Thursday, September 28, 2023

Have Chelsea Finally Found Ivanovic’s Replacement In This La Liga Star?

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Arka Tarun Mukherjee
Arsenal fan and football expert, Arka Tarun Mukherjee actually used to play cricket at semi pro level. An ardent student of football tactics, ATM is very passionate about the tactical aspects of the game and has a dream of being a football manager in the future.

Antonio Conte has had enough of the defensive nonsense from his players it seems as the Italian is desperate to make some significant changes to his backline in the winter transfer window. According to Spanish daily El Desmarque, Chelsea has already approached versatile Athletic Bilbao player Oscar De Marcos at the end of last month and are keen to offer him a four-year contract with a pay package that will double his current pay package.

De Marcos can play both as a midfielder as well as a fullback and has a vast experience of playing in the Spanish top division. The 27-year old has made a total of 288 appearances in all competitions for Athletic club since joining them in 2009 and has also scored 28 goals in the process.

Since last season, Chelsea have suffered because of the displays of Branislav Ivanovic at right back who was previously considered to be one of the most dependable players in the team. The problems persisted as Chelsea had a nightmare last season finishing 10th in the league.

With Antonio Conte taking charge at the start of the season it was expected that the defence would experience an instant improvement but despite the best efforts of the coach, he was let down repeatedly by his defenders who kept on committing individual errors and gifting the opposition goals.

Being totally frustrated over the lax displays, the Italian has decided to ring a few changes and will be taking a few bold decisions in a bid to revamp his backline as soon as he gets the players in at the start of the New Year.

REGGIO NELL'EMILIA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 15: Oscar De Marcos of Athletic Club in action during the UEFA Europa League match between US Sassuolo Calcio and Athletic Club at Mapei Stadium - Citta' del Tricolore on September 15, 2016 in Reggio nell'Emilia, Italy. (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
REGGIO NELL’EMILIA, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 15: Oscar De Marcos of Athletic Club in action during the UEFA Europa League match between US Sassuolo Calcio and Athletic Club at Mapei Stadium – Citta’ del Tricolore on September 15, 2016 in Reggio nell’Emilia, Italy. (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)

Oscar De Marcos is one such player identified by the boss to be a replacement for Ivanovic at right back. De Marcos has shown his quality for some time now in the La Liga with his consistent displays and is also very dynamic with his versatility.

Playing as a fullback for his club he has also scored goals in both the legs of the Europa League round of 16 clash with Manchester United in 2011/12 when Athletic Bilbao dazzled in the competition under Marcelo Bielsa, reaching the finals.

With the experience of working under some big names and a vast tactical knowledge of the game, he will be an excellent addition at the Stamford Bridge under Conte. However, the player is not keen on leaving his current club.

Athletic Bilbao are not under any kind of pressure to sell its players and De Marcos has a release clause of £35m in his current contract which runs up to 2019. It would be a bit difficult to get this transfer done but if it materializes, it will be a great move for Chelsea.

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