Player Profile: Tyler Adams
Analysing the American midfielder ahead of his proposed move to Stamford Bridge.
With the beginning of the 23/24 Premier League campaign drawing nearer, and Chelsea’s midfield depth still looking thin, the Blues have turned to Leeds United’s Tyler Adams. Following the Yorkshire club’s relegation, many of the Whites’ key players have left the club, either through relegation loan clauses or ‘cheap’ release clauses as they return to the Championship. Adams looks destined to be one of such players, having a release clause rumoured to be in the region of £20m, which Chelsea look set to cash in on.
So, How does Adams play?
Adams is an intelligent ball-winner, who is certainly also a competent distributor of the ball from deep, particularly with long diagonal passes. His tackling technique is admirable, more so calculated and proactive rather than having to react to a situation due to poor timing. He rarely has to dive or slide into tackles due to his positioning and awareness, and as such his tackling is often clean, allowing either himself or a teammate to gain possession of the ball and progress forward.
In terms of the data, which is believed to be the driving force behind Chelsea’s pursuit of the midfielder, his metrics (particularly defensively) are certainly impressive. As per fbref.com, Tyler ranks in the 99th and 97th percentile for tackles and blocks per 90 over the last year, while also placing in the 84th percentile for interceptions. This highlights his superb defensive capabilities, as well as his intelligence and positional awareness to be a constant defensive presence in order to consistently cut out opposition attacks, even in a struggling Leeds side.
In regards to his passing, the American still boasts solid numbers, which should be taken with a pinch of salt. Leeds had an average possession of 47% across the 22/23 season, and as such Tyler ranks in the 70th percentile for for passes attempted per 90. In addition to this, he only places in the 51st percentile for passing accuracy per 90, even then with a solid 82.4%. It would be expected that playing for a more possession-based team and with greater quality surrounding him, these numbers would see a more fair reflection with a larger sample size.
Should Chelsea really be looking to sign Adams?
It should come with no surprise that with what Adams can offer Chelsea, the midfielder working with Pochettino could be a match made in heaven. Aside from his technical attributes, his physicals and overall intensity should go hand in hand with the philosophy of the Argentine manager, hailing from the Red Bull football school of thought which stems back to Ralf Rangnick (who is also notably the “father of gegenpressing”). The intense pressing style of Red Bull football bodes well with Pochettino’s style, coming from the equally intense Bielsa school of thought, with the Argentine notoriously transforming under-performing teams like Southampton and Tottenham into teams able to cover distance better than most.
Adams would provide a solid partnership with Enzo Fernandez, through his ability to hold position and do the majority of the defensive work in the middle of the park, freeing Enzo of most of his defensive responsibilities and allowing him to display the best of his attacking qualities. He would likely form the base of a box midfield with the Argentine, which Poch has implemented since the start of his spell, but could also provide cover at fullback due to his versatility, and the injury issues surrounding James and Gusto. While he is not an alternative to Moises Caicedo, he is certainly a more cost-effective option as opposed to Romeo Lavia, who the Saints are holding onto at their valuation of £50m.
From what we have seen of a lot of the club’s touted transfer targets, Poch certainly seems to desire experienced players, and Adams definitely fits the bill, racking up 191 total appearances already by the age of 24, garnering experience in a multitude of footballing cultures ranging from the US, to Germany, and to England. He also has distinct leadership qualities, captaining the USMNT, and someone that will hold those around him (and himself) accountable to the high standards he sets himself, something needed in a youthful side brimming with potential.
Overall, given the qualities the Wappinger-born midfielder can provide Chelsea, and the holes in west London that currently need filling, this is a logical deal that makes sense for all parties involved.