If Chelsea’s underwhelming title defence has proved anything, it’s that Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 formation was working on such a fine balance last season – the element of unpredictability and unfamiliarity it imposed upon their opponents, the surprising suitability of players who appeared to lack relevance in previous systems, and the emergence of players integral to the game-plan enjoying an uplift in consistency and form.
Victor Moses certainly falls into that category and while there have been bigger culprits behind the slump at Stamford Bridge this season, the failings of the current campaign have highlighted the difference between having a top-class option in the wing-back position compared to a makeshift one performing well. If Chelsea had upgraded on both flanks last summer, there might well be a greater competitiveness to them this season.
Of course, it remains to be seen if Antonio Conte will still be in charge in west London when 2018/19 comes around, and accordingly whether Chelsea will continue using a formation that so strongly contrasts with the four-man defensive setup otherwise used exclusively throughout the Roman Abramovich era. But should the Blues do so, a top-class option at right wing-back would go a long way – and Alessandro Florenzi of Roma remains amongst the most promising candidates.
The 27-year-old has history against Barcelona, famously netting a wonderstrike from his own half in 2015 that later earned a nomination for that year’s Puskas award, and added to it last night as Roma recorded an incredible 3-0 comeback win over the Catalans to progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
While Florenzi’s contributions this time weren’t quite as spectacular, he was a busy presence nonetheless, particularly going forward. Indeed, on a night when Roma needed to drastically elevate their firepower to overturn a 3-1 deficit, the Italy international created the most chances, three, and produced the most accurate crosses, four, of any Giallorossi player.
Compare that to Moses’ attacking input in the Premier League this season – from 23 appearances, there has been just one in which he’s created more than one chance, and one in which he’s applied more than one accurate cross.
Florenzi has often been seen as the next in line to become a one-club man at the Stadio Olimpico, following on from Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi. But that scenario doesn’t appear as concrete as it once did; the 26-cap international’s contract expires at the end of next season and with Corriere Dello Sport, via Mirror Football, recently reporting that he’d put off talks over a new deal, this summer is undoubtedly the time to convince Florenzi that the next chapter of his career should be elsewhere.
Valued at £22.5million by Transfermarkt, would you back a summer swoop for Florenzi? Let us know by voting below…