As the dust settles on January, Chelsea now need Potter to deliver


fter a January transfer window that at times felt like a chaotic scene from the Wolf Of Wall Street, Chelsea return to the normality of trying to win football matches.

Graham Potter and his squad took Tuesday off and watched the drama of deadline day unfold, as the club finally got its man by signing Enzo Fernandez for £106.8million.

Fernandez was due to train with his new team-mates at Cobham today after arriving in London yesterday.

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With a home game against Fulham tomorrow night, there is little time for the 22-year-old Argentina midfielder to integrate into the squad this week.

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But the hope at Chelsea is the most expensive player in British history will give everyone a lift as they bid to turn their season around.

Co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali said: “In Enzo, we are signing a World Cup winner and one of the brightest talents in global football. We are excited to add him to Graham’s squad and we are sure he will form an important part of our team going forward.”

There is no doubt Fernandez has star quality but, after Chelsea spent more than £300m last month, the pressure is on Potter to piece together their expensively-assembled jigsaw.

Chelsea are languishing in 10th place in the Premier League and arresting their decline will not be easy. The challenge now for Potter is how to manage a squad full of big-money signings and players with uncertain futures.

Chelsea have a squad of 33 senior players when everyone is fit. In goal, Kepa Arrizabalaga and Edouard Mendy both believe they should be first-choice but know Chelsea want to replace them with a new No1 next season.

Reece James is the first-choice right-back but, after three major signings at centre-back, which one of Kalidou Koulibaly, Wesley Fofana or Benoit Badiashile will line up alongside Thiago Silva? At left-back, the returning Ben Chilwell hopes to keep £60m signing Marc Cucurella out of the team after he lost his place to academy star Lewis Hall.Fernandez joins a midfield cast that includes Mateo Kovacic, Conor Gallagher, Denis Zakaria, Mason Mount and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, with N’Golo Kante set to return from injury in around a month.

The attack is even more competitive. Joao Felix, Mykhailo Mudryk, Noni Madueke and David Datro Fofana joined last month, leaving Potter with 12 forwards to choose from for just four positions in his preferred 4-2-3-1 system.

Raheem Sterling, Christian Pulisic and Mudryk all want to play off the left, while Felix competes with Mount and Kai Havertz. Potter does not fancy Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, leaving him still short of a trusted striker.

It is a tricky balancing act for Potter, who also has to integrate an unhappy Hakim Ziyech back into the squad after his loan move to Paris Saint-Germain collapsed.

Another issue for Chelsea is they can register only three new players for the knockout stage of the Champions League. Clubs have to inform UEFA of their desired squad changes by 11pm tonight, and three of Fernandez, Mudryk, Felix, Badiashile, Datro Fofana and Madueke will be omitted and unable to face Borussia Dortmund in the last 16.

Ensuring a harmonious dressing room could come down to experienced players, and Roman Abramovich’s old guard, to steady the ship before likely being thrown off it in the summer.

It promises to be a challenging period for Potter, whose Master’s degree in leadership and emotional intelligence is set to be put to good use.

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