October 22, 2021

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Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho transfers to give Thomas Tuchel exactly what he wants at Chelsea

Before facing Liverpool at Anfield in March, Thomas Tuchel was asked why he opted to select Timo Werner in his starting eleven.

“Speed, speed, speed,” he said. “Speed against the high line. If we had expected the game to be deeper, then we’d have gone with Giroud. But against a high line, we need speed.”

It was ominous how the Blues would exploit the defensive game of the Reds without Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, and it worked as the Stamford Bridge side picked up a 1-0 win thanks to a Mason Mount goal.

Chelsea have a variety of options in attack and speed is clearly valued by Tuchel, with Christian Pulisic also ticking the pace box in the offensive department.

Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic could be joined by two new speedsters at Chels

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Before facing Liverpool at Anfield in March, Thomas Tuchel was asked why he opted to select Timo Werner in his starting eleven.

“Speed, speed, speed,” he said. “Speed against the high line. If we had expected the game to be deeper, then we’d have gone with Giroud. But against a high line, we need speed.”

It was ominous how the Blues would exploit the defensive game of the Reds without Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, and it worked as the Stamford Bridge side picked up a 1-0 win thanks to a Mason Mount goal.

Chelsea have a variety of options in attack and speed is clearly valued by Tuchel, with Christian Pulisic also ticking the pace box in the offensive department

The club have been linked with moves for more attacking players this summer, including the likes of Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland, both of whom fit the mobility mould.

Unlike many other leagues, the German top-flight collects publicly available data regarding the physical capacity of players, with distance covered, top speed, number of sprints and number of intense runs recorded.

The popular players in the division have been plotted on the graph below to capture the top performers, with Sancho showing up as one of the most active when it comes to combining sprints with intensive runs on a per-90 basis.

Haaland doesn’t make anywhere near the same number of intensive runs as Sancho given his role as a striker, but he’s a keen sprinter and his top speed ranks as the second-best in the whole of the Bundesliga.

According to the figures, the Borussia Dortmund star reached a top speed of 36 kilometres per hour this season, ranking him behind only Jeremiah St. Juste of Mainz 05, who isn’t plotted on the graph but reached 36.1 kilometres per hour.

Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies placed in third with a top speed of 35.97 kilometres per hour, with Sancho placing much lower, although it is worth noting that few players manage to actually reach their fastest pace during matches.

It could be argued that Tuchel already has the necessary running ability at his disposal given the presences of Werner and Pulisic but on the other hand, such a dangerous quality is likely to be welcomed in abundance.

If Chelsea get what they want in the transfer market, they could ultimately rise to a new physical level.