As I discussed yesterday, my real qualm is with our defence at the moment, and with two clean sheets in a row, it is clear to see they are heading in the right direction.
Nonetheless, with Luiz now breaking into our midfield five, we could well do with the addition of a centre-back to the fray, with John Terry injured, that leaves just Ivanovic and Cahill as the fit centre-backs, whilst Cesar Azpilicueta is now our preferred right-back. With Paulo Ferreira as his understudy, you would expect another defender to be a priority, even with 18 year old right-back Wallace soon to tie up a deal at Stamford Bridge.
Here are my favourite three centre-backs available at the moment, and a bit of a background about them:
Dedé – Vasco Da Gama
It is only a matter of time before the 6ft 4 Brazilian centre-back makes a move to one of Europe’s elite, after breaking into the national team last year, he has snuck onto the radar, with AC Milan being linked, and even neighbours QPR were rumoured to be weighing up an audacious bid for the 24 year-old.
The fruits of European football and the Premier League could well tempt the young star, and could be a great choice due to the fact we already have a host of Brazilians at the club, David Luiz, Oscar, Ramires, and of course Lucas Piazon, are sure to be around the Bridge for years to come.
He could also be eased into the team, with Terry sure to be around for the next couple of years, I can imagine Dede would still be comfortable with a rotational role, and as we have seen this year, should we continue our European and domestic success, there would be plenty of chances for him to shine.
He would be available for around £7-£8m, and as we have seen with Azpilicueta this year, cheaper certainly doesn’t mean you have to cut-back on quality.
Ryan Shawcross – Stoke
A real John Terry-esque defender, Shawcross could be a perfect long term replacement for the our England man, and at just 25, he has already chalked up nearly 150 Premier League appearances, being the main talking point of a robust Stoke City defence, one that has only conceded 14 goals this season so far, which in fact is less than 12 of the last 20 Premier League winning teams at this stage, which says a lot.
Shawcross has stated he isn’t looking to leave Stoke, but has stalled on a new six-year deal at the club, and with just 18 months left on his contract, a bid of near £10m this January could definitely ruffle some feathers in their camp.
His body on the line approach would fit perfectly at Stamford Bridge, and much like Terry, would be sure to become a fans favourite, and he would welcome the chance to increase his silverware and European hopes, whilst also giving him a better ladder into the England squad, with Terry and Cahill already at the club, and regulars on the international stage.
Mats Hummels – Borussia Dortmund
We all know Roman Abramovich likes to spend a bit of money, and should be fancy doing that on a centre-back, look no further that Mats Hummels.
At 24, he is already a regular for both club and country, notching 137 Bundesliga appearances, and 23 caps for Germany since his rapid rise to fame since 09/10.
Likened to the great Franz Beckenbauer, I would class him as a more sensible David Luiz, able to showcase his attacking mind, whilst also being an absolute rock in defence, as well as harnessing the pace and strength to make him an all-round pain in the posterior to opposition strikers.
Hummels has recently signed a new contract with the German side until 2017, although a large bid could tempt him to England, as he has already picked up both the Bundesliga title twice, and the German equivalent of the FA Cup, he may well want to pursue new challenges and titles.
Dortmund have the edge of being in the Champions League still, making a January move less likely, although with us already scooping the trophy, and realistically having more of a chance to win it again, he may well decide it is best for his career. A bid of around £20-£25m though may be needed, although that is hardly a figure that would scare away our owners.
Of course, all of this is hypothetical, although with the vast riches available to Abramovich, it really wouldn’t surprise me if we did try and replace David Luiz now it looks he settled in midfield. If so, I don’t think he could do far wrong with any of these three choices.
By Brad Smith