You must know it by now, Raul Meireles is officially a Fenerbahce player. The Portuguese player who was brought in for 12 million pounds last summer has now been sold for 8 million pounds to the Turkish club. While I was no great fan of his, I admit he made a rather solid overall squad player, providing cover for virtually every position in midfield (though he was a liability anytime he was tried as lone holding midfielder).
I for one am not devastated by any means by his departure, though I’m surprised he was sold, Essien was loaned out, while the single summer reinforcement in midfield was Oscar. This move means one of 2 things: either RDM is planning on a change in formation, or he plans on molding Oscar into a deep lying midfielder. Let’s look at both options.
With the current squad, the blues could easily revert back to the 4-3-3 formation. While AVB didn’t have the personnel to efficiently play that system last season, RDM now does. With Mikel holding deepest in midfield, Oscar/Lampard playing LM and Ramires playing RM, Chelsea would have a sweeper in front of the back 4, a playmaker capable of breaking up play with intelligent positioning and launching attacks from deep positions, and a box to box midfielder recovering the ball and surging into the opposition’s half at lightning speed. Mata and Hazard would interchange positions, playing narrowly behind Torres. In such a system, width would be provided by either the full-backs or wide forwards such as Marin and Moses.
On the other hand, If RDM kept on with the 4-2-3-1 formation, you should expect to see a rotation between Lampard and Oscar alongside Mikel in the double-pivot position. Lampard has shown towards the end of last season he can do the job there, but he is at a stage where he can’t give stellar performances week-in and week-out. Alternating him with Oscar in that position would help him deliver more consistent performances. Oscar would need to get used to this new position, but watching him playing for Brazil, one can tell he enjoys dropping deep in midfield to collect the ball from the back 4, and press the opposition to recover the ball. These are essential skills to the double-pivot system.
We’ve also seen RDM experiment quite a bit with the 4-1-4-1 formation during pre-season, and it’s very well possible that he may decide to play this going forward. The advantage with this formation is that it can easily morph into a 4-2-3-1 when the team is not in possession, thus providing more defensive cover.
I guess we’ll find out in the next coming weeks, and once again, I can’t wait!
Fellow fans, what’s your take on this?