Antonio Conte is the overwhelming favourite to take over at Stamford Bridge this summer with reports in England suggesting that Roma midfield maestro Miralem Pjanic is on the Italian’s list of targets for Chelsea.
Chelsea have been linked with several Serie A stars since reports emerged of an agreement between the Blues and former Juventus manager Antonio Conte. The likes of Paul Pogba, Leonardo Bonucci and Radja Nainggolan have already been talked about as potential targets for the London club in the summer, and Roma’s free-kick wizard Miralem Pjanic is the latest name to join the list.
According to a report by Matt Hughes for the Times newspaper, Pjanic is on Conte’s list of transfer targets for Chelsea, should the Italy national team coach be confirmed as the Chelsea manager in the coming weeks. For their part, the Blues are reportedly open to the idea, having followed the Roma midfielder since his days in Ligue 1 with Lyon.
The report claims that Chelsea were in fact close to signing Pjanic five seasons ago, when Carlo Ancelotti was at the helm of the club. The 25-year-old is contracted to Roma until 2018 and has had a very productive season thus far, scoring 11 times in all competitions and assisting a further 9 goals.
Does Pjanic have a place at Chelsea?
Although the Bosnia & Herzegovina international is a superb footballer, there are legitimate questions about his suitability for Chelsea. Arguably the main reason for this is the presence of Cesc Fabregas who joined Chelsea from Barcelona in 2014. Pjanic is a midfielder in a very similar mould, and although he is more dynamic and effective off the ball, it is difficult to see a midfield pivot comprising of the two players in the Chelsea’s current 4-2-3-1 system.
Conte is likely to adopt a different system, but even his 4-3-3 or 3-5-2 formation would require at least two midfielders who would put in a real defensive shift in order to compensate for Fabregas — similar to his Juventus midfield, where Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio protected the deep-lying playmaker Andrea Pirlo. Pjanic’s team-mate Radja Nainggolan seems like a far better fit for Chelsea, given the fact that Blues lack a midfielder of his skill-set in their squad at present.