Champions of Europe are facing a major downfall and things just look so much out of place for them. One major reason has been the absence of key players and most importantly their wing-backs. Reece James and Ben Chilwell have both been ruled out with long time injuries and this has really impacted Chelsea’s season.
Recruitments are the only option for Chelsea as of now as they have absolutely no back on the right side, as Azpilicueta doesn’t have the legs to play every 3rd day of the week. This has forced Tuchel to push his wingers as the wing-backs but the productivity as expected has not been up to the mark. Also on the left, a set-back of confirmation of Chilwell’s absence from this season has increased the workload on Alonso massively. Adding to this, the Spaniard’s defensive abilities have always been questionable and this has left Chelsea very vulnerable on the left.
Tuchel has admitted that they need something extra on the wide and re-enforcement seem the only option now. January deals are always tricky to pull-off and the limited options will definitely add to the trouble. With negotiations not on the same page for Digne, Chelsea now needs some quality short-time solutions and one person fitting the bills can be, Sergino Dest.
How Sergino Dest Fits the Puzzle?
Tuchel has highly relied on his wing-backs in the 5 back system and they were not just were one of the reasons for great defensive record but also were adding to the goals tally, both of which is being affected since their absence. Chilwell and Reece James already have made 15 goal contributions this season despite being out for a long period. This shows the reliance of Tuchel’s back 5 system on the wing backs.
Tuchel demands more of attacking abilities from his wing-backs with considerable defensive positioning. Dest fits perfectly to this as he is well-known for his ability to carry the ball forward and create key chances. Dest has 0.96 shots per 90 minutes in his overall career and had it well above 1 under Eric Tan Hag. This is almost the same number that Reece James provides at Chelsea and thus could help Chelsea to give the same attacking numbers. Alongside this, Dest has a better record to enter the box, managing to get in box the same number of times as Reece in half the matches played.
German managers love possession and Tuchel just cherishes it more than anyone else. Dest has some good control on the ball and does well in regulating the ball. Also, Tuchel’s team is always known for pressing their opponents and interestingly Dest has better record than Reece James in this aspect. He edges the English full-back by having a successful pressure percentage of 30.6% while Reece managing just 28.6%.
Dest is not the best of crossers of the ball, something that has let him down at Barcelona but under Tuchel he could be liberated with this as the wide center back can take up the role allowing him to carry the ball. Also, many critics question his physicality to compete in the Premier League, but players like Lamptey have done well with similar physical attributes recently and the American can actually work on it.
The best part about Dest has been his versatility on the pitch. He can play in all the wide positions be it on any side. He has played considerable games as right back, right midfielder, right winger, left back and left midfielder. This is what Tuchel expects from his players as we have often seen Reece James, Emerson, Pulisic and Odoi being used at different positions depending on the requirements. Even he can cover for injured Ben Chilwell on the left, if Alonso is not to be trusted.
Is the Move Viable?
Under Xavi, Dest has definitely fallen out of favor and at his age he will be craving for some considerable minutes. But he wants to prove his worth at Barcelona and thus a loan move till the season ends helps everyone. Chelsea can get their short-term replacement, Dest can get his minutes and Barcelona can be relieved of some wages. If the American wishes to stay at Chelsea, he can be in Chelsea’s long-term project too. A perfect back-up to Reece, with Azpi ageing, is what Chelsea have been looking for long. Dest just could be the solution and one can not forget that he will be accompanying his American friend, Pulisic at the London Blues. He will also help Chelsea to expand their American business, something that the club is evidently doing for last few years. Also, a permanent move around £25M will not be much of a problem for the Blues.
Now all depends on what Tuchel wishes for and if Dest is ready to leave the Catalonian colors for a difficult spell at London which definitely will be a testing one.