The one glaring hole in Chelsea’s squad at the moment is a viable backup and challenger for Marcos Alonso at left back. It’s a role that’s filled by Kenedy at the moment, but he’s simply making up numbers in the most perfunctory way possible and is unlikely to play outside of cup competitions. He may or may not be off to Newcastle United on loan anyway.
Despite his general lack of usefulness, that loan move will depend on Chelsea’s ability to secure some sort of token backup for Alonso at least — just as in the summer, when Kenedy’s move away fell through in the final days. While Juventus’ Alex Sandro remains the supposed dream, his transfer fee, whatever outrageous amount it may be right now (£50m+?), doesn’t really fit with Chelsea’s general January m.o. The Blues have not spent big in January since acquiring Fernando Torres and David Luiz in 2011, and are once again unlikely to make a big splash.
A potential solution that would allow Kenedy to leave on loan and save Chelsea some money is to give Baba Rahman a second chance — provided he’s recovered from his ACL injury that he suffered almost a year ago. While the 23-year-old has been steadily linked with a return to Schake 04 on loan, a report from the Mail claims that he’s actually “pushing” for consideration by Conte at Chelsea first and foremost.
There are a couple details in the report that don’t quite sound right — Baba training with the first-team since October would be a new fact for us, for example — but otherwise it sounds like a reasonable aim from the former Bundesliga standout.
In Conte’s first summer, Baba was deemed not quite good enough defensively at full back, but the system’s been changed to be able to accommodate attacking wing-back options on the left flank like Baba — or Kenedy for that matter, or Pedro at times, or even the rumored Thomas Lemar, who’s more of an attacking midfielder but can play as a winger of sorts.
If Baba is healthy enough to play, we could do worse than giving him the chance to impress and make an impact.