It has not been all pleasant for former Italian boss Antonio Conte, 6 games into his first ever Premier League job. The summer transfer window, though 2-month long, was not long enough for the Italian who had to make two deadline day signings to improve on his squad. Though the first few weeks were fine, the last two games against Liverpool and Arsenal (especially without club captain John Terry who is injured) exposed the many flaws that the team has been carrying since their title victory in the 2014-15 season.
It is clear that the manager needs one or maybe even two players to give his defence the ability to deliver him silverware this season and here are 3 players that fit the bill.
Antonio Rudiger (AS Roma)
Though his teammate, Kostas Manolas, would probably be first choice, Rudiger, who was also a Chelsea target in the summer, could be an option this time in January. The 23-year old was reportedly close to an agreement with Chelsea but an injury saw Chelsea withdraw their offer. Rudiger is still sidelined at the moment but Conte might turn to him in January as it will be hard for him to find a place in his Italian outfit after a lengthy exile.
He is a strong center half with superb technique and will sit into Conte’s style of play without much fuzz. It is understood that a transfer fee of €30m might be enough to lure Roma to sell, and if they can get their man, it will be a more than decent addition for the Blues.
Ben Davis (Tottenham Hotspur)
Another summer target for Conte, Ben Davis, was one of the stand out performers for Wales in the EURO 16 in France. He was a part of a three-man defence where he excelled on the left side and is an enticing option for Conte. At 23, he is potentially a world class player and is currently a second choice for Pochettino on the left flank after Danny Rose, the English full-back.
Though Tottenham may not entertain selling to direct rivals, lack of game time at his age can be dangerous and Davies will know that an opportunity like Chelsea might not come calling again. He has most attributes that will make the Chelsea defence stronger and at his age, he will only get better. It is said that Chelsea will make a bid for him and if they can lure Spurs to sell, it will be a top class addition to the squad at the Bridge.
Stefan de Vrij (Lazio)
Another Serie A defender, Stefan de Vrij, was also on the radar of the London outfit in the summer. In fact, Chelsea were rejected in their £34m approach for De Vrij in the summer but the lack of options for Conte has seen him linked yet again this time for a move in January. It is claimed that the 24-year old is happy with his place in Italy but Chelsea are hoping to ruffle up the Italian side to sell this January.
The Dutch international is vastly experienced at club and country level and could be a top class addition to Conte’s squad. Though he may take some time to adjust to the conditions in the Premier League, he has the attributes to thrive in Conte’s style of play and will surely grow on to become a top class player for Chelsea. It is to be seen if Conte is ready to splash the cash and lure Lazio into selling their star.