Chelsea is desperate to bring a left wingback or fullback after the number of injuries to the squad. While there are options in the transfer market, the Blues are looking to recall Emerson Palmieri from his Lyon loan. Out of all options, this is one Thomas Tuchel and the board must avoid at all costs. If Emerson is the answer, the wrong question is being asked. The conversation of who to bring in and help the team in these moments of crisis is not an easy one to have. Chelsea is finding itself short staffed in wingback position and a decision needs to be made in January. Currently, the Blues only have Marcos Alonso to rely on. If Tuchel feels like taking a chance, Callum Hudson-Odoi could potentially play the part. However, these are not sustainable solutions if the team is to succeed and achieve the goals it set for itself this season.
The main question is, should Chelsea buy someone, bring someone in on loan or recall a player that is already out on loan? Buying is seemingly out of the equation as prices are hyper-inflated, and the January transfer window has never been kind to the Blues. Therefore, obtaining a player on loan seems like the most reasonable idea. This will help Chelsea in the short term, and if the player, whomever he may be, performs adequately, a permanent deal can be offered.
Chelsea shouldn’t recall Emerson from his season-long loan at Lyon
However, Chelsea is also looking into recalling Emerson from his loan at Lyon. Let’s be honest, on paper, this sounds ideal if Chelsea could work out the finances with the French side. But players are not judged on paper, and everyone has already seen what Emerson has to offer.
First, Emerson is more of an attacker than a defender. At Chelsea, Emerson played a peculiar role. He was either a left wingback or a left back in practice, but in both cases, he was more focused in attacking than defending. This hurt the team in more cases than not. The Italian international was found in the opposition’s half trying to pressure the opposition with no success. This caused him to leave the left side of the field open for attackers to exploit. Therefore, other players had to constantly cover for him, which, in turn, cost Chelsea its organizational structure.
Even if Emerson is more of an “attack-minded” player, his stats do not speak highly of him. While on loan this season in League 1, Emerson has managed 16 appearances with one goal and one assist. While in the Europa League, only three appearances with no goals nor assists. These numbers serve as a good indication of why he is not the right man for the job.
Moreover, in Tuchel’s system, wingback is a very demanding role. Whoever occupies the position must provide as much support attacking as he would defending. When it comes to the attack, it is not only about scoring goals or assists, but also being the extra body and provide support to midfielders and attackers. While Emerson can be that person, he isn’t reliable enough to make the necessary runs, much less the calculated risks.
However, the most important aspect is the defense. Since Ben Chilwell’s injury, along with other misfortunes, the Blues have been conceding more than they should. Therefore, it is imperative that Chelsea finds someone more defensive. In this case, speed is not everything; positional awareness is key in any system, but even more so in Tuchel’s style of play. These are all qualities Emerson lacks, and thereby, would make him a liability rather than an asset. Overall, Chelsea must keep Emerson on loan and find other temporary alternatives.
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