Chelsea have almost been in a state of limbo for the past few weeks. Since government sanctions were placed on the club, the Blues haven’t been able to operate in their usual manner.
The ongoing situation has impacted ticket sales and merchandise sales, and it seems destined to have an influence on the future of the current squad, with Antonio Rudiger now linked with Barcelona after also being tipped for moves to Juventus and Bayern Munich.
The 29 year-old centre-back has opted against signing a new contract at Chelsea so far and at the moment, the Blues are unable to tie down any of their players on longer deals, including Andreas Christensen. Cesar Azpilicueta is another player who is linked with a transfer to Barcelona.
Losing all three defenders this summer has become a very realistic possibility, and that could force Thomas Tuchel into a tactical rethink next season.
Upon his arrival at Stamford Bridge, the German coach settled on 3-4-3 as his go-to system pretty quickly. It made plenty of sense considering the wealth of defenders at the club and the relatively thin midfield department.
Virtually every week since January 2021, Chelsea have persisted with three at the back but as the squad changes in the coming months, Tuchel might have to consider switching things up. Between now and the beginning of next season, the Blues could lose three of their defenders before profiting from the likes of Conor Gallagher and Billy Gilmour, each of whom have spent the season on loan at Crystal Palace and Norwich City respectively.
Once they return to the Bridge, Tuchel could suddenly have depth in his midfield and fewer bodies in his defence, which could influence a shift towards 4-3-3 as the team’s primary option. Gallagher in particular has shined as part of a 4-3-3 system this season. He’s been deployed as a box-to-box midfielder under Patrick Vieira and no player for Palace has scored more than his eight Premier League goals this season, excluding penalties.
Armando Broja is also due to return to the club from his loan at Southampton. He’s second-top scorer for the Saints in England’s top-flight this season, and he’s still just 20 years-old.
Ultimately, once Chelsea’s loan players return to the club and the outgoing defenders leave, the make-up of the squad might have changed enough for Tuchel to reconsider the best formation for his players.