By, Thomas Wheaton (Twitter: @tj_wheaton)


Ah, the seemingly never ending saga to obtain the signature of Alex Sandro continues. Juventus continues to play hard ball and rejected a €60 million bid from Chelsea for the Brazilian left-back. Should Chelsea meet Juventus’ demand of upwards of €70 million? Let’s discuss.

First and foremost, while this is a technicality and doesn’t really need to be reiterated… money is not an issue as long as Roman Abramovich owns our beloved Blues. It is simply something that we don’t need to be worried about. Frivolous spending on players simply for the reason of buying them on the other hand, that could raise some concern, but buying Sandro would not be waste of Abramovich’s money.

Last season, Chelsea brought in Marcos Alonso on the day before the deadline in what many pegged as a last-ditch response to not making any real big acquisitions aside from N’Golo Kante. As it turned out, Marcos Alonso fit in beautifully with Antonio Conte’s patented 3-4-3 formation. Alonso got the job done, and excelled in the left wing-back position, but can he do it again this season?

I, for one, believed Alonso would be a decent central midfielder playing more on the left side of the pitch. It never really seemed to me like he enjoyed playing defense. He was often up, overlapping with Hazard and/or sending nice crosses into the box. He did have six goals in 35 appearances for the club, which by all means, is not bad for a so-called defensive player. Yet still, I am not a believer in Alonso’s defensive ability. And during the preseason tour, he did himself no favors.

Alonso was caught up the pitch multiple times and the opponents punished him for it. Specifically, the Bayern game was truly atrocious for Alonso as he was almost single handedly responsible for Thomas Muller’s first goal. But Alonso isn’t the focus here, Sandro is.

There is no denying that Sandro would be an upgrade over the incumbent, Alonso. He is faster, better on the ball, and more defensively responsible than Alonso. Also, he has played in bigger games (Champions League for example) than Alonso, so he is undoubtedly more experienced than the Spaniard. There really is not a case for Alonso instead of Sandro at that left wing-back position for Chelsea. Oh, except the part where he is not yet a Blue.

Sandro is a physical specimen. A tall, powerful defender who is also capable of controlling the ball at his feet. Sounds familiar right? Maybe you’re thinking about his future teammates like David Luiz or even Caesar Azpilicueta? Sandro would fit in extremely well in Conte’s 3-4-3 as he is capable of coming forward and engaging in interplay with the likes of Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata. But, is also capable of holding his own on the defensive side of the ball. Better yet, with his pace it is highly unlikely that he gets completely caught out on the left flank, unless he is on the ground or the play is too quick.

While €70 million would be a lot of money, and a world-record for a defender, it is the logical move for Chelsea. They need the depth, because it is unknown whether Alonso can really maintain last year’s performances. Sandro is an elite player who can play in both the left-back role (if Conte moves to a 4-3-3) and the wing-back role (if Conte continues the 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 formations).

Chelsea whiffed on sending Matic to Juventus to sweeten the offer as he was claimed by Manchester United this week. Despite the setbacks and Juve standing firm on their demands, Chelsea need to end their hesitant approach to transfers and bring Sandro to Stamford Bridge.

 

Thumbnail Image Courtesy of: The Sun

 

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By, Jordan Harbin


Sharpen those pencils, grab your notebooks, and lace up those new Payless sneaks….’cuz school’s back in session! (BOOM)

With Chelsea finishing up it’s pre-season jollies in Asia, it is time to gear up and focus in on a very important role in this Premier League season. Everyone wants them, few clubs truly have them, and all the money is being splashed out to get them…you guessed it….WING-BACKS! Here we will take a look at the three most important reasons why this Premier League season and seasons to come will be heavily influenced by these positions.

Positional Versatility

These feisty defenders bring an exceptional depth to their game that not many other positions can hold. Their ability to defend is just as vital as their ability to attack. This positional versatility gives teams a multi-faceted quality to their playing style. Not only can they stop an attack, but they can also be the first instruments that shift momentum to attack. This is important for Chelsea because of their desire to hit teams on the counter and hit them fast. The wingback provides this flexibility in keeping a defensive player, who has the ability to strategically attack, to be higher up the pitch without sacrificing the space left in behind him. This role requires these players to be in the absolute best shape that they can be in. Because they are the catalysts of the counter-attack, they must be able to press high up the pitch and turn on a dime to get back in the same ferocity.

Teams are looking to splash the cash on these players because they provide such a different form of attack to defenses. In the Premier League, this is such an important role in taking other back lines by surprise when the defender who just made a crunching tackle is now steaming ahead of two, three, or four players up the pitch to put in a lovely cross. They give an added relentlessness to an already grueling competition. However, it is important to find these wing-backs who have a balance on both technique in attack and in defense. A lot of these wing-backs are converted midfielders who lack the defensive know-how, and others are defenders who have no idea what they are doing past the half-way line (wait…how did I get here?) Oh this balance, my friends, is absolutely everything!

Squawka
Source: Squawka

 

Attacking Variety

The option to have a defender that attacks is like seeing those fries that have slithered to the bottom of the bag after a completely unashamed late night jaunt that gave you the rumbly tumblies this morning…You didn’t expect them to be there at all, but wow do they taste delicious! They don’t conform to the normal expectations traditional football laid out for them. They jumped out of that greasy fry box and became something great, something special. Managers have chomped at the bit to slap their paws at these pacy predators. Why you may ask? It is because they have the chameleon-like tendencies to be whatever the coach needs them to be. They provide the other attackers with more options. Oh sweet and glorious variety! Watching wing-backs like Moses and Alonso (who do still need experience/competition) carve up defenses and cross a lovely ball onto the path of a prolific Blue attack was a true spectacle to behold. It was, however, clearly evident to see when there was an injury, or an apt attack that sought our fledgling wing-backs out. That is why we need to not only buy these wing-back wonders but more importantly, buy smart.

Fansided.jpg
Source: Fansided

Pressure Consistency

One of the most vital reasons wing-backs are important is fact that they consistently exert pressure on the opposition. When a wing-back provides constant movement and maintains the same distance covered from behind and in front of them it allows teams to find more space untouched farther up the pitch. These guys are holding up and winning crucial canvas space for our masterfully creative midfield to paint with. It allows the midfield to concentrate on purposeful flow in stead of constantly marking the next attack and trying to rebuild after each blow from the opposition. If pressured correctly, defenses will find themselves flustered and most often numerically outnumbered in their defensive third.

Woah, easy….hold it right there partner! I am not saying to buy every player that is listed as a wing-back with some signs of promise on FIFA potential. That’d be crazy…(or Man City). Either way, we do have to be smart. Consistency and balance truly are the keys to a great wing-back. Just because a wing-back has uncontrollable swagger, or exceptionally good hair (…I’m looking at you Marcos Alonso) doesn’t mean we have to buy them all up! We, more importantly the club, need to buy smart. These players don’t come by that often. Some may be listed as wing-backs, but in order to truly be considered one you must have all three qualities and have them perfectly balanced.

Tuttosport
Source: TuttoSport

While our deputized wing-backs are still plying their trade on the training pitch, we must be patient. Patient to find just the right balance. Patient to find the next perfect fit for the club. Patient to hold onto this wonderful blue dream of ours. Whether that means us buying one world class wing-back, or three pretty good wing-backs (cough…Man City), we must trust the Godfather. Forza Chelsea!!! KTBFFH

 

Thumbnail Image Courtesy of: Daily Mail

 

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