How Chelsea can fix their left back issues this summerby Siddharth Bharani-Dharan
Chelsea has had issues at left back this past season. The club has multiple realistic options to fix it, but it is all up to which path management wants take.
The Blues have had their issues at left back this season. They have many options to make sure their issues do not persist. For instance, Chelsea could keep Cesar Azpilicueta at left back and get a centerback to provide some inside insurance. The Blues could also loan out Emerson or Marcos Alonso. Further, they can simply transfer in a top-tier left back.
Option 1: Provide Azplicueta a center back as insurance
Azpilicueta has had a rough season when playing left back. Alonso and Emerson have not been playing to expectations. Azpilicueta has had a tough transition to left back, but it was necessary as Chelsea’s left backs have been disappointing. Reece James’ emergence has really helped out the defense. The captain would need some insurance at the left centerback.
Azpilicueta can continue to play left back if the Blues have a solid centerback who can back him up. If the Blues did not want to spend any money, the best option is Antonio Rudiger. He is Chelsea’s best center back and he has the qualities of a player who can back up Azpilicueta. Rudiger is big, strong and relatively fast. He is considered one of the top centerbacks in the Premier League.
The men in blue also have the option to buy another centerback, someone preferably similar to Rudiger. Kalidou Koulibaly has been a target of Chelsea for years and he has turned into one of the world’s top centerbacks. His value has skyrocketed and the Blues have the money to bid for him. Napoli set a price that can be met by many other teams, so getting Koulibaly to the Bridge is going to be difficult.
Another player to back up the captain is Liverpool’s Joe Gomez. He has not been getting as many starts as he would like as Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip have been getting most of the starts. Gomez is another big, strong and fast center back who would help Azpilicueta. Rumor has it Gomez could force his way out of Anfield for more playing time. Chelsea would be a good fit. A bid of £50 million would be enough to transfer Gomez from Liverpool to London.
Option 2: Loan out Marcos Alonso and/or Emerson
Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri have not played up to Frank Lampard’s expectations. Their string of poor performances has led to Azpilicueta being forced to play left back. Although the two have been linked to permanent moves away from west London, a loan might be a better option.
A possible Emerson for Alex Sandro swap deal with Juventus can give both teams their target. Sandro has been a target for Chelsea for years. The deal could start off as a loan and both teams have the option to buy. It would be a year-and-a-half loan deal where if it were to happen this summer, the option to buy can be looked at in the winter of 2022.
With Alonso, Inter Milan seems like a good fit. This can be a one-year loan deal with no option to buy. Based on his performance, the Blues can bring him back in the summer of 2021. If it were to be a loan-swap deal, Ashley Young would be a potential suitor to send Chelsea’s way.
Although Young is much older than Alonso, he can still put in consistent solid performances. The Inter Milan player is very good at crosses, through balls and free kicks. Young could be a short-term solution to Chelsea’s left back problems.
Option 3: Directly transfer in a left back
Chelsea has the money to go out on the transfer market and get a world class left back. There have been many players who have been linked to Chelsea. David Alaba, Alex Sandro, Alex Telles and Ben Chilwell have all been linked to permanent transfers to Stamford Bridge. All of them have fallen out of proportion and are looking for new teams. Chelsea is in real need of a true left back, someone who can come in and make an immediate impact.
With David Alaba likely to lose out his job to breakout star Alphonso Davies, Chelsea is looking to make a shock transfer bid. In addition, Sandro is nearing an exit from Juventus and they have their sights set on Emerson. A permanent Emerson for Sandro swap deal is possible. Emerson is wanted by former Blues manager Maurizio Sarri.
Furthermore, Chelsea has recently re-entered the race for Telles. The Porto left back has an agent who is very well known to Chelsea. He also is close friends with the Blues current No. 10, Willian. The Brazilian’s influence could draw Telles to the Bridge.
Chilwell has also been sought after by Chelsea for quite some time. The Blues would be willing to pay more than other clubs as left back is a pressing need. On Chelsea’s list of left back targets, Chilwell is at the top.
Chelsea has multiple options to fix its issues at left back. The club can provide Azpilicueta some insurance with a new center back, Alonso and Emerson can be loaned out or they can bring in a new left back. It will be too difficult to predict which direction Chelsea will go, but whichever one it takes is going to bolster the defense.
Which is Chelsea’s best option? Let us know in the comments and on Twitter!