How Chelsea could line up with Marc Cucurella: Thomas Tuchel’s complex solution with £52.5m transfer close

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Marc Cucurella's impending transfer to Chelsea has raised a lot of questions - most notably, where will he play?

The attacking full-back could soon find himself competing with Ben Chilwell, with the Blues closing in on a £52.5million deal to sign him from Brighton.

Although there is no doubting his quality, there are concerns about where Cucurella will fit in at Chelsea.

The equation will be a complex one for Thomas Tuchel to solve but, with the start of the new season just days away, he is keen to add as much quality as possible after missing out on several targets.

The need for a centre-back has long been a priority for Chelsea but they have tried and failed to sign Matthijs de Ligt, Nathan Ake, Presnel Kimpembe and Jules Kounde.

Marc Cucurella could line up in Thomas Tuchel’s back three (BuildLineUp/Standard Sport)
Marc Cucurella could line up in Thomas Tuchel’s back three (BuildLineUp/Standard Sport)

A new wing-back has also been on the agenda but two new central defenders have been the priority after the club lost Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers.

Despite being only 5ft 6ins tall, Cucurella has played at centre-back in a back three at Brighton. Equally, Chilwell played there at Leicester under Brendan Rodgers.

It would provide an option, albeit an imperfect one, for Tuchel to get both players on the pitch together. The problem is that it would nullify one of the two best attacking full-backs in the Premier League, minimising the attributes that persuaded Chelsea to spend £50m on them both.

Tuchel is also keen to switch to a back four when he needs to next season, and he could do so when both Chilwell and Cucurella are in the team.

Marc Cucurella in a 4-4-2 for Chelsea (BuildLineUp/Standard Sport)
Marc Cucurella in a 4-4-2 for Chelsea (BuildLineUp/Standard Sport)

In the 4-0 pre-season defeat to Arsenal last month, Chelsea started in a 4-4-2 formation and could do the same with one of Chilwell or Cucurella on the left of midfield.

They could also switch one of the two to the right in a 3-4-3, pushing Reece James back to centre-back and using one of the left footers as an inverted wing-back.

Tuchel did the same in reverse last season, utilising James on the left, when he felt the tactical need or when injuries hit the team.

Cucurella and Chilwell will have to be versatile to help Chelsea achieve their goals as they experiment with new formations following a strange transfer window.

Thomas Tuchel could drop Ben Chilwell to play Marc Cucurella wide on the left (BuildLineUp/Standard Sport)
Thomas Tuchel could drop Ben Chilwell to play Marc Cucurella wide on the left (BuildLineUp/Standard Sport)

There is still uncertainty around transfers at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea still want to sign more defenders, with Leicester City's Wesley Fofana and RB Leipzig's Josko Gvardiol on the agenda.

They also need to sell players, with the futures of Fulham target Malang Sarr, Barcelona target Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri all in doubt.

Chelsea have just under a month to find balance both on and off the pitch.

Tuchel and new owners Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital are set for a busy month with Chelsea set to be one of the most active clubs in the transfer market between now and the transfer window closing on September 1.

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