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Left-wing, deep-lying playmaker, no.10… How Chelsea could use Philippe Coutinho if they sign the versatile Barcelona forward

Chelsea look set to bolster their attacking options this summer and one name which keeps cropping up is Philippe Coutinho.

It appears certain the Brazilian will leave Barcelona for good in the coming months and his next destination is a constant source of speculation.

Coutinho is thought to be keen on a return to the Premier League
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The former Liverpool midfielder failed to justify his £142million price tag during 18 months at the Nou Camp before the Catalans shipped him off to Bayern Munich on loan last summer.

Despite eight goals and six assists in the Bundesliga, the German giants are not prepared to make Coutinho’s move permanent.

While the 27-year-old’s career has veered off track in the last two years, his Premier League exploits remain fresh in the memory.

Most top-flight clubs in England would jump at the chance to sign him and it’s no wonder Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea are all linked.

According to Spanish publication Sport, the Blues have stolen a march on their rivals by speaking to Coutinho’s representatives.

Frank Lampard’s men have lacked that star quality in attack this season following the loss of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid.

They have already moved to fill their creative void by agreeing to sign Hakim Ziyech from Ajax for £35m this summer – and Coutinho is expected to cost around £80m.

So, with the prospect of a new-look Chelsea in attack next season, analyses how Lampard could utilise Coutinho.

Coutinho’s Barcelona days appear to be numbered
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4-3-3 (left-wing)

It’s the position he’s probably played most in his career – the wrong-sided winger on the left of a front three.

That’s where Coutinho is most likely to grab you a goal. How many times have we seen him cut in from the left and curl one into the top corner?

With Pedro and Willian likely to leave Chelsea when their contracts expire this summer, it seems most likely Coutinho would be deployed as a winger.

However, Coutinho is versatile. The Blues already have Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi, and perhaps the Brazilian could be used elsewhere…

4-2-3-1 (no.10)

The no.10 role is dying in the Premier League and across Europe.

There’s less and less space for your ‘luxury’ players like David Silva or Cesc Fabregas, whose only job is to create.

The increasingly physical nature of the modern game has seen technically gifted players replaced with midfield engine rooms. Take a look at Liverpool, for example.

However, even though this move towards physicality has seen Coutinho pushed out to the left, he has always been a no.10 at heart. It’s where he does his best creative work.

Lampard would probably have to sacrifice some defensive stability to allow for the extra man in attack, but it could be worth it.

4-3-3 (no.8)

The last time Coutinho was performing at the very highest level was probably right at the end of his Liverpool career.

Mohamed Salah’s arrival saw the Brazilian pushed back into a traditional no.8 role.

His job was to drive the team forward and provide creativity from a deeper position, sort of like Kevin de Bruyne at Manchester City.

Coutinho provided the perfect supply line to Liverpool’s front three and it was a tactical move which reaped great rewards for Jurgen Klopp.

However, Chelsea do not lack talent in midfield, with Mateo Kovacic and Mason Mount among their star performers this season, while N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek should be fully fit when football resumes.

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