Chelsea’s frightening form has got the whole Premier League to sit up and take notice. Chelsea, along with the Manchester clubs were the ones to have taken onboard new foreign coaches with Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte being new to the rigours of the English top tier. But he has smashed through all the presumptions and has transformed this Chelsea team into a winning machine.
They have steamrolled their opponents and in a new 3-4-3 formation look unstoppable. With no European football to distract them, the Blues have put all their energy and effort into getting this new set-up right.
The likes of Costa, Hazard and Kante have been immense in their roles are the 3 standout players of the season so far. David Luiz has silenced his critics and is an integral part of the meanest backline in the division.
While the plaudits have come their way and almost all of it is deserved and genuine, there are surely areas in which they can improve. Especially as they are not going to have the luxury of playing a single match every week next season.
Although their bench strength is better than most of the teams in the league, Chelsea are some way off from the Manchester clubs and Arsenal. Their options in defence are limited to an injured John Terry on the verge of leaving the club and Kurt Zouma who is yet to convince his manager of his selection.
In midfield, Chelsea have Kante, Matic and Fabregas as the established options and after that, their reserves run dry. Similarly, on the wings they have Hazard, Pedro and Willian as the only established wingers and with Oscar leaving for the Far East, things have become even worse when bench strength is taken into account.
It is clearly evident that Chelsea need to bolster their squad and they will do so. With names likes James Rodriguez and Arturo Vidal being heavily linked with the Premier League leaders, a report stating Chelsea’s interest for Sevilla midfielder Steven N’Zonzi caught our eye.
It is a somewhat unconventional choice for a club like Chelsea with the player being largely ignored last summer after he left Stoke City and then moved to Sevilla for a paltry fee of £7m. He is a defensive minded midfield player and has grown in stature lately.
He has surprisingly nuanced technical ability despite primarily being a defensive midfielder. He is a tackle-first, front-footed shielding midfielder, preferring to attack the ball than wait for the game to play out in front of him.
He has already proved himself at Stoke City and was awarded the club’s Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season prizes at the end of 2014/15—a just reward for a player so integral to Stoke’s best-ever Premier League campaign.
Hence, with his proven experience in the Premier League and his stamina and work-rate mirroring Kante, he can be a good option but Sevilla have stated that any club willing to sign him have to cough up his release clause of £26.5m. The jury is still out on whether he warrants that transfer fee, though.
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