sport news Chelsea: Frenkie de Jong is on the verge of joining but will have ... trends now

sport news Chelsea: Frenkie de Jong is on the verge of joining but will have ... trends now
sport news Chelsea: Frenkie de Jong is on the verge of joining but Thomas Tuchel will have ... trends now

sport news Chelsea: Frenkie de Jong is on the verge of joining but Thomas Tuchel will have ... trends now

How many midfielders is too many? 

Chelsea fans are understandably excited about the prospect of beating Manchester United to the signing of Frenkie de Jong, Barcelona's gifted star.

The Blues are reportedly 'very close' to agreeing a £68million deal with the Spanish giants for the Dutchman as they aim to steal him away from Premier League rivals United, and there is little doubt he would be a strong addition.

But while there's merit to the theory that clubs should build on a position of strength, do Thomas Tuchel's side really need him?

If De Jong arrives, the German will have a selection headache and could well struggle to keep the 10 central midfielders available to him happy.

So how can Chelsea get the best out of him? How can he get the best out of Chelsea? And how can Tuchel juggle his options effectively? Sportsmail analyses the situation...

Chelsea fans are understandably excited about the prospect of beating Manchester United to the signing of Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong (above) and are 'very close' to agreeing a £68m deal

Chelsea fans are understandably excited about the prospect of beating Manchester United to the signing of Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong (above) and are 'very close' to agreeing a £68m deal

The Dutch star would be a fine addition but would be joining an already-stacked Blues midfield

The Dutch star would be a fine addition but would be joining an already-stacked Blues midfield

His arrival would take the club's number of central midfielders to TEN and may give manager Thomas Tuchel a selection headache and leave him struggling to keep all his stars happy

His arrival would take the club's number of central midfielders to TEN and may give manager Thomas Tuchel a selection headache and leave him struggling to keep all his stars happy

How can Chelsea get the best out of De Jong? 

The obvious question when considering how De Jong will fit in at Chelsea is where they play him. He has almost always played in a 4-3-3 system, at Ajax and Barcelona - both sides influenced by Johan Cruyff and Rinus Michels' philosophy.

He is versatile within that formation, capable of playing as a 'six' (the deepest and most central of the midfield three, with more defensive responsibility) or an 'eight' (one of the more advanced players flanking the 'six', with more licence to attack).

De Jong has even at times played as a third centre half, dropping between two central defenders to dictate play from deep. But he has never really played in the 3-4-3 system Chelsea most often adopt.

With the Blues preferring to have a three-man defence and wing-backs, there is room for just two central midfielders, who as a result have a higher physical workload.

That perhaps explains why metronomic playmaker Jorginho - Best FIFA Men's Player and UEFA Player of the Year in 2021 after inspiring Chelsea to the Champions League and Italy to the Euro 2020 title - at times looks ill-suited to the style of play, forced into 'grunt work' rather than manipulating the ball and keeping things ticking over.

De Jong may struggle in Chelsea's typical 3-4-3 formation - a change of shape might be best

De Jong may struggle in Chelsea's typical 3-4-3 formation - a change of shape might be best

Putting the more gritty and experienced N'Golo Kante alongside him in midfield would ease some of the burden, but it is unclear if he could adapt to the physicality of the Premier League

Putting the more gritty and experienced N'Golo Kante alongside him in midfield would ease some of the burden, but it is unclear if he could adapt to the physicality of the Premier League

Putting the more gritty and experienced N'Golo Kante or Mateo Kovacic alongside De Jong would ease some of the burden, but it remains unclear if he could quickly adapt to the relentless physicality of the Premier League.

In pre-season, Tuchel flirted with using a 4-3-3 formation - and unless the German switches to that or brings Mason Mount - a regular starter in attacking midfield - deeper to help out in a 3-5-2 with a midfield trio, a change of shape might be best to maximise De Jong's impact.

How can De Jong get the best out of Chelsea?

The 44-cap international's talents are clear: ball retention, passing, close control, dribbling, movement, and much more besides. You can understand why Erik ten Hag and Manchester United are keen on him to upgrade the 'McFred' duo consisting of Scott McTominay and Fred.

Barcelona getting rid is not at all about his playing abilities but related to recouping some cash to ease their financial chaos and getting his hefty salary off the wage bill. 

Even if

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