Chelsea Locked In A Three-Way Battle For This Ligue 1 Playmaker: What Will He Add To Lampard’s Side?

Chelsea locked in a three-way battle for Jonathan Ikone who is in action in the photo
Nantes' French defender Dennis Appiah (L) vies with Lille's French forward Jonathan Ikone (R) during the French L1 football match between FC Nantes and Lille (LOSC), at La Beaujoire Stadium, western France, on March 1, 2020. (Photo by JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images)

According to a recent report by L’Equipe (subscription required), Chelsea are locked in a three-way battle for LOSC Lille playmaker Jonathan Ikone this summer. The same source has also stated that the Blues will face fierce competition from Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur in pursuit of the French attacker when the transfer window reopens later this year (translated by The Daily Express). It is believed that the talented midfielder wants better wage conditions and is willing to seek a move away from Lille in this off-season (via L’Equipe).

Ikone’s Impressive Form For Lille Last Season

The 22-year-old has been in fine form for the French giants after producing a string of eye-catching displays during the recently concluded Ligue 1 campaign. He made 36 appearances for Christophe Galtier’s side last season, scoring four goals and providing seven assists on all fronts shedding light on his growing influence in the final third.

Ikone found a run of consistency with his performances as an attacking midfielder based on his average of 1.3 shots, 1.1 key passes and 2.6 dribbles per game in league football (stats via whoscored). If the promising playmaker can maintain his high standards in the Premier League, then he could turn out to be a shrewd purchase for Chelsea ahead of the new season.

The Bondy-born youngster has also earned four senior caps for the French national team, registering one goal for his country in the process. Maybe a change of scenery this summer could give him a more prominent platform to showcase his skills and catch the attention of Les Bleus boss Didier Deschamps ahead of next year’s UEFA European Championship finals.

Chelsea locked in a three-way battle for Jonathan Ikone who is seen representing France in the photo
Croatia’s midfielder Ivan Sunjic (L) tackles France’s midfielder Jonathan Ikone during the Group C match of the U21 European Football Championships between France and Croatia on June 21, 2019, at the Olympic Stadium of Serravalle in San Marino. (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)

What Will The French Midfield Ace Add To Frank Lampard’s Side?

Ikone can use his electric pace and agility to make some driving runs with the ball in the opposition half. He has primarily been deployed in the number ten position, but can operate on the flanks if required.

His incredible speed, coupled with his excellent versatility, make him a useful asset in Galtier’s squad. However, the Frenchman needs to improve his productivity in the attacking third if he wants to become a world-class player in his position someday.

Ikone will not only add more pace and variety to Frank Lampard’s frontline but also enhance the overall depth of his squad at Stamford Bridge. Plus, he will increase competition for the likes of Mason Mount, Ross Barkley, Christian Pulisic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek at West London next season.

At 22, Ikone still has plenty of time to develop into a top talent, so Lampard should consider recruiting him if he is willing to be patient with his development in the long run. He could also serve as a perfect long-term replacement for Willian and Pedro at the English capital and has the potential to help Chelsea compete for major trophies in the coming seasons.

A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.