Those rumours about German midfield star Toni Kroos joining Chelsea just won’t go away, will they? The latest reports from Spain suggest that the Blues have made him an offer he might find hard to refuse – £125,000 a week, or about 80 percent more than the Bayern Munich maestro is getting at the moment.
So let’s just put aside for a moment the implausibilities of Kroos moving to Chelsea – the unlikelihood of Bayern letting him out of their clutches, the near-certainty that Manchester United and Real Madrid will return with even better counter-offers, and so on – let’s just put those aside and consider what Kroos would bring to the club, and more importantly, where he would play.
Kroos is an incredible talent. As we have said before on this website, he’s a sublime passer of the ball and his ability to control the pace of the game and set up attacking play have made him the lynchpin of the Bayern side. His performances have ensured that the Munich side have hardly missed their injured talisman Bastian Schweinsteiger this season.
On the downside, he isn’t the most powerfully built footballer in the world, and his defensive prowess, or lack of it, has even been jokily remarked upon by his club manager Pep Guardiola.
So where would he fit in to a Jose Mourinho midfield? The first thing to point out is that he might have to learn how to defend and track back a bit more – but let’s assume that doesn’t become a problem. Next, we need to find a hole for him to fill. He could play ahead of Nemanja Matic, setting up play from behind the triumvirate of attacking midfielders in front of him – which would be the obvious position for him, if it weren’t set to be filled by Cesc Fabregas.
Could he, then, fit in that attacking midfield trio – between, say, Hazard and Willian or Oscar and Schurrle? That would be a distinct possibility but whether it suits the player’s qualities to the best extent is arguable. Kroos is not a goalscorer (he managed a meagre four last season for Bayern). Playing in and around the penalty area is not what he’s best at. Whichis not to say he can’t play well there, just that it is probably not the position he envisages himself in.
The other possibility is that Mourinho tweaks his system to a version of 4-3-3. Matic plays behind Fabregas and Kroos, while Hazard and Schurrle, say, play further up, wide of Costa. This would be a radical move away from the system Chelsea have adopted for the last couple of seasons, and it would seem an unlikely one. But Mourinho has used a formation like that in the past.
At the moment, this is all conjecture. Although Kroos and Munich appear to have reached impasse on a new contract, there are rumours that the player has decided to see out his contract (it has a year to run) and then join Real Madrid. But if you can’t do a bit of conjecturing during the off-season, when can you?