Chelsea were linked with Achraf Hakimi last season, which didn’t really make much sense considering we already had Reece James and César Azpilicueta for the right back position. Now, the 22-year-old has been linked again, with the Telegraph reporting that Chelsea and Arsenal are ready to battle it out in the race to sign the player. (Ed.note: such drama; much wow!)
Hakimi eventually ended up going to Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan last summer, replacing Chelsea loanee Victor Moses as the Nerazzurri’s first-choice right wing-back. And while Inter are on course to win the Scudetto, they are facing possible financial turmoil as their majority owners, Suning have recently shuttered their Chinese Super League club, Jiangsu due to considerable debts that they need to pay off soon. The expectation is that Inter will have to cash in on a few player assets to try to keep the operation afloat, especially amid the continuing economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hakimi was signed for €40m and he remains not only highly rated but highly valued. Arsenal are potentially looking at the Real Madrid academy product as a replacement for Hector Bellerín, who’s said to have an informal agreement with manager Mikel Arteta to leave the club this summer. Meanwhile, Chelsea’s interest seems to be stemming from Thomas Tuchel’s initial preference for wing-backs, but having utilized a converted winger in Callum Hudson-Odoi most often on the right flank. Reece James is another option, but he could be looked as Azpilicueta’s successor in the back-three as well.
Hakimi would be a brilliant signing for Chelsea, especially if we persist with the current tactical setup.