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Chelsea Battling Man United For Swiss Declan Rice Alternative: Smart Move For Lampard?

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Nikhil Vinodh
Nikhil has been an avid Chelsea fan for as long as the concept of time has existed and rumours say that he even bleeds blue. Having lived in the UK for 3 years, Nikhil is said to have an excellent understanding of the atmosphere surrounding the English game. His role model is the greatest manager of all time - Jose Mourinho.

According to a recent report by renowned football journalist Christian Falk, Premier League giants Chelsea have been tipped to hold an interest in Borussia Monchengladbach’s Swiss international holding midfielder Denis Zakaria. It has been suggested that the Blues are among a trio of clubs keeping tabs on the player, with fellow Premier League outfit Manchester United touted with an apparent interest as well. The third club who have been credited to being keen on the Swiss ace, are reigning German and European champions Bayern Munich.

Although the report has clarified that Chelsea are battling Manchester United for Denis Zakaria, whether or not they’re able to convince the midfielder on the Stamford Bridge project remains to be seen. It was reported earlier in the year by Bulinews, quoting Bild, that the Bundesliga club would demand in the region of €50m for the Swiss ace’s signature. Considering all the money that Chelsea spent in the summer, shelling out another chunk of cash would likely not be too much of a concern for Lampard’s men. The Monchengladbach man is contracted with the club only until the summer of 2022.

What Is Chelsea’s Current Midfield Situation?

The Blues started pre-season with what seemed like one of the best midfield rosters in the entirety of the Premier League, but a couple of loan departures have actually worsened their situation by a fairly large extent. Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante are the three primary options available for Lampard to choose from, with young Billy Gilmour currently out injured. However, having now sent out two players on loan, the gaffer would’ve had a much larger variety of playing styles to choose from.

Chelsea Are Battling Manchester United For Denis Zakaria - Zakaria in action
TOPSHOT – Moenchengladbach’s Swiss midfielder Denis Zakaria jumps for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match Schalke 04 v Borussia Moenchengladbach in Gelsenkirchen, western Germany on January 17, 2020. (Photo by INA FASSBENDER / AFP)

Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were shipped out to Aston Villa and Fulham respectively, presumably to give them the regular playing time they obviously desire. The problem with the Blues’ midfield roster now though, is that they don’t have a recognised holding midfield option. Although Jorginho primarily plays in that position, he doesn’t have the defensive attributes required to step up. N’Golo Kante, on the other hand, is far too aggressive to be able to sit in front of the defence and offer protection. This is where a player of Zakaria’s quality could prove to be beneficial.

What Kind Of Player Is Denis Zakaria?

The Swiss international is a combative central midfielder by position – one who is capable of breaking up opposition plays. As good as the midfielder is at sitting deep and offering added protection to the back-line, it must be conceded that he excels when going in the attacking direction as well. Kante has often been criticised for his lack of ball-playing skills in the attacking third, and at least in that regard, Zakaria would be an instant upgrade. Not only can he carry the ball himself, but he has also got the quality required to produce that killer pass.

Chelsea Are Battling Manchester United For Denis Zakaria: Smart Move For Lampard?

The London club haven’t had the greatest of starts to the season, and a number of the biggest pundits have pointed to their defensive fragility as the main issue. The problem is that although Kante is arguably one of the best in the world in the role, he isn’t the kind of player who is going to sit and protect. Jorginho, similarly, doesn’t fit the profile either. The addition of a player like Zakaria, alongside one of either of the aforementioned names, could yield massive results for Chelsea, and if they’re able to sign him in the winter, it would have to be considered quite the coup.

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