Being a much bigger fan of club football, than I am of international football, I’m excited after the end of one of the most dull Euros in a while, which came to a close with a relatively boring champion in Portugal- emotions aside of course.
The winners had scored a meager eight goals before the final and finished third in their group, after Iceland and Hungary- not the best of results. However, their progression saw a few of their main players thrust under the spotlight, and after last season’s disaster we are almost bound to have a busy transfer window, so we take a look at possible targets for us from the European Champions:
A familiar name to us Premier League fans. Fonte plays for local rivals Southampton, with whom he has spent the last six years. Fonte has been one of the cornerstones of a side that has been consistently one of the best in the league over the past few years. And while some would point to his age (he’s 32) as a hindrance, he still maintains relatively high fitness levels and is quite mobile compared to our other centre backs.
He’s also a leader on the pitch, has great passing and can be a great fallback option if we don’t sign Koulibaly or Bonnuci.
Another Southampton man, but a newer addition to their defensive fortress. Despite only being 24 years old, Cedric has quickly established himself as one of the best fullbacks in the PL. His many strong points when defending should not deceive though, as he is equally adept if not more, when supporting his attacking teammates.
He would be a brilliant signing for Chelsea if Azpilicueta was to leave, or if we are planning to continue playing him at left back. The Saints have shown they are ready to sell their players when the price is right and we could do much worse than Cedric if we signed a new right back this summer.
A man we probably should have signed a few years ago. Moutinho is quickly approaching the years of decline and would be probably be a bad signing after this window(so if last summer is to go by, we will sign him in 2-3 years) but he might be of big help to us right now. He could ease the creative burden off Fabregas if both played in a three-man midfield with a third, more defensive midfielder.
His passing ability and vision would enable us to dominate midfield more often against bigger sides, which was way too infrequent during Mourinho’s rein. Monaco were supposed to be the next big money team, but some of their players have suffered after the dramatic change of policy and transformation to a more Sevilla-type club, who will gladly sell players and replace them with younger ones and repeat the circle every now and then.
It is probably unlikely that we will make any move however, given that we don’t seem to be shopping for a passer this window, and instead exploring option of box-to-box players who can run a lot to aid the Conte revolution. So the prospect of having both Fabregas and Moutinho in midfield will probably remain a dream for us.
I know, I know. He’s already been snapped up by Bayern, for what could be a record breaking fee as well. But how good a signing would he have been? Sanches does not even turn 19 until August and is already one of the biggest names to watch out for in the next few years. He was virtually set for a Man United move before the Bavarians quickly came to the scene and swiftly swept him away. It did take them a fortune to do so however.
If Sanches meets all the add-on clauses in the deal, he would become the most expensive teenage footballer of all time, and that and only that is why we don’t have to regret losing out on him, because let’s face it, we cannot make such signings when we are in our worst situation in a decade or more. Chelsea are however, in desperate need of a similar player, who could win the ball, keep it well, add strength and steel to our midfield and provide the occasional penetration to opposition defences.
Our seemingly failed pursuit of Nainngolan is also another disappointment to our search commitee, so should we have tried to compete with Munich for Sanches? Probably not. But damn it, what if?
So no Sanches, no Pogba, will Loftus Cheek finally step up under Conte?
Lastly, we have probably the best fit for our team in the Portuguese squad.
With incredible capabilities and a name that brings fond memories to Chelsea fans, Carvalho would have fit our team so perfectly that I’m surprised even journalists who make up stories didn’t link us to him. The 24 year-old’s skill set has been direly needed last season. His ability to break up play so well and give the ball to the Hazards and Fabregas’ of the world is simply impeccable.
He could slot right next to Matic or push the Serbian further up the pitch in a three man midfield, or even replace him outright. He could also fill in at centre back until we have better options and his price tag would probably be much more encouraging as it was a couple of years ago. Sadly, we don’t seem to be going after him and if he goes to London, it would probably be to a fancy pretentious stadium called the Emirates.