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Mason Mount ended his eighteen-year association with Chelsea, forcing a move to Manchester United after failed contract talks at Stamford Bridge. The real reason for his departure will surely come to light later in his life. But he leaves a void that must be filled or risks another twelfth-place finish in the upcoming campaign.
In the Chelsea starting eleven, Mount assumed multiple duties that showcase his versatility and impact on the team. Deployed in different positions, such as attacking midfielder, central midfielder, and even on the flanks, the Portsmouth native’s skill set allows him to excel in various roles.
With exceptional technical ability and vision, he contributes significantly to the team’s build-up play, dictating the tempo and orchestrating attacks with his precise passing and intelligent positioning. The Blues faithful will not be forgetting his defence-splitting pass to Kai Havertz in the Champions League final for years to come.
He also demonstrated a tenacious work rate and defensive acumen, making him a valuable asset when operating in deeper positions. Mount’s athleticism, intensity, and relentless pressing also enable him to win back possession and disrupt the opposition’s play.
These are the qualities that need to be reinforced in Chelsea’s ranks. A side that has already lost Jorginha, Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftuc Cheek and N’Golo Kante, needs reinforcements. Let’s look at the nominees to replace Magic Mason in West London.
Mount’s duties in the Chelsea starting eleven encompass his multifaceted abilities, combining his technical excellence, offensive threat, defensive contributions, and adaptability to different positions. The Blues have a ready-made replacement in fellow Cobham graduate, Conor Gallagher.
Gallagher’s ability to play as a box-to-box midfielder, deeper midfielder, or attacking midfielder grants him the flexibility to adapt to various positions within the team. Like Mount, he is reminiscent of Frank Lampard’s style, exhibiting excellent timing with his runs into the penalty box, demonstrating a goal-scoring threat from midfield.
Furthermore, Gallagher’s defensive attributes make him an asset in Palace’s defensive set-up, showcasing his ability to win the ball back and contribute to a high-pressing style of play. His defensive positioning and willingness to assist defenders and cover full-backs highlight his commitment to the team’s defensive efforts. Additionally, Gallagher’s athleticism and energetic approach to the game are evident in his dynamic midfield presence and frequent tackling.
Another player currently at Mauricio Pochettino’s disposal who can take up Mount’s mantle is Carney Chukwuemeka. The Aston Villa academy graduate arrived for an €18 million fee last season and made 14 Premier League appearances for the Blues.
The highly-rated midfielder shares some similarities with Mase in terms of their playing style and attributes. Like the 24-year-old, Chukwuemeka is a versatile midfielder who can excel in various positions, including central midfield, attacking midfield, and even on the wings. This versatility allows both players to adapt to different roles and contribute effectively to their teams’ tactics.
Moreover, he is comfortable in possession and capable of playing accurate long-range passes, contributing to their teams’ build-up play. While he has not shown that at the senior stage, but if his England U19 performances are to be believed, Pochettino needs to unleash his goal-scoring threat from midfield to complete the transition.
As the Blues revamp their midfield, they will be looking at Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Chelsea have been linked with the Serbian international in previous windows and they can profit from his signature in a manner similar to Mount’s departure.
The Lazio midfielder is a like-for-like replacement for their departing academy graduate, and might actually be an upgrade. Milinkovic-Savic entered the final 12 months of his contract in Rome and can be had for a paltry sum of £34 million.
In his last four years at Stadio Olympico, the 28-year-old has endeared himself to the Lazio faithful with 35 league goals and as many assists. He finished the 2022/23 campaign with nine goals and eight assists in a campaign where he finished runner-up in the title race.
With Chelsea in conversation with Olympique Lyon to off-load Christian Pulisic, there are rumours Blues are in talks to secure the services of Rayan Cherki. At 19, he already has four top-flight campaigns under his belt and brings with him extensive Ligue 1 experience.
Transfer journalist, Fabrizio Romano has revealed that talks are in progress between the two clubs and Cherki can become the latest young arrival at Stamford Bridge. The French midfielder fits the mould put in place by Todd Boehly and co. and presents a huge upturn given the modest £25 million reported fee.
While Milinkovic-Savic will command a sizeable salary and eat into the reductions made by the Chelsea hierarchy, Cherki’s demands will be modest in comparison. Moreover, he can easily slot into the midfield trident alongside Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo, making his addition all the more enticing.
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