Todd Boehly can use Edouard Mendy Chelsea success to secure £10m Thomas Tuchel wildcard

One of the biggest frustrations of the 2021/22 season for Thomas Tuchel was the lack of adequate cover on the wing as both Ben Chilwell and Reece James fell injured.

In a short period of fitness, starting between October and November, Chelsea flowed brilliantly, knocking opponents aside and overpowering the defence, thanks in part to the movement of the fullbacks.

When both went down and Tuchel had to use Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta instead, the pace of fitting and quality of service dropped. Solving that problem this summer will be crucial, especially if Tuchel wants to continue using fullbacks.

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There are internal options that Tuchel could promote to Dujon Sterling, if he returns from a prolific loan at Blackpool, or Ian Maatsen on loan at Coventry.

Looking at the market, however, an interesting target has emerged. The Blues have scouted 29-year-old Jonathan Clauss from Lens. Initial contact has been made regarding his arrival this summer, as reported by Goal, with Todd Boehly taking over as interim sporting director.

Chelsea have recently had success buying Ligue 1, most proven by Edouard Mendy, who came in for £22 million and immediately upgraded a vital squad position. Mendy is also a brilliant outlier in the club’s recent dealings as a player who has cost less but delivered great value.

Apparently Chelsea watched his last 50 games and identified him as a target shortly after Tuchel was appointed in 2021. The advantage for Clauss is his price, at around £10million, Chelsea wouldn’t spend too much on what would be considered a rotation option, and you’d bring in a player who has proved quite prolific in one of Europe’s top leagues.

Clauss had the most goals for a defender in the top five leagues, scoring five goals and scoring 11 notable assists.

After being called up to the French national team recently, Clauss played as a right-back with Jules Koude, a player who could become a Chelsea team-mate before the end of this transfer window if both players sign.

It’s understandable to see why Tuchel likes what Clauss can bring into his current system. At Lens he played as a right back in a 3-4-2-1 formation. He takes many positions that you would see James taking in attack build-up. Clauss, however, shoots down the wing more regularly before hitting a cross close to the byline, compared to James, whose crosses sometimes come deeper from more interior areas outside the box.



Clauss spent much of his time in wide-right territory for Lens as a fullback.
Clauss spent much of his time in wide-right territory for Lens as a fullback.



Much of Clauss' creativity comes from crossings, last season 5.48 per 90.
Much of Clauss’ creativity comes from crossings, last season 5.48 per 90.

It’s also fair to say that, in terms of skill and flexibility, James easily overshadows Clauss here, but the task of finding another Reece is next to impossible and would cost you a huge fee to do so.

A brief rundown of Clauss compared to Tuchel’s main fullbacks last season, apart from the rare occasions when we saw Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Christian Pulisic or Callum Hudson-Odoi play there, shows his frequent crossing rate.

Attempted 5.48 crosses per 90 last season, with the next closest to James at 3.48. In terms of aerial duels per 90, he is 0.98 below all James, Chilwell, Alonso and Azpilicueta. If you compare that to Sterling, the Cobham graduate has won 2.9 aerial duels by 47 percent.



Evidence of Clauss cutting right in and combining with his attacking colleagues before getting a left cross.
Evidence of Clauss cutting right in and combining with his attacking colleagues before getting a left cross.

Furthermore, compared to James, the player he would compete with, Clauss has a higher defending success rate per 90 from 8.68 to 7.65. Although James easily beats him in defensive duels, they won by 71 percent compared to the Frenchman’s 57 percent.

At £10million and the potential for him to act as a low-risk, high-quality backup to James, there is some logic in this deal, curtailed only by his age of 29 and the risk that Sterling could lead the way to the first team blocks . With a shorter-term contract, the France international could somewhat solve the profile problem Tuchel faced last year.

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