Although much of the focus has been on the Chelsea attack, they have recently been linked with defenders Lewis Dunk and John Stones of Brighton and Manchester City as Frank Lampard is clearly looking to tighten a line of flight that has conceded 54 league goals last. season.
A deal for either center-back would likely cost Chelsea over £ 40million which could be a problem. While it doesn’t look like the Blues are strapped for cash this summer, they’ll have to pay a substantial transfer fee for top targets in other areas of the pitch.
Longtime targets Kai Havertz from Bayern Leverkusen and Ben Chilwell from Leicester City are expected to cost the Blues a combined fee of more than £ 180million.
Therefore, Chelsea can explore other avenues by targeting exciting center-backs who wouldn’t make a substantial drop in their transfer budgets.
With that in mind, who might they target? The players below have been spotted focusing on four key areas for a defender of a Lampard team.
The first two are basic defense measures – defensive duels won and aerial duels won. The three highlighted players posted success rates of over 62% in ground duels and 56% in aerial duels last season in their respective leagues and in European competition.
The last two crucial areas of focus are distribution, as Chelsea prefer a possession-based game that involves using defense to start off attacks with short passes. Each player presented himself as both frequent and precise passes from the defense ball.
Other factors taken into account were also age, valuation in the current market and minutes played last season.
Victor Nelsson – FC Copenhagen – 21
Nelsson only signed for Copenhagen last summer, but he was very impressive in his first year at Telia Parken. A consistent fit within defense, he has accumulated over 4,500 minutes of competition, proving imposing with and without the ball.
Obviously the Danish Superliga is substandard compared to the Premier League, however, he recently faced Manchester United in the Europa League and made an imposing display. He won 10/5 of his defensive duels, 3/3 of his aerial duels and succeeded 96% of his passing attempts.
His performances in the Europe League this season suggest he has what it takes to take the necessary step to succeed in the Premier League. Beyond that, he’s young with plenty of room to grow and wouldn’t charge hefty transfer fees.
Jerome Onguene – RB Salzburg – 22
The RB production line is almost unmatched in world football. Salzburg, affiliates of Werner’s former club RB Leipzig, are responsible for bringing a host of top talent across Europe, including names such as Erling Haaland, Sadio Mane and Joshua Kimmich.
One of their latest exciting talents seems to be Onguene. The 22-year-old is a monster in the air, helped by his 6-foot-2 frame. However, it also has impressive speed and a large game readership.
Salzburg is the perfect environment to develop a player before joining a team like Chelsea, especially given the similarity between the two teams in terms of pressing philosophies. This would make any transition period a little easier for Onguene.
Additionally, Salzburg’s business model is very much based on developing players and selling them for profit, so again, it’s likely that the defender would be available and not break the bank.
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Philipp Lienhart – 24 – Friborg
Once from Real Madrid, Lienhart is one of Austria’s most promising young players.
He was captain of Austria U21 when he moved to Freiburg, initially on loan, in the summer of 2017. Despite a year cut short by injuries, Freiburg jumped at the chance to sign him on a permanent 12-month contract. late.
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Standing at 6 feet 2 inches, he is both imposing in the air, strong in ground duels and also an accomplished passer.
He has performed well in the Bundesliga, which is worth noting given the similarities in style of this division to the Premier League.
Physical issues hampered his progress which is why he has not received more media attention in recent seasons, however, he is back in top form and finished last season strong in an impressive Freiburg team.
There is a chance he could be landed for numbers south of £ 20million this summer.