After back to back losses to Liverpool and Arsenal last season, Antonio Conte deployed the 3-4-3 formation at Chelsea; and the rest, as they say, is history. Chelsea look set to continue with their winning formula and the Italian or ‘the Hammer’ (il Martello) as he was called in his former club, Juventus, has evidently identified the area where Chelsea need immediate reinforcement.
After switching to a three-man defence last season, Conte identified Marcus Alonso and Victor Moses at the left and right wing-back positions respectively.
It would be an understatement to say that they exceeded expectations on all counts. Aside from Conte, not a lot of others would have counted on the duo to play such a stellar role for Chelsea in their League win. Chelsea persisted with almost an unchanged first eleven for the better part of the campaign last season.
With no European commitments, the lack of substantial bench strength didn’t result into the season unravelling in the later stages.
Having earned an automatic qualification in Europe this season, courtesy finishing in the top-4, Chelsea are looking to strengthen in all areas of the pitch, to provide adequate cover for every position.
The wing-backs are a crucial position to make Antonio’s formation tick. Despite Alonso and Moses’ fantastic seasons with Chelsea, it couldn’t be overlooked that a combination of Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen ran circles around them in their defeat to Spurs at White Hart Lane. Alonso was also woefully missed in Chelsea’s game against United at Old Trafford.
One of the first names that Chelsea was linked to this season was of Juventus’ Alex Sandro. Playing at left back with the Bianconeri, the Brazilian is capable of playing anywhere on the left flank.
His showing for Juventus forced Dunga to consider the player for the Selecao, a team that boasts a lot of quality at left-back in Real Madrid’s Marcelo and Atletico Madrid’s Filipe Luis.
Sandro’s strongest attributes lie in his dribbling and crossing ability besides being a solid presence defensively. If Chelsea manage to pull off this transfer, he would be a massive upgrade over Alonso and could see the team’s performance improve by leaps and bounds.
The 26-year-old would, in particular, come handy against teams that park the bus as he’ll provide Chelsea with additional impetus on the attack. Juventus are playing hardball over the defender and even at £61m are not willing to budge if the player doesn’t state his will to leave.
They have offered the player a new contract worth £84,000 a week as opposed to Chelsea’s £100,000 offer.