With the transfer window in the major leagues across the major European leagues coming to a close soon, summer transfer deadline day promises to be both frantic and frenetic.
Chelsea and Arsenal have had contrasting starts to the season. The Blues have a maximum 9 points from 3 games, while Arsenal struggled in their first game against Liverpool. They had just a point to show for their efforts in the game against the defending champions, Leicester City. Eventually, a win over Watford granted them their first 3 points of the season.
With defenders Gabriel Paulista (6 weeks) and Per Mertesacker (5 months) out with injuries, Arsenal have begun the season with a defensive crisis. Laurent Koscielny is not fully fit after exertions at the European championships; even though he was rushed back against Leicester City. Rob Holding and Callum Chambers are seen as ones for the future.
Chelsea started the season with only 4 senior defenders, and one young full back in Ola Aina. Michael Hector has been sent out on loan and Matt Maizga will soon follow, while Kurt Zouma is still recovering from the ACL injury suffered last season.
Both teams need to sign defenders urgently to improve their backlines. Here are 5 defenders each of these teams could sign before the English transfer window closes.
He has been linked with Chelsea all summer, and one wonders just what Napoli want to let him leave the club. Measuring a whooping 6ft 5, Koulibaly seems almost tailor made for the premier league. The Napoli centre-back combines no-nonsense physicality with trademark diagonal passes. He is dominant in the air, athletic and is a threat at set pieces. At the age of 25 he could prove to be a very wise long-term investment. One wonders though if Napoli would let him go, even if they are able to get another defender in.
Reports claim Milan have rejected an approach from Chelsea for the young defender. One of the most promising young defenders in the Serie A, he already has top flight experience having represented Sampdoria, AS Roma and AC Milan. He made up to 34 appearances for the Rossoneri last season. He can operate as a left-sided centre back and can also play at left back. He will add depth to that Chelsea backline. At the age of 21 he could go on to become a very important for the Italian national side. (“Alessio is like Alessandro Nesta, but more technical” – Sinisa Mihajlovic).
If Chelsea want to go all splash the cash to get the ‘perfect’ centre back, then Bonucci will be the ideal candidate. At the experienced age of 29 and having played under current manager, Antonio Conte with Juventus and the Italian national team, he will be a good fit alongside John terry or Gary Cahill. There is a dearth of top quality centre halves in the game at the moment, but Bonucci is one of the best around. He will be a wonderful addition to the Chelsea squad and quite the upgrade.
Branislav Ivanovic’s days as Chelsea’s first choice right back are numbered. This is where Florenzi comes in. A full Italy international who can play on either flank as a full back or a wing back. At 25 he can make the position his own for years. He helps the attack when necessary and is also capable of scoring wonder goals. Barcelona can definitely attest to that.
Maksimovic is a Serbian professional footballer who plays as a centre back for Torino. He has been linked with Napoli throughout the transfer window as a replacement for the much sought after Koulibaly. Conte could decide to leave both Koulibaly and Napoli alone and go for his touted replacement in Maksimovic. The Serbian would provide a cheaper alternative to Conte’s preferred candidates.
Arsene’s number one central defensive target, Mustafi has been one of the few positives in a phony Valencia side. A World Cup winner, he is a good enough deputy for either Laurent Koscielny or Per Mertesacker. He can even come in to displace his fellow German.
The Frenchman is an experienced defender, and at 32 years of age can offer adequate cover to the Arsenal backline. He will also relish the prospect of regular first team football. This is as he seems bound to have limited game time at Barcelona this season with the arrival of Samuel Umtiti. All Arsenal’s central defenders are right footers, so Mathieu coming into that backline as a left-sided central defender will create an added balance. He can also play as a left back if required.
The Swiss international is well known to fellow country man and Gunner Granit Xhaka. He had a good European championship, scoring in the win against Albania. Schar won 3 consecutive Swiss Championships with Basel before moving to Hoffenheim. He will be a valuable player for Arsene Wenger, and is at a very good age of 24.
A member of the Portuguese team that won the European championships in France, Fonte will be a very good addition to Arsene Wenger’s team. He has proven PL experience and has been a key figure in the Southampton team. A cut-price option if Wenger decides to go for the 31-year old.
The A.S Roma player has been linked with the major European clubs this season. If he makes the move to England, he would finally get to play under a manager that wanted him when he was still at Olympiacos but baulked at the club’s asking price. Roma wouldn’t want to lose him though.
Article By: Amusa Timileyin “Professor”, @Timileyin__