We’re now officially halfway through the winter transfer window, but appear to be no closer to a proper solution to our troubles at wing-back, especially on the left but also on the right. With Ben Chilwell out for at least the season if not longer and Reece James not expected back until the spring, we’re continuing to rely on Marcos Alonso, César Azpilicueta, Duck Tape, and some can-do attitude.
In what looks like an absolute last resort, Kenedy has been recalled form his loan at Flamengo and put in line potentially for a chance to impress, but perhaps we can find a more promising solution in the next couple weeks yet.
Over the last day or so, two seemingly random names have been linked to that effect. The sourcing is not great on either, either, but they’re also not the most outrageous suggestions.
First up, as claimed by TEAMtalk, is young Sergio “The Assist King” Gómez, who came up through the Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund academies (after Tuchel’s time at the latter) before washing out and landing at Anderlecht last summer. But in the six months since, the 21-year-old’s turned quite a lot of heads with his stellar performances on the pitch, passing both the statistical analyses (even adjusted to account for a weaker league) and the eye tests for glowing scouting reports, such as this one from The Athletic — who had him linked with Celtic primarily, but expecting “bigger” teams to take notice soon as well.
The second random target needs no introduction. The Mirror claim that we are “weighing up a bid” for Ivan Perišić, who’s been converted into a wing-back over the past couple years at Inter Milan (Conte doing another Victor Moses), The 32-year-old is into the last six months of his contract, but apparently if he can’t agree an extension, Inter would be willing to let him go now for a fee rather than having him leave for free in the summer. Perišić, who’s been ever present for the Serie A leaders at left wing-back, scoring four goals, could in theory play on the right as well.
Spurs and Arsenal have also been linked, though apparently Perišić would prefer Chelsea, which speaks to some good decision-making potentially, which we sure could’ve used against Manchester City.
In any case, these are little more than silly rumors at this point, but still better than wallowing in defeat from yesterday.
Meanwhile, Birmingham City manager Lee Bowyer has confirmed that Chelsea are intending to recall young left back Juan Familia-Castillo from his loan as well, presumably with a view towards a new assignment. The 22-year-old former Ajax prospect had made just five appearances in the first-half of the season.