Chelsea have reportedly set their sights on Ukraine’s rising star Ilya Zabarnyi, as Thomas Tuchel hopes to bolster his defensive options this summer.
According to Goal, Chelsea are among the clubs keeping a close eye on Ilya Zabarnyi. They are hoping to make a summer swoop for the Dynamo Kyiv, who is currently the youngest defender participating in the ongoing UEFA Euro 2020, plying his trade with the Ukrainian national team.
A product of the Dinamo Kyiv youth academy, Zabarnyi was earning a mere £100 per month when he was promoted to the team’s senior side. Helped by the injuries of Mykyta Burda and Denys Popov, the youngster enjoyed a dream start to his professional footballing career, becoming a first-team regular just a month into the new season.
As the season progressed, the youngster built a formidable partnership with Popov and later Oleksandr Syrota, at the heart of Kyiv’s backline. His defensive contributions played a key role in helping his club secure the Ukrainian league title while also earning him his debut cap for Ukraine back in October.
Zabarnyi has since notched up nine appearances for Ukraine under Andriy Shevchenko, a Chelsea legend. The Ukraine boss, in fact, plays a key role in the Blues’ interest in the 18-year-old, as he himself rates the youngster highly.
Despite his lack of experience, Zabarnyi has indeed impressed the onlookers with his incredible fighting spirit and aggression while his imposing 1.89m gives him a considerable advantage in physical and aerial duels. The teenage sensation could, thus, be an ideal addition to a Chelsea side that does require defensive reinforcements in the summer.
Fikayo Tomori is already being subjected to a permanent move to AC Milan while Thiago Silva is in the final phase of his career and could well leave Chelsea at the end of next season.
Thomas Tuchel is expected to offload other unwanted players as well, which, in turn, has forced him to enter the market for defenders. The Chelsea boss has reportedly been eyeing a move for VfL Wolfsburg’s rising star Maxence Lacroix.
Zabarnyi, however, might not be a bad option either considering the exposure to international football the youngster will have. Not to mention, he is far younger and has the physical characteristics that become imperative in Premier League’s more physically oriented style of football, making him an option worth considering for Chelsea.