Ben Chilwell looks set to complete a transfer that will take him from Leicester City to Chelsea for a reported fee of £50million. Reports suggest that Chelsea will wait until Emerson is offloaded before officially announcing their new signing, but the deal is effectively done as they have seemingly beaten Manchester City to get the England international's signature.
The 23-year-old left-back came through Leicester's youth academy, and has spent all but one season with the club. That was the 2015/16 campaign, when he played for Huddersfield Town on loan and made eight appearances. His Leicester career has seen him play 101 times for the club in the Premier League and Champions League, and his return shows four goals and nine assists. He has also made 11 appearances for the English National Team.
Now, a move to Chelsea beckons, so let's take a look at how he will fit into Frank Lampard's system.
Chilwell is one of the many young attack-minded left-backs, and because of that he can also operate as a wing-back or on the left of midfield. Primarily, however, he plays on the left of a back-four. The Englishman likes to dribble and gets forward to provide crosses whenever he can, but is rather reserved when it comes to defending.
Being an attack-minded full-back, Chilwell is quite good at bombing forward, and his acceleration supports that. He's got some good speed too, and has clocked up 34.7 km/h in this season's Premier League. His passing is quite good as well; he has averaged 61.3 passes, 2 long balls and 1.3 key passes per match this season.
All of these strengths were on full display in the 0-9 destruction of Southampton. He finished the match with 131 touches, 91 passes, 6 key passes, 2 assists and a goal.
Here, he bursts forward using his pace to receive this pass, and then gets past one man through sheer pace to reach the byline.
From there, he delivers the perfect looping cross for Jamie Vardy in a pocket of space between four defenders, enabling the striker to power his header home.
Pace, power, and precision, that's what Chilwell brings to the table.
While Chilwell is very good in attack, his defending could use some improvement. 2 clearances per game is a respectable figure, but only 1.6 tackles and 1 interception per match is not good enough for a defender. In that sense, his positioning and one-on-one ability isn't too good. The full-back isn't too great at protecting possession either, as he gets dispossessed nearly once every match and also has 1.9 unsuccessful controls in the same time.
The 23-year-old didn't have a great day in the 3-1 loss to Manchester City, as Riyad Mahrez tormented him.
In this situation, Chilwell is facing Mahrez one-on-one. Instead of standing his ground, he opts to defend the outside, but forgets all about the space available on the inside. The attacker is allowed to freely run into it, and unleashes a left-footed effort to find the back of the net.
Being a left-back, Chilwell needs to sharpen his defensive skills a bit more to become a more complete package.
Role at Chelsea
It's quite obvious - Chilwell is being brought in to become the first-choice left-back at Chelsea.
This season, Frank Lampard has struggled to find player who he is comfortable with on the left of defence. Emerson (who is reportedly set to leave), César Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso have all been deployed there - getting 11, 10 and nine Premier League outings respectively, but all of them have failed to impress their boss.
Lampard had made it clear that he would be looking for a left-back in the summer transfer window, and Chilwell has been a high priority on his wish-list. It's justified too - Chelsea were looking for more attacking input from their full-backs this season, and the Englishman provides just that.
This transfer makes complete sense; Chelsea get a much-needed top-quality full-back, while Chilwell gets to take a step up to a bigger club. Leicester fans need not worry though, as they have a young academy graduate by the name of Luke Thomas in their ranks who can slot into the left-back role. The 19-year-old looked impressive in his three Premier League appearances, so let's see if he can follow Chilwell's path to success.
Meanwhile, this gives Chelsea and their supporters yet more reason to be excited about the upcoming campaign, as Chilwell will join a host of other new signings including Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner. Frank Lampard will also be happy that the board is listening to his requirements and fulfilling them, so that's another positive for the club. With a Champions League spot and fresh players, things are starting to look good for the Blues.
Stats courtesy WhoScored.com