Thomas Tuchel has hinted at a future Trevoh Chalobah position change in his Arsenal’s pre-match press conference as the Blues continue to pursue Sevilla’s Jules Kounde.
Chalobah, 23, has been the west Londoners’ surprise package so far in this new term, performing magnificently in pre-season and in the Super Cup.
His heroic efforts at the back were then rounded off with a brilliant Premier League debut goal against Crystal Palace, and that showing in the London derby may have changed Thomas Tuchel’s mind when it comes to the defender’s immediate future.
It has already been revealed that the 23-year-old is in line for a new contract, as the German now sees Nathaniel’s brother as a credible and vital part of his squad set up as the Blues plot a title challenge.
In spite of Chelsea’s continuation of trying to prise away Sevilla’s Kounde this summer, this will now not affect the decision on which club Chalaboh could end up at come August 31.
However, the 22-year-old’s possible arrival to the capital could force a rethink into how the Champions League winning manager could consistently use the current defender throughout the season, with an abundance of centre-half options to choose from if the Kounde deal goes through.
In his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon, the candidate for the UEFA Men’s Coach of the year award revealed to the media what he has in mind for the Chelsea academy graduate.
“Yes, we know this. For us, so far, he has only played in the back three,” Tuchel said. “Right now, I say these three positions are the most where he can achieve in high-level football. But it is only my opinion after six, seven weeks so there’s enough room to convince me that he is maybe even a solution for us as the fourth midfielder.
“We may try it one time. There’s some stuff to improve on this level when the game is so tight and you need to open spaces so quickly. It is a big difference to play in midfield in the Premier League or in a smaller team in France where you can rely on ball wins and transition game, with all respect.
“We also play a possession game where we need to find creative solutions. Hopefully, we don’t need to try it because it would mean that our top three games are in shape and healthy. But we have had a talk with it on the pitch with the staff, because we saw him doing a good ball possession exercise in the middle of the pitch with the staff.
“I asked the same question to the staff if he could be our number four solution, we need time to figure that out, now is not the time to confuse him and try too many roles. He has settled into the back three and he has learned what it takes to play in this position tactically, the behaviour of the game and now he needs to learn what it takes to be a professional for Chelsea.
“He has big role models on his side, top players so it is step by step. Maybe in time, we will put him in midfield when all the other processes are done.”
Chalobah’s experience of playing in midfield during his respective loan spells at Huddersfield Town and most recently Lorient could come in handy if Marina Granovskaia is unable to secure another middle-of-the-park specialist before the transfer deadline.
Currently, Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez and Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni are the two names being mulled over by the Blues hierarchy ahead of a possible last-minute move in the window.
Regardless of what happens, the 23-year-old’s versatility could see him playing a James Milner type role for the west London club this season – particularly if N’Golo Kante’s injury problems persist.