at King Power Stadium. You would expect that Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo are certain starters in the Blues midfield next campaign, but there are question marks regarding the third midfield spot should Maresca opt to play in a 4-3-3.

Romeo Lavia could certainly play in the left No.8 role, as could Conor Gallagher should the England international stay at Stamford Bridge this summer. Another who could flourish in the role is Carney Chukwuemeka.

The 20-year-old joined the Blues in August 2022 from Aston Villa for around £20million and although deemed as one for the future, he made 14 appearances in his first season in west London. It wasn't until last season, however, that he scored his first goal for the club, netting against West Ham in the second game of the season. A knee injury restricted his game time after that, although he did go on to make 11 more appearances in all competitions, grabbing an assist against Liverpool in the FA Cup.

Chukwuemeka is a creative player with the ability to unlock defences, but is also a powerful runner and isn't afraid to track back and put a tackle in. The Villa academy graduate even believes himself that the No.8 role is his best position.

"When I was 15, I played off the left but came inside a lot because I wasn't really a typical winger," Chukwuemeka told The Telegraph in January. "At 16 the decision was made to play in midfield. My coaches saw something that maybe they hadn't seen before.

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"Now I'm most effective as a box-to-box No.8 where I can drive with the ball. Playing as a No.10, I can link up play so my flair comes out a bit but I don't mind. I'm powerful, a good dribbler, good at connecting play and technique."

One player who has seen Chukwuemeka up close is Noni Madueke, with the young winger describing his teammate as a "problem" for defences. "Carney is the player I spend most time with, easily," Madueke told the official Chelsea website.

"I knew him through the England set-up. We are just very similar, we get on really well. We like the same things and have the same type of personality, so it just clicks.

"When he's fully fit, he's a problem for teams. So I can't wait until next season for him to be fit from the start of the season and just show everyone what he can do."

Chukwuemeka will get a chance to show what he can do in a Chelsea shirt in pre-season, which will be an important period for Blues players as Maresca looks to implement his ideas before the season kicks off against Manchester City on August 18. With Caicedo and Fernandez at Copa America, and Gallagher at Euro 2024, there should be plenty of chances for Chukwuemeka over the coming weeks, with the squad due to play their first pre-season friendly on July 25 against Wrexham.

Perform well and the young midfielder may well find himself in the team for the clash against Man City on the opening weekend of the new season. Alongside Caicedo and Fernandez, Chukwuemeka could flourish under Maresca if given the chance.