Chelsea's £20m signing could thrive in Enzo Maresca's midfield plans

Chelsea FC v Manchester United - Premier League
Chelsea FC v Manchester United - Premier League / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

As Chelsea prepares for the upcoming season, the club's midfield conundrum might have a solution in the form of 20-year-old Carney Chukwuemeka. The young midfielder, who joined Chelsea from Aston Villa in August 2022 for £20 million, could be the key player new manager Enzo Maresca needs to complete his dream midfield without spending additional funds on transfers.

Maresca, known for his preference for a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 formation, faces the challenge of selecting the ideal midfield trio. While Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo are expected to secure starting positions, the third spot in a potential 4-3-3 setup remains up for grabs. This is where Chukwuemeka comes into the picture.

Despite limited appearances due to a knee injury, Chukwuemeka showed promise, scoring his first goal for the club against West Ham in the second game of the previous season. He also provided an assist against Liverpool in the FA Cup, showcasing his potential to contribute to the team's success.

Chukwuemeka's playing style combines creativity with physical prowess, making him an ideal candidate for the left No.8 role in Maresca's system. The Villa academy graduate sees himself as most effective in a box-to-box No.8 position, where he can showcase his powerful running and dribbling skills. His ability to link play and his technical proficiency add depth to his game, making him a versatile option for the Chelsea midfield.

Teammate Noni Madueke has high praise for Chukwuemeka, describing him as a formidable opponent for defences when at full fitness. Expressing his excitement for Chukwuemeka's potential impact on the team, Madueke stated,

"When he's fully fit, he's a problem for teams. So I can't wait until next season for him to be fit from the start of the season and just show everyone what he can do."

The upcoming pre-season presents a golden opportunity for Chukwuemeka to prove his worth. With several key midfielders away on international duty, he is likely to feature prominently in Chelsea's friendly matches, including the first pre-season game against Wrexham on 25 July.

A strong performance during this period could see Chukwuemeka secure a starting position for the Premier League opener against Manchester City on 18 August.

Under Maresca's guidance, Chukwuemeka has the potential to flourish alongside Caicedo and Fernandez in the Chelsea midfield. His unique skill set and the backing of his teammates suggest that he might be the final piece in Maresca's midfield masterplan, proving that sometimes the best solutions are already within the club's ranks.

Chukwuemeka's emergence could provide an unexpected boost to the team. The young midfielder's development and potential impact on the squad will be closely watched by fans and pundits alike, as he aims to cement his place in Chelsea's starting lineup and contribute to the club's success in the upcoming season.