Other than a brief dalliance into Alex Sandro dreamland and a very tenuous mention of Alex Telles, most of Chelsea’s attentions have been on strikers and other forwards this January. But while it may be important to switch out Michy Batshuayi for somebody (or anybody, apparently) whom Conte can trust to use a bit more, it’s just as important, if not even more so, to get a viable backup for Marcos Alonso.
Alonso has been handling the left flank all by his lonesome since Conte switched to a three-man defense a year and a half ago. He’s stayed remarkably consistent, healthy, and free of yellows, while also chipping in with a league-best amount of goals for a defender from both free kicks and open play. Of course that latter stat is a bit disingenuous since Alonso hardly ever plays as a true defender, but let’s not nitpick.
His backup has ostensibly been young Kenedy, but he’s a wing-back only in name, if that. Kenedy also needs actual minutes, not just training time or the occasional cup appearance. So it would behoove him as well if Chelsea went out and got an actual backup left wing-back.
Perhaps we’ll see some movement on this front in the final two weeks of the window, especially after Di Marzio dropped this brief item about Chelsea making an “inquiry” about Emerson Palmieri of AS Roma. Emerson (not to be confused with a previous Emerson at Roma, i.e. the ‘Puma’, or indeed former Chelsea player Emerson Thome) had previously been touted as a potential replacement for Alex Sandro at Juventus.
There is not much more detail beyond that in the report and no hint of a transfer fee iether. Roma apparently have a need to sell to satisfy FFP, though that seems to be the story they tell every time there is a transfer or a rumor (including Rüdiger, Nainggolan, Strootman, etc). Emerson, 23, has just recently returned from a knee ligament injury, which would certainly fit Chelsea’s recent m.o. of mining the list of injured players for potential transfer bargains.
Some do rate him rather highly, so he’s got that going for him.
Just my opinion, I think his game is similar to Digne except he’s better, especially in attack.— John Solano (@Solano_56) January 16, 2018
Emerson also thrives in a three man back line but can also play in a four. He’s much better than Alonson, for me.
Our friends at Chiesa di Totti call him a “solid two-way threat” who was “instrumental” for Roma last season.