The Hard Tackle takes a look at four alternate options Chelsea can turn to, after losing out on signing Danilo to Manchester City.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has not had the best of luck this transfer window. He lost out on priority target Romelu Lukaku to the Blues’ arch-rivals Manchester United, and has now also failed to secure a deal for Danilo.
Conte has been keen on strengthening his squad’s defence ahead of the upcoming season and was eagerly pursuing a deal for the former Real Madrid right-back. But Pep Guardiola managed to have the upper-hand.
With Champions League football and the uphill task of defending the Premier League trophy, Chelsea need a quality defender. Last season, Victor Moses was deployed as a makeshift right wing-back, doing a commendable job in an alien role to establish himself as an integral figure at Stamford Bridge.
However, whenever Moses succumbed to injury, Conte struggled to find an ideal replacement. Pedro was utilised in the same role in such instances, but things weren’t too smooth and, hence, the Chelsea boss is seeking a more natural player for the position this summer.
Conte might have lost out on Danilo but there are still plenty of options he can turn his attention towards for next season. Here are four of the top alternatives for Chelsea to Danilo:
Stamford Bridge has been home to several Brazilian players over the years and Wallace is among the latest in the line of talented players from the South American country to make his way to Chelsea. He was signed for £5 million in 2013, but Wallace failed to get any first-team opportunities at that point.
The young defender was sent out on a series of loan spells to Inter Milan, Vitesse, Capri and finally Gremio in 2016. Wallace was, however, allowed to return to England a few days before the loan agreement with Gremio ended.
His time with the Brazilian squad was rather unimpressive since he was only training with Gremio’s reserves recently. He hasn’t made an appearance since the turn of the year and is heading back to Chelsea, which can open up a big opportunity for him.
Granted, he is still a work in progress, but with some work, Wallace can reach his true potential and create depth which can only benefit Chelsea. He is likely to fit into the Blues squad right behind Cesar Azpilicueta, who is also expected to be deployed in the back-three.
Additionally, the Brazilian’s ability to get forward and put in crosses with either foot can potentially make him a valuable asset. In case Conte has no other options by the end of the window, he can work with Wallace next season as a possible alternative.
Serge Aurier has been one of PSG’s strongest defenders for quite some time. And while he still has two years left on his current deal, the player is understood to have a preference to leave the French club this summer and explore options abroad.
Although the Ivory Coast international has been a regular for the French giants since his arrival at Parc des Princes, he was forced to share game time with Belgian international Thomas Meunier in the latter half of last season.
Dani Alves’s arrival threatens to reduce his game time further, and Aurier will be interested in moving to a side wherein a similar situation does not happen. The 24-year-old has pace, power and provides a great attacking threat which will make him one of the most ideal players to man the right wing-back slot.
Additionally, with Aurier being more astute defensively, he could even usurp the impressive Moses to become the first-choice right wing-back in Conte’s side next season. Chelsea are yet to register their interest in the player, though, and it remains to be seen if Aurier indeed makes his way to Stamford Bridge.
Another PSG defender makes his way into our list in the form of Thomas Meunier. The Belgian, who only joined PSG last summer has struggled to cement his position as the first-choice right back at Parc des Princes, sharing game time with the aforementioned Aurier.
Despite that though, the 25-year-old made 36 appearances across all competitions for PSG. His performances have been solid and he has also managed to score two goals and seven assists.
But, with Dani Alves now in the fray at PSG, regular playing time can become harder to come by for Meunier. Chelsea, on the other hand, have a lack of depth in their back-line and Meunier can provide enough support.
The Belgian defender can not only boost Conte’s options, but his quality can help him become the first-choice right wing-back as well. Like Aurier though, Chelsea have not formally made any offer for Meunier, although the player can potentially be a top addition at Stamford Bridge.
The versatile Arsenal midfielder can prove to be a solid player to reinforce the right side of Chelsea’s defence, becoming an able alternative to Danilo. Ox was tipped to be the next big thing when he joined Arsenal from Southampton, but unfortunately, the 23-year-old has largely failed to live up to those expectations.
Last season, however, the Englishman showed glimpses of what he is truly capable of. He also managed to maintain that momentum till the end of the season.
Oxlade-Chamberlain featured in 45 appearances for the Gunners and chipped in with six goals and 11 assists, as manager Arsene Wenger tested his versatility by deploying him in various positions. With just a year left on his contract with the north London club, the player is rumoured to leave this summer.
Arsene Wenger remains adamant that the player will stay at the club, but the French manager is likely to prefer a sale instead of letting him go for free next year, thus opening a golden opportunity for Chelsea.
The Blues have been linked with Ox earlier this summer and with their requirement for a right wing-back accentuated, the Englishman can become a viable target. With Oxlade-Chamberlain showing that, like Moses, he can be a strong right wing-back, a move for the Arsenal man may just be on the cards.