Chelsea’s need for a defensive midfielder has been glaringly highlighted in recent weeks, with the lack of a protective shield for our backline exposing our frailties, especially whenever N’Golo Kante has been injured or not quite up to 100 per cent of his usual imperious form. To that effect, Declan Rice has been constantly linked with a return to his boyhood club, but Chelsea are also looking at alternative (and cheaper?) options, as one always should.
According to ESPN, one player that we are monitoring is AS Monaco defensive midfielder Aurélien Tchouaméni. The 20-year-old moved to the Principality about a year ago for a reported fee of €18m and has been quite a revelation since his move, starting 19 of 20 possible league games in head coach Niko Kovac’s double-pivot. Monaco will expectedly not sell him in January, but are preparing for a “scramble for his signature” in the summer transfer window.
While Chelsea’s primary target at this moment is still undoubtedly Declan Rice, the expected exorbitant asking price of £70m-£80m will make it difficult for any club to sign him. And at some point, it has to be asked whether Rice is actually worth that sum, regardless of how amazing a player he may be.
Tchouaméni, despite his relative lack of experience, has immense potential. He could be the smart, frugal signing whom we need, with N’Golo Kanté, Billy Gilmour and Ethan Ampadu still part of the roster and on the books.