As those of you who've been reading the comments section are aware that I am more than a little bit enamoured with a certain midfielder from La Liga. No, not anyone from those teams. I have a bit of a crush, as it turns out, on Real Betis midfielder Benat Etxebarria. Because he is awesome.
That makes me rather gratified to see him talked about in connection to Chelsea, even if it's only the most tenuous of strands. ESPN's Dermott Corrigan (one of the good ones) has penned a piece regarding the 25-year-old, calling him a 'Manchester City and Chelsea target'. And confirming the presence of a relatively cheap buyout clause:
Benat’s clause is €20 million and he will only leave for €20 million. To sell him for anything less would be a disaster. The club must defend its position and Benat knows that. To be able to go the market and find a replacement, the only number is €20 million. He has one more year left on his contract and he can fulfill that
-Real Betis coach Pepe Mel.
The best comp I can come up with for Benat is a hybrid between Moussa Dembele and Luka Modric. He's certainly not a midfield general, but he's a top passer, able to sit deep and hit through-balls for the strikers to chase. He's also capable of going forward to great effect and pulls his weight defensively with sensible positioning.
He's also going to cost the same amount as Malaga's Isco, if he does leave, and since Isco's a more exciting attacking talent (which Chelsea don't really need because of the whole Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar business) that's going to draw some potential suitors away from the Betis man. Which is good for the Blues, since Benat would be a pretty clear starter in the pivot for us.
For 20 million I'd do this deal very, very quickly. Benat's not Fellaini, but he's a superb player and able to both control the tempo of the game and provide us with additional weapons in the attack. With David Luiz, John Obi Mikel, Frank Lampard and Ramires as alternative options in the double pivot, we'd finally have the versatility to adapt to different circumstances.