Sunday, June 26, 2022

Chelsea In Pole Position To Sign Hungarian International: A Massive Coup For Thomas Tuchel?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

According to Fichajes, Chelsea are on the verge of sealing a deal to sign Attila Szalai. The Fenerbahce centre-back has emerged as a top target for multiple clubs across Europe, including FC Barcelona. However, it is Chelsea who have managed to reach an agreement with the player and the €20 million deal could soon be wrapped up in the near future.

Attila Szalai’s Rapid Rise To Prominence

A native of Budapest, Attila Szalai has emerged as one of the best defensive talents in Hungary in recent years. The youngster had first made his breakthrough in senior football at Mezokovesd before moving on to Apollon Limassol, gaining some valuable European experience.

Szalai continued his progress in Cyprus, before earning a €2 million move to Fenerbahce at the start of the year. The Hungarian became an instant hit in Turkey, featuring in 21 league matches during the second half of the campaign. His impressive performances saw him get selected for Hungary’s Euro 2020 squad.

The 23-year-old made further impression in the coveted tournament. His defensive diligence, aggression and work ethic saw him emerge as one of Hungary’s top performers, even though his team was unfortunately knocked out of the group.

Nevertheless, Szalai has continued his development in the new season, establishing himself as one of the best players in the Turkish Superlig. He could now be set for a move to a bigger club, with Chelsea reportedly keen on his services.

Chelsea target Attila Szalai
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – SEPTEMBER 8: Attila Szalai of Hungary reacts next to Attila Fiola of Hungary prior to the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar qualifying match between Hungary and Andorra at Puskas Arena on September 8, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images)
The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/) Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/)

A Good Option For Chelsea?

Chelsea’s interest in Attila Szalai is unsurprising as the club requires depth in the defensive unit. Although they currently have no shortage of top-class defensive talents in their ranks, the Blues are tipped to lose several key players in the summer.

Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva and Andreas Christensen’s contracts at Stamford Bridge expire at the end of the season. While Silva is destined to move on, both Rudiger and Christensen face an uncertain future at the club, with the former reportedly frustrated with the club for not meeting his wage demands.

Other options for Chelsea include Cesar Azpilicueta, who isn’t getting any younger. Hence, the potential addition of Szalai could prove to be a masterstroke from Thomas Tuchel.

The Hungarian international has raised many eyebrows with his defensive work rate, commitment and discipline. It would make him an ideal fit for Tuchel’s tactical philosophy that does require organisation and discipline. And at the age of just 23, he could indeed be a smart long-term investment for the Blues.

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