Chelsea's activity in the January window was relatively quiet despite their transfer ban being halved in December last year. The London giants were linked to a series of players last month but have largely failed to get any deal over the line, much to the ire and disappointment of the Stamford Bridge faithful.
Frank Lampard's pleas for business fell on deaf ears during the winter window but it now appears to have borne fruit as the Blues are believed to be preparing for the arrival of Hakim Ziyech from Ajax at the end of the season.
The 26-year-old is poised to join the Premier League giants in a deal worth €45 million (£37.8m), according to De Telegraaf. The winger, who is yet to finalise the personal terms of his deal with the club, is expected to move to the west London outfit this summer.
We take a look at three ways in which Chelsea can line up with Hakim Ziyech next season:
#1 As a right-winger in a front three
Considering the fact that the 4-3-3 formation has been Lampard's favourite set-up this season, Ziyech could likely be deployed on the right side of a front three with either Callum Hudson-Odoi or Christian Pulisic on the left and Tammy Abraham upfront. This would allow the left-footed winger to cut inside from the flanks and link up with the other two players in the area.
This combination would be ideal for the player's adaptation with his new team as the Dutch-Morrocan sensation is known to have thrived in a similar role at Ajax alongside Dusan Tadic and David Neres.
#2 As a No.10 in a 4-2-3-1 formation
This set-up would be ideal to complement Ziyech's versatility and agility as a player while also allowing Chelsea to explore the future of their number 10 beyond Mason Mount, who appears to have been entrusted with the role behind the striker this season.
The Blues have been struggling to break down teams due to a lack of creativity and have suffered dear costs, especially against teams from the lower half of the Premier League table.
Ziyech's role as a number 10 could greatly help the squad when facing a deep-lying defence as his movement, sharpness and vision, coupled with support from Willian and Hudson-Odoi out wide, could do wonders to help unlock their opponents' defence.
#3 As wing-back support in a 3-4-3 formation
This formation will allow Ziyech more freedom in his movements courtesy of defensive support from Antonio Rudiger. Reece James, who is expected to start as a wing-back if the Blues opt for this system, will likely form an interesting partnership with Ziyech as he will make forward runs to facilitate his partner's movement as an inside forward. The Blues faithful will be treated to scintillating link-up plays between the two which could ultimately be finished off by Tammy Abraham.
Published 13 Feb 2020, 17:33 IST