It is looking increasingly likely that Chelsea will not sign a new left-back before the transfer deadline on Friday. The Blues have been linked with several left-sided defenders this month but it looks like they will have to wait until at least the summer.
Frank Lampard will have to make use of the players he currently has available to him and is growing increasingly frustrated with the Chelsea board’s lack of activity (Sun). He has three senior options available to him currently, each with strengths and flaws.
Marcos Alonso is the first. The Spanish left-back was one of Chelsea’s most important players in the title-winning campaign under Antonio Conte but is very much suited to a five at the back system. He often gets exposed in a defensive four and can get carried away going forward. However, the threat he poses from attacking set-pieces is not to be underestimated.
Cesar Azpilicueta is another player that has been used at left-back this season. He has been Lampard’s preferred choice in recent weeks, with Reece James occupying the right-back spot. The experienced defender is arguably the most reliable option but is also right-footed.
This limits his ability to put early crosses into the box and attack down the line at pace. He tends to cut inside onto his right, which is understandable, but also part of the reason Chelsea’s attack often lacks a cutting edge.
The final option, and the one Lampard should use for the remainder of the season, is Emerson Palmieri. The Italian has not performed well this season but is the most natural left-back in a four at the back system. He possesses pace going forward and can put a good delivery into the box, even if it is sometimes inconsistent.
He has shown his defensive frailties this season and has found it difficult to sustain a good period of form. The 25-year-old is the best option Lampard currently has, but a new left-back needs to be a summer priority.