Three ways Chelsea could line up with Sterling and Raphinha in dream new attack

With a £55million deal for Raphinha almost secured, Chelsea fans can finally start to get excited about the new Todd Boehly era.

The Brazilian is set to become the Blues' first summer signing after Chelsea successfully gate-crashed Arsenal's lengthy pursuit of the player, while a deal for Manchester City's Raheem Sterling is also close.

With Romelu Lukaku on his way back to Inter Milan, Timo Werner looking like a lost cause, and Hakim Ziyech heavily linked with an exit, Chelsea's attack is on the verge of a major transformation.

Having been granted more control over the club's transfers, Thomas Tuchel can finally start building his empire, so we thought we'd run through a few possible line-ups for the German to consider ahead of the new season.

READ MORE: Chelsea close in on £55m Raphinha deal that won't stop Raheem Sterling move

Option 1: Havertz up top

Tuchel has dabbled with a few different shapes during his year-and-a-half stint as Chelsea boss, but whatever the case he usually ends up with a three-man attack in one form or another.

With Lukaku in the naughty corner and Werner wearing the dunce cap, that leaves just Kai Havertz as the Blues' only viable centre forward option.

The silky German didn't exactly sparkle at the top of Chelsea's tree last season, but he has plenty of experience playing there for Bayer Leverkusen, and with Sterling and Raphinha sitting either side, running at defenders and opening up spaces for him to float into, this trio is probably most sensible option.

How do you think Chelsea's front three will line-up next season? Let us know in the comments section.

Option 2: Sterling up top

Havertz might be more of a recognised centre forward than Sterling but the Englishman has been used as a perfectly serviceable false 9 by Pep Guardiola in the past, and has also partnered Harry Kane up top with England before.

Sterling has also averaged 22 goals per season since 2017 – a figure most Chelsea forwards could only dream of – and given how desperately Tuchel's side needs firepower, deploying the 27-year-old as a makeshift striker might actually be the best solution.

The creative industriousness of Mason Mount and the pace of Raphinha could easily negate the lack of height and power in this Chelsea front-line and turn them into a more decisive, systematic attacking unit … like Manchester City, I suppose.

Option 3: Raphinha as wing-back

On paper this feels like a bit of a waste of Raphinha's talents, but given how Tuchel likes his wing-backs to operate high up the field it could actually make sense – not least so he can cram in as many attacking options as possible.

Reece James would be moved to right-sided centre back, a position Tuchel has tested him in before, leaving either Mount or Christian Pulisic to join Havertz and Sterling in attack.

With Raphinha on the overlap, he'd open up space on the edge of the box for Mount and James – who are both mouth-wateringly effective in that area – and provide Chelsea with an extra dimension when breaking down stubborn defences.


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