Chelsea woke up and chose panic on Transfer Deadline Day, suddenly realizing that we really do in fact need a defensive midfielder — a bit like when you realize with dripping dread that the school assignment or work project you’ve been putting off for the last three months is in fact due today.
That said, our solution is not the worst, and certainly has plenty of upside, with Chelsea agreeing a last-minute loan for Denis Zakaria with Juventus, which also includes a buy-option reportedly around £30m. (So basically the Saúl Ñíguez gambit from last season.) It took a few extra minutes to announce this past the 11pm deadline on September 1, but eventually it arrived.
The 25-year-old earned himself a pretty good reputation as he developed into a defensive force in the Borussia Mönchengladbach midfield, and leveraged that into a move to Juventus back in January: Gladbach choosing to cash in with six months left on a contract he didn’t want to extend. But the Juve move has not turned out so well, with an adductor injury restricting him to just 13 appearances and getting apparently conflicting messaging from the club hierarchy about his future already as well.
He had been linked with a few other teams as well this summer, but Chelsea swooped in today and got things done.
Welcome, Denis, let’s win some things!