As silly season continues to move along at a steady pace, new names are linked with Chelsea with each passing day. The latest additions to the shortlist (or rather, longlist) are FC Lille’s Boubakary Soumaré and Brighton’s Ben White.
Boubakary Soumaré, who played the full 90 in both meetings with Chelsea earlier this season, is the latest in a long line of talented players who have made their breakthroughs at Lille.
Lille’s scouting department has always been revered and even more so since Luis Campos took over. Soumaré, along with the likes of striker Victor Osimhen and centre back Gabriel (Magalhães) are just a few of the players on whom Lille will likely make big profits in the coming transfer windows.
While the intention is to keep hold of Osimhen and Gabriel until the summer at least, Sky Sports’ report states that Lille are willing to sell Soumaré this month.
Players with a 1⃣0⃣0⃣% dribble success rate in Europe's top five leagues this season (15+ dribbles attempted):— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) November 15, 2019
Arthur -- Barcelona (1⃣8⃣/1⃣8⃣)
H. Maiga -- Metz (1⃣7⃣/1⃣7⃣)
B. Soumare -- Lille (1⃣6⃣/1⃣6⃣)https://t.co/BwvcOJPEus pic.twitter.com/OfY2y1xssF
Alongside domestic competitors from Manchester United and Arsenal, Chelsea also face competition from Spain as Real Madrid and Valencia continue to ‘monitor’ the 20-year-old box-to-box midfielder. Manchester City and Everton were also linked last summer, when Wolves had a €40m bid turned down reportedly.
But while Soumaré is undoubtedly talented, it’s hard to envision where he would fit in Chelsea’s current, bloated midfield setup.
Ben White on the other hand makes more sense as Chelsea’s defensive frailties have led us to concede 29 goals already this season.
The 22-year-old centre back is currently on loan at Leeds United and there have been a few murmurs that Chelsea could look to sign him in case the Aké deal doesn’t pan out.
White is highly regarded by Championship-watchers and the youngster has played a large part in Leeds United conceding just 21 goals conceded this season (second-lowest in the league). However, Leeds’ form this season, which sees them atop the league table, likely means that they won’t be willing to break the loan mid-season as they try to achieve promotion after last season’s heartbreak.
Liverpool and Tottenham are also interested, although would likely have to loan the player back to Leeds for the remainder of the Championship season.