Chelsea transfer could provide perfect partner for Mateo Kovacic and solve N’Golo Kante problem

The Chelsea central midfield has been problematic ever since Antonio Conte dismantled the N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic partnership. 

When Maurizio Sarri replaced Conte in 2018 and brought Jorginho with him, he struggled to squeeze the former Napoli playmaker and Kante into the same team, moving the French World Cup winner into a more advanced box-to-box role that never really suited him.

Frank Lampard has since taken over from Sarri but encountered the same difficulties. Jorginho is excellent in possession but brings with him defensive weaknesses. Meanwhile, Kante struggles to fit into a 4-3-3 formation alongside Jorginho.

As such, Chelsea may well be forced into the transfer market to solve their lack of central midfield cohesion. Matteo Kovacic has been excellent, while Billy Gilmour offers an exciting prospect at defensive midfield, but beyond the pair, Lampard has very specific players who do not really fit together.

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Chelsea have subsequently been linked with a move for young Lille midfielder, Boubakary Soumare. But who is the 21-year-old and how would he fit into the midfield conundrum that Lampard is yet to totally solve?

Soumare plays mostly as a defensive midfielder. He is an excellent tackler, intercepter, stands at 1.88 metres and uses his frame excellently to break up play – he averages 1.4 successful tackles, winning 66% of his attempts, and 1.2 interceptions per 90 minutes. He is quick to cover ground and is rarely beaten to the ball due to a lack of speed. But it would be lazy analysis to pigeon-hole him into a purely defensive role.

Unlike other destructive midfielders, Soumare is effective when bursting forward too. In fact, he is extremely skilful with the ball at his feet. He will often use stepovers or drag-backs or spins to skip away from challenges and out of trouble and he has a tremendously high success rate…


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