Chelsea have been linked to a loan deal for Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho and his statistics show why he can be a good addition for Frank Lampard’s side.
There have been arguments regarding Chelsea’s reported interest in the 27-year-old.
Former Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf struggled to see what Coutinho bring to Chelsea.
He told ESPN FC: “I would have lots of question marks seeing him coming to Chelsea, to bring what?
“We have young players, very talented, who are very promising. We have good midfield players with [Mateo] Kovacic and Jorginho, to organise the game.”
Leboeuf has had a fair point there. In a 4-3-3 which is the go-to formation for Lampard, it is quite difficult to find a position where Coutinho would thrive.
Although he occasionally plays on the flanks, Coutinho is naturally a number 10, just behind a striker.
From 29 Premier League games this season, Lampard has deployed a 4-3-3 formation 15 times. But he has also used 4-2-3-1 (eight times) and 3-4-2-1 (six times) (Whoscored) and Coutinho would fit these two systems.
A threat from distance
One of Lampard’s stumbling blocks this season is when facing teams who sit deep.
Chelsea have been reliant on Tammy Abraham as the goalscorer and the young striker thrives inside the penalty area.
Chelsea understandably have often recycled possession in bids to get into opponents’ 18-yard box but the opposing teams can simply throw more bodies in front of their goal.
While having a respectable seven goals from outside the box in the league this season, Chelsea have not really been threatening from distance. Having N’Golo Kante as their top scorer from outside the box says it all.
Coutinho can offer this particular threat from distance.
Philippe Coutinho is one of eight players to score 10+ goals from outside the box in Europe's top five leagues since 2017/18.
Lionel Messi, of course, has bonkers numbers. 🤪 pic.twitter.com/pnxVWMJDC2
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 20, 2020
With someone who can score those screamers, Chelsea can lure defenders out of the box to close down shooting-position and it creates spaces for Tammy or other wingers in the box.
Also a loan deal would put Chelsea in a safe position with the option to send Coutinho back to Barcelona if it doesn’t work out.