With Jose Bosingwa set for an exit from Chelsea. The next logical signing would be a right-sided defender, and here, I’ll look at a few of the many names that have been mentioned.
You might remember, in early April, I looked at Cezar Apzilicueta, the Marseille right-back, who has impressed a lot this season, a caught the eye of many European giants.
The French side are adamant they will not let him go, but finishing 10th in the league this year was poor, and with stars such as Remy, Mandanda, Fanni, and Azpilicueta, they are surely going to have to part with one or two.
Chelsea have no shortage of funds, already shelling out £35m on Eden Hazard before most teams have even opened their shortlist, meaning they could well act quickly, before a bidding war starts.
When I looked at the Spanish full-back last time, I rated him around 21/30 to move to Stamford Bridge, but that was marking him only needed at 5/10, which would have rocketed by now, as Bosingwa has been shown the door.
The man is out of contract next summer, so could be tempted to cash in, especially if they were offered around £20m, I would expect them to give in to Chelsea’s advances. The signing would be a massive piece in Abramovich’s second ‘new era’ building a young and hungry team, and he is hoping it pays off like the wholesale changes at the start of his reign did.
Another possibility for the role is Ajax’s Gregory Van Der Wiel. Stuck in a love triangle with Real Madrid, this move may depend on whether Chelsea allow Madrid to speak to Ivanovic, or they may also try and tempt Van Der Wiel.
A cheaper option than Azpilicueta, VDW would probably cost in the region of £10m, although unlike the Spaniard, he has been called up for Euro 2012 participation, meaning they would probably have to wait until Netherlands were knocked out before striking up a deal.
As well as being the cheaper option, the 24 year old offers more in the attacking sense, a lot like a right sided Ashley Cole. He has impressive pace, and can regularly be found in the opposition half, but with a lot more control than a David Luiz.
However, many have questioned Van Der Wiel’s quality at the top level, and as a defender in general. I do believe they could lose the shape and defensive stability they get when Ivanovic plays that position, as he is by far the better defensive option of the two.
As Abramovich seems uninterested by price, I believe he should do all he can to get Marseille man, Azpilicueta, as the better defender, and also can offer as cover to the left-back Ashley Cole.
The possibility that both of these men are unavailable could occur, and if so, they should look no further than Eden Hazard’s team mate, Mathieu Debuchy.
The 26 year old has had a stunning season at Lille, playing 46 matches, and earning himself the reputation as the best full-back in Ligue 1. He would be available for around £10m too, although as with Van Der Wiel, he will be at Euro 2012, meaning a deal could not be struck realistically until July.
Should they want a more attacking option, Lukasz Piszczek of Dortmund would be a great choice. 11 assists this season from a right-back in no easy feat, and again £10m would be around the asking fee, although Borrussia Dortmund would not let go of the man easily at all, as he was part of a stunning defence which fired BVB to the league title, eclipsing Bayern Munich by eight points.
Despite the attacking signings so far, and the rumoured signing of Hulk, I fully expect the right-back position to be high on Chelsea’s radar, and I think it is odds on that one of these four will be announced this summer, most likely Azpilicueta. He would become a fans-favourite at the Bridge, and despite the value, would complete a defence capable of winning a lot more trophies in the coming seasons.
By Brad Smith