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Chelsea ‘intensively engaged’ in pursuit of TSG Hoffenheim full back — report

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Brazil v Germany - Final: Men's Football - Olympics: Day 15 Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images

If you’ve read our Summer Transfer Notebook, you should already be familiar with the name Jeremy Toljan. If you haven’t read it, you should. But for now, I’ll make it easy and copy over some of Joe Tweeds’s words.

“Athletically, he is incredibly gifted with the positional flexibility to operate both as a conventional full-back (left and right), wing back or anywhere in midfield. A product of the talented Julian Nagelsmann’s coaching; Toljan has a great foundation upon which to build. I would see him as a right wing back at Chelsea, but there are improvements that need to be made.”

You might have also become familiar with Toljan if you’ve watched any of Germany at the U21 Euros, where, amongst other things, he had a great game as a right back against England in the semifinal and is set to repeat that trick against Spain in today’s final.

Joe continues:

Toljan strikes me as a player who might need a move to someone like Napoli before he becomes a significant target for someone big. [...] He is the type of player Bayern Munich buys to develop. With his contract running out next year and an acknowledgement he is unlikely to sign another deal, he could be a steal in the summer if developed correctly.

So, if we’re looking at this the right way, there could be an opportunity for Chelsea to be the Napoli and Bayern in this situation and get in on the ground floor of Toljan’s future massive transfer fee. At 22 years old (turning 23 in August), he’s established enough to be an option alongside Moses on the right flank and versatile (and obviously good) enough to be able to find minutes with ease elsewhere. He has a couple sasons of regular Bundesliga football under his belt already with TSG Hoffenheim, but would probably require a smaller investment than, say, Baba Rahman, especially if we don’t leave it for the last day of the window.

But this is all just flights of fancy, right? Armchair management? Not if Sky Germany are to be believed, claiming in their transfer round-up yesterday that according to their sources, Chelsea are “intensively engaged with the 22-year-old” whom Hoffenheim desperately want to extend (contract expires in 2018) but who has plans for a different commitment.

Chelsea’s scouting interest has been mentioned a few times in the past few months, but Chelsea scout lots of players, the vast majority of whom don’t end up in the rumor mill let alone as potential transfer targets. But Toljan has now made that step up, just as he has in regards with Napoli and Spurs (touted as the potentially Manchester City-bound Kyle Walker’s replacement) and perhaps others as well. Competition would no doubt drive up his price, but there’s a decent deal likely to be found here still.

If rumors are to be believed, Chelsea are looking to spend and looking to spend big. And that’s all well and good and great — certainly doesn’t get much better than an Alex Sandro at wing-back — but if an opportunity like this presents itself, especially in a position of need, we’d be silly not to at least explore the idea of a Toljan signing, right?