Chelsea, as of this moment, are without a manager if Conte is to leave, without a first choice striker if Morata is to leave, without a world class midfielder to partner N’Golo Kanté and without a preseason schedule, but apparently what we do have are “talks” to add a centre back where we have as many as six options if we include the returning Kurt Zouma, too.
That is, of course, if the Italian transfer oracle Gianluca Di Marzio is to be believed. He’s reporting that Chelsea and Juventus are both chasing Atlético Madrid’s Stefan Savić but that the Blues are in pole position, having “been in contact for some time” about signing the Montenegrin international.
If we squint hard enough, I suppose the deal makes sense, especially if we assume the departure of Antonio Conte, which is looking quite likely. If Conte leaves, the three-man defence is likely to leave with him, which means that Azpilicueta would have to revert to his more natural right-back position. There have also been constant rumours regarding David Luiz leaving and Kurt Zouma’s spot isnt’t guaranteed either. At worst, that would leave us with three options at centre-back, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rüdiger and Gary Cahill, and Cahill isn’t getting any younger at 32. As a fourth useable body for two positions, the move could work.
Savić is a calm and composed customer in defence who is good in the air, has decent positioning and makes a lot of clearances. However, he almost made fewer tackles than any other Atlético Madrid center — his 1.1 tackles per game pales in comparison to Diego Godin’s 1.7, José Giménez’s 1.7 and Lucas Hernández’s 3.4 (though he also filled in at left back, which explains his significantly higher average). He seems decent enough at reading the game and intercepting the ball when needed, but where he shines is clearing and blocking the ball (5.4 and 0.9, respectively, per game are the best in the squad).
Our friends at Into the Calderon were not too impressed overall however.
Stefan Savić: 6.2
A stop-start season, one that became pretty frustrating to watch as Simeone insisted on playing him in many of Atlético’s biggest fixtures. Atlético conceded more shots on average and mustered just 11 wins from the 21 games Savić started next to Diego Godín — who is essentially an older, more tactically astute version of Savić. The 27-year-old has obvious issues holding his position and recovering when he’s caught out, yet he logged 3,000 minutes anyway. There’s always a chance he figures it out as he gets closer to 30, but how long can Atleti wait?
-Atletico Madrid Seasonal Player Ratings; Source: Into the Calderon
Overall, Savić isn’t exactly the most inspiring option regardless of what happens with Chelsea’s current centre-backs. Besides, the biggest strength of Savić’s game seem to be clearances and that isn’t going to translate too well for either Conte’s preference to build from the back or Sarri’s extreme insistence, even under strong pressure, on building from the back. There is also the issue of homegrown players, so if Cahill’s age is an issue, we should be looking to replace him with a homegrown option like the previously linked Jamaal Lascelles of Newcastle.
You can have this one, Juventus.