Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Three ways Chelsea could line up following David Datro Fofana transfer ‘agreement’ ahead of January window

Three ways Chelsea could line up following David Datro Fofana transfer ‘agreement’ ahead of January window

The news that Chelsea is close to signing 19-year-old Ivorian striker David Datro Fofana has sparked intrigue and enthusiasm about the forward’s potential.

Fofana, who scored 19 goals in 25 games for Molde in Norway in 2022, could be signed by Chelsea for a fee rumored to be below £15 million, to beat out Premier League opposition from Brighton.

Given Armando Broja’s season-ending injury and the possibility of Fofana joining Chelsea in January, Graham Potter has a variety of attacking formations to choose from. 

Since replacing Thomas Tuchel in September, Potter has used nearly every formation in the book, and we could see more experimentation when the Premier League resumes.

Fofana has been utilized by Molde coach Erling Moe as one of two strikers in a 3-5-2 formation, most recently starting alongside Magnus Grodemin in October’s 4-1 victory over Viking, in which Fofana scored twice.

Potter has employed a 3-5-2 and a 3-4-3, primarily favoring a three-man defense, which he employed frequently at Brighton and with which Chelsea’s squad has been experienced under Tuchel.

In recent years, Chelsea has rarely deployed traditional strikers while playing with two forwards, instead favoring combinations of wide players used more centrally or split strikers with mobility players to rotate and stretch opposing defenses. Kai Havertz is still an enigma at the club, with Potter employing him as a focal point, as part of a partnership, or just off the striker.

Potter employed a 3-4-3 formation in the final two games prior to the break against Manchester City and Newcastle, with Armando Broja leading the line. Fofana could soon be asked to fill this role.

The second approach is a 4-3-3 system, which was also deployed in November against Dinamo Zagreb and Arsenal with variable outcomes, with Raheem Sterling scoring against Zagreb and Mason Mount excelling in a deeper midfield role. Havertz, the forward that evening, also had one of his best performances.

Potter’s last formation is the 4-2-2-2, in which Sterling, Havertz, Mount, Christian Pulisic, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have all featured in an attack-minded formation. It allows for a natural fluidity of player movement, something Fofana’s speed may benefit from.

Three ways Chelsea could line up following David Datro Fofana transfer ‘agreement’ ahead of January window

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