Friday, September 29, 2023

Conte Identifies Italian Defensive Rock To Bolster Chelsea Backline – Here’s Why It’s A Perfect Match

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Sourav Bhakat
An ardent sports lover who loves to sleep, eat and watch Manchester City play. In that order.

Chelsea’s defensive witch-hunt continues as the latest player to be linked with the Blues is West Ham United defender Angelo Ogbonna. According to Sky Sports Italia, Antonio Conte has asked the board to sign the Italy International after failing in their multiple pursuits in a bid to bolster their central defensive options. Chelsea are close to a deal for Fiorentina full-back Marcos Alonso and are on the lookout for even more defensive reinforcements on the deadline day.

Chelsea have gotten off to a perfect start as far as the points table is concerned. But two out of their three victories have come from last ditch Diego Costa goals and Conte would not have been happy with the overall display of the side.

West Ham’s defeat to Manchester City and Watford’s thrashing at the hands of Arsenal illustrate that Chelsea were just not up to the mark in the first two matches of their own against these same opponents. But a 3-0 victory against Burnley at home produced a much better display. A confident display which was more on the lines Conte will be hoping to establish at Stamford Bridge in the future.

Italy v Republic of Ireland - Group E: UEFA Euro 2016

Their defensive reserves have especially been rendered wafer-thin after Kurt Zouma’s injury and John Terry age. N’Golo Kante’s display made many pundits deduce that the more than normal ability and industry displayed by the former Leicester man will help in prolonging the career of Terry and to an extent make up for the defensive frailties of the team. But Conte certainly doesn’t work in that manner.

His former teams have been built on a solid defence with the likes of Bonucci and Chiellini and even though they are finding it difficult to sign defenders of that calibre, he will certainly look to bring in someone who will be familiar with his body of work and someone who can represent Chelsea capably after the retirement of the likes of Terry.

And Conte has seemingly identified Ogbonna as someone who certainly can follow his orders in that regard. The duo has worked together at Juventus and a reunion is on the cards at Chelsea. The 28-year old started his career at Torino and represented them in 150 matches before moving to Juventus where he spent a successful couple of years, trophy-wise.

He currently plays for West Ham and will have no qualms on re-joining his former boss. While possessing an admirable physique for a defender, his passing ability is something Conte will look to utilise at Chelsea as he expects his defenders to participate in the build-up play. With such a signing the former Juventus boss will also have the luxury of operating a 3-man backline which has so far been impossible with a severe lack of defensive reserves.

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