Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is reportedly looking to strengthen his wing back slots and has identified Michail Antonio and Jonas Hector as his targets.
The Times have reported that Conte has made it a priority to sign two wing backs in the January transfer window, and will make a move for West Ham United’s Michail Antonio and FC Koln’s Jonas Hector this month for the right and left wing back positions respectively.
The Italian is looking to make improvements to his Chelsea side as he strives to bring the Premier League title back to Stamford Bridge. The Blues boss has Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso playing as wing backs in his 3-4-3 fomation, and Branislav Ivanovic and Ola Aina are his only fallback option as of now.
While the former is past his prime and seemingly at the end of his glittering Chelsea career, Aina is only just being blooded into the Chelsea first team setup. So Conte currently has limited options available to him as far as wing backs are concerned.
Moses and Alonso have been highly influential for Chelsea this season, and contributed to the side conceding just four goals during their club record breaking 13-match winning streak.
Despite this, backup options is an urgent need of the hour for Conte, as Moses and Alonso seemed to be affected by fatigue in the Blues’ 2-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur last week that brought their winning run to a grinding halt.
Antonio has made quite an impression since making a move to West Ham United last season, making 45 appearances in all competitions so far for the Hammers. And the Englishman has shown a lot of versatility in adapting to different positions, with Slaven Bilic using him as a winger, striker, as well as a full back on different occasions.
Moses’ exploits this season have shown that Conte can work with versatile players like Antonio, and the Italian has been linked with a move for the West Ham man in recent weeks. However, the report from the Times states that the Hammers are unwilling to let their top scorer leave as they are facing a shortage of goals from other players.
Hector is a more realistic target for Conte. Even though he signed a new five-year deal with his club earlier in the season and was appointed as the club captain, the German could be willing to make a move up to a bigger club if an opportunity presented itself.
Hector has been highly impressive for Koln since making a move up from the club’s second side in 2013, and has shown that he is equally adept at playing as a natural full back as well as a wing back. He was reportedly a summer target for Chelsea before they went on to sign Alonso on deadline day.