Ousmane Dembele Chelsea agreement creates five tricky transfer questions for Thomas Tuchel – Daniel Childs

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Ousmane Dembele has quickly become a trending name amongst Chelsea fans online speculating over potential transfers.

There still remains skepticism over his recent injury record and whether a transfer including a lofty wage would only add another player who persistently finds themselves on the treatment table. Dembele missed over 100 games for Barcelona since his £ 135million move in August 2017 from Borussia Dortmund.

Though with his impressive numbers under Xavi since January, natural talent and his previous relationship with Thomas Tuchel, the pros seem to outweigh the cons when looking at what Chelsea’s current attack has lacked in recent years. And the hope that at 25, Dembele’s best years are still ahead of him.

READ MORE: What Christian Pulisic did for the USA vs Morocco to sum up his Chelsea transfer predicament

Though his potential arrival would certainly have an impact on the rest of Chelsea’s current attacking cast. For onlookers, there will be little sympathy given the lack of productivity and the feeling the area has greatly underperformed expectations despite over £ 300million being invested in it since 2019.

A new player should add competition, excitement and new spice to an attack that has struggled to consistently catch fire under Tuchel since his appointment in January 2021. Even with the Champions League triumph, you would be hard-pressed to find many who would hold this group up as adding the required value.

Some of that can be targeted at Tuchel’s system and how it has appeared to limit Chelsea’s ability to go after opponents or allow the freedom needed for certain players to excel. Should Dembele arrive, several members of the current squad would be impacted.

The first is Hakim Ziyech. Signed under Frank Lampard in 2020, Ziyech was reportedly a target championed by Lampard and one who quickly became a dominant player on the right of Chelsea’s attack in the early months of the 2020/21 season. Most went through the Moroccan and relied on his creativity cutting onto his wand of a left-foot.

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Injuries and a change of coach halted that progression and even with some high points under Tuchel, there is a nagging feeling that Ziyech simply does not fit the style of attacker needed for the German. The most likely outcome feels like a departure given his age and likely suitors.

The next is Callum Hudson-Odoi, a player who has flirted with a significant breakthrough only to be halted by injury issues or a dip in performance losing him a starting spot.

With two years left on his current expensive deal, a decision over his future needs to be made soon. Do Chelsea persist with the academy hopeful or cash in? Dembele naturally plays off the right but would take up minutes and increase competition; does Hudson-Odoi stay to compete or look elsewhere?

Christian Pulisic probably fits into a similar category but does have the bonus of working well with Dembele at Dortmund. The constant rumors of Pulisic’s unhappiness prompt speculation over a potential sale, but with American ownership and his previous anticipation inside the box, a creative force like Dembele could aid Pulisic.

Rather than a negative, Mason Mount would probably benefit from playing alongside the French winger. The more competition you put in Mount’s path, the better he seems to play. Mount is a workhorse but is maybe burdened with too much creative responsibility for Tuchel.

Dembele’s talent and drive could hopefully share some of that burden from the right, whilst allowing Mount to remain an essential cog to the way Chelsea build-up attacking moves.

This finally relates to Tuchel and his ability to inspire the outstanding form seen during the 2016/17 form that made Dembele such a desired talent across European football. Part of that is allowing the winger a bit of freedom within the current structure, the ability to be a maverick and take risks where others have not.

If you are going to invest in talent like Dembele then you need to set up an environment that cultivates the ingenuity which makes him such a captivating player to watch when fit. Given his talent, you get the feeling you do not need to do much tweaking to Dembele’s skillset, it is just ensuring that he does not get bogged down in the repetitive, almost robotic passing game that has slowed down too many Chelsea displays.

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