Chelsea were one of the Premier League's busiest shoppers on an otherwise humdrum transfer deadline day, ending their summer-long pursuit of new defensive recruits by acquiring Marcos Alonso from Fiorentina and by re-signing David Luiz in a shock £34m ($45.2m) deal that has understandably split opinion.
Those moves took Chelsea's list of signings under Antonio Conte to five following the earlier arrivals of tireless midfielder N'Golo Kante, striker Michy Batshuayi and third-string goalkeeper Eduardo, while reports suggest that further business could be conducted after the window with experienced Uruguayan centre-back Martin Caceres possibly set to reunite with his former Juventus boss at Stamford Bridge after being released by the reigning Serie A champions at the end of his contract in June.
It remains to be seen at this stage if that particular rumour is anything other than paper talk, however. With that in mind, IBTimes UK assesses how the Alonso/Luiz deals could impact Conte's starting XI for Sunday's (11 September) trip to face Swansea City. Chelsea lost this fixture last term, with a first-half Gylfi Sigurdsson volley condemning Guus Hiddink to the first defeat of his second spell as interim boss.
GK: Thibaut Courtois
RB: Cesar Azpilicueta
CB: John Terry
CB: David Luiz
LB: Marcos Alonso
DM: N'Golo Kante
CM: Nemanja Matic
LW: Eden Hazard
ST: Diego Costa
Conte has already ruled out using the versatile but often comically erratic Luiz alongside Kante in midfield, stating yesterday: "I think David Luiz is a centre-back, he's played a lot of games in that position. I know sometimes he's played as a central midfielder but in my mind the idea is to utilise him in the right position which, for me, is centre-back."
Having mostly played 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 under Jose Mourinho, Chelsea have mainly experimented with 4-2-4/4-1-4-1 formations under Conte thus far. And while I largely concur with those that believe Luiz's return is a sign that the eccentric Italian will eventually turn to the 3-5-2 system he favoured with Siena, Juve and the Azzurri, a post-international break away fixture hardly seems like the ideal time to implement an entirely new defensive shape.
Rather, that seemingly inevitable change will likely come when he is satisfied that enough energy has been expended on the training field to perfect it. The eventual return of Kurt Zouma from his anterior cruciate ligament injury will aid in that respect. In the short term, I expect Luiz to come straight in at centre-back. While this prediction states that Gary Cahill will be the man to initially make way, John Terry's age and chronic lack of speed could easily count against him in a high line. Both men may rightly feel that their positions are now under threat.
Alonso may begin life at Chelsea as a substitute, but, in the event that he does start on the left of a four-man defence, it is easy to see the dependable Cesar Azpilicueta finally reverting to his natural position on the opposite side and Branislav Ivanovic dropping out altogether. The 32-year-old is still yet to recover from last season's ugly loss of form that saw his reputation as one of Europe's best right-backs take a pummelling.
Providing there are no new injury concerns, the rest of Conte's team should remain unchanged from the 3-0 win over Burnley. Kante will continue to cover every blade of grass in front of that defence, with Nemanja Matic slightly further forward alongside Oscar and flanked by Willian and Eden Hazard. Costa will surely lead the line having added to his two club goals in 2016/17 with a brace in Spain's 8-0 World Cup qualifying drubbing of minnows Liechtenstein, although Batshuayi provides a fine alternative and can easily be deployed alongside his rival in a rejigged 4-2-4 if Chelsea are chasing a goal.