Chelsea linked to Italian prospect

Marco Luzzani

With 2 months to go before the January transfer window, it's rumor mode: engage!

News coming in on Monday courtesy Italian network tuttomercatoweb and followed up by Sky has Chelsea linked to one Mario Sampirisi, an Italy U20, who debuted for Genoa in January, having joined the club the previous summer from AC Milan in an exchange deal thought to be worth 1M when he was 18 years old. Sampirisi, who plays right-back, has made 4 appearances for Genoa thus far this season, and this is the first we've heard of the youngster being linked with a move away to the Premier League. Manchester United & Liverpool are mentioned as the other teams having interest in the player.

Here's his agent Guiseppe Riso, from an interview with tuttomercatoweb themselves:

It is true but [there are] also Italian teams. I am not surprised that the Premier League has his eye on him, has the typical physical teams like the British.

Now, I wouldn't go as far as to discuss the likelihood of acquiring Sampirisi's services, since it's very early days, the window's a good 8 weeks away, and the youngster could be just one of many prospects the club are sending scouts around to get a good look at. Perhaps the more important thing to note is that we already have a more than capable understudy to Bran in Dave, and another youngster in Kalas who is not only younger, but also possibly better than Mario here.

Regardless, if you wish to give the rumor any credibility and thought, a thing or two are worth paying attention to: clubs in Italy are well known for their ridiculous stingy streak when it comes to loosening the purse strings, so for a club like Genoa to trade away a player they valued at 1M just to secure Sampirisi's services tells me they must've seen something real special in the guy to shell out a sum for a 19 year old most of the Seria A would baulk at. [Either that or their definition is special is a bit rudimentary compared to ours] Add to that the fact that Sampirisi is 6'1" by stature, which is certainly above league average for a fullback, his agent's point about him having physicality that British teams are keen on just about begins to make sense.

All the same, this is just the kind of simplistic, low-key rumor the press might use to kickstart transfer speculation involving a major club like ours, so it could all also turn out to be nothing more than a small puff of smoke. Make of that what you will.

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