With reports claiming that Chelsea have opened ‘informal talks’ to sign former winger Eden Hazard back from Real Madrid, it raises the question of where he would fit in Thomas Tuchel’s team.
The 30-year-old left the Blues in 2019 for upwards of £100m, however, his career at Real Madrid is yet to take off, with the tricky winger suffering injuries on a frequent basis.
The Belgium international made over 350 appearances in a Chelsea shirt during his seven year spell, but has only managed 51 in three years since moving to Spain.
So, if Hazard does re-join the Blues, just how could he fit into the Tuchel system? Sportsextral takes a look here.
Playing on the left
Hazard enjoyed his best years at Stamford Bridge when he played on the left-hand-side. He played 210 of his 352 Chelsea appearances on the left-wing and had over 120 goal contributions when playing there for the Blues
Whilst this may be an ideal fit for the Belgian, it may not fit best with Tuchel’s setup. The German coach often sets up in a 3-4-3 with wing-backs and two number 10s.
It would mean that Tuchel may have to adapt the formation to fit Hazard on the left, though it wouldn’t be beyond the manager who is known for his tactical tweaks
Playing as a ten
Another option for Hazard could be to play behind the striker. Tuchel’s 3-4-3 makes use of two players, most commonly Kai Havertz and Mason Mount, playing behind the striker, usually Romelu Lukaku.
It’s not a position that the former Chelsea man is unfamiliar with either. He played there the second-most of any position during his time at Chelsea, only behind playing left-wing. He made 62 appearances in the role and it would give him the freedom to pull the strings in the middle yet again
Playing as a striker
The third option could be to use Hazard as a false nine, somewhere he also played in a spell for the Blues. He made 47 appearances playing up front, scoring 17 goals and getting 17 assists to his name there.
He could play ahead of Lukaku if the game situation suits his skilful style over his compatriot’s hold-up play, or they could play off of one another to cause some problems for opposition backlines.
Hazard’s potential return could help the playmaker find his spark again and whether Tuchel could change his formation to fit him into the side, or his versatility fits what the Chelsea manager is trying to do, it could be a much needed return for the Belgian.
It’s something, at the very least, every Chelsea fan will love.
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