Chelsea’s shortlist for centre back is possibly the shortest amongst all the positions we’re trying to strengthen, with Declan Rice the primary target and Jose Maria Giménez the first alternate. However, with West Ham putting up major obstacles in our pursuit of Rice, Chelsea would do well to add a couple more names to the list, just in case.
And sure enough, according to the Athletic, there are two other back-up options under consideration at the moment, Brighton’s Lewis Dunk and Burnley’s James Tarkowski.
Chelsea’s interest in Dunk is not new. The 28-year-old was linked to Chelsea back in January, while James Tarkowski’s strong performances over the course of the season will have put him on the radar of the big clubs.
Brighton are supposedly open to selling Lewis Dunk because of the emergence of the extraordinarily talented Ben White, who spent last season on loan at Leeds United. While Dunk would not be the ideal option to upgrade our defense, his experience, leadership skills and his comfort with playing the LCB role makes him someone to look at, at the very least.
Tarkowski, on the other hand, would be a significant upgrade — if we’re to only consider defensive nous. His passing numbers are really not up to the mark, with a successful pass percentage of only 70.8%, and while Burnley’s playing style also needs to be taken into account, whether the 27-year-old could adapt to a different system that would put a lot of pressure on him to build from the back, is a big concern. And that’s before we consider his supposed price tag of £50m.
All the more reason for us to focus our efforts on bringing Declan Rice back home.