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Chelsea can forget about Gvardiol with swoop for Benoit Badiashile

Chelsea boss Graham Potter is searching for a new left-sided centre-back with credentials of the highest class to kickstart his tenure at the club.

What’s the word?

With intense speculation over the future of Croatia’s World Cup star Josko Gvardiol over the past several weeks, it seemed Chelsea were going to unleash the heavy artillery on the precocious ace. 

While that remains in question, The Athletic are now reporting that AS Monaco’s Benoit Badiashile is the frontrunner for a move to Stamford Bridge, with the Blues said to be keen on the defender.

A fee of roughly £30m has been quoted, which is dwarfed by the lucrative €100m (£85m) demands of RB Leipzig for Gvardiol, consequently bolstering Badiashile’s hope of joining the west London giants. 

“Complete”

Since Todd Boehly assumed the ownership role at Chelsea earlier this year, there has been a clear discernible trend to the transfer activity – with the onus on signing talented young prospects and developing them at Stamford Bridge. 

Badiashile, 21 years old, is an imposing 6 foot 4 colossus who exhibits ball-playing prowess and fearsome physicality in abundance, the key attributes for a prosperous modern defender at a top outfit.

Having made 135 appearances for Monaco since rising through the youth ranks, Badiashile has netted six goals and served three assists, distinguishing himself as one of Europe’s most promising youngsters.

With Potter’s desire to play slick, fluid transitional football, it is paramount that the titan’s at the back can contribute toward the offensive drives at the opposing net, and Badiashile, hailed as a “complete defender” by talent scout Jacek Kulig, indeed fits this bill.

As per FBref, the Frenchman ranks within the top 7% for progressive passes and the top 9% for non-penalty goals when compared against positional peers across Europe’s major leagues this past year. 

There is a clear indication that Badiashile boasts the specific set of attributes required to flourish at this current Chelsea side, and the Blues would indeed notch up a gear with his deployment into the starting fold. 

He would be a worthy alternative to Gvardiol; the 20-year-old Leipzig ace is certainly one of the premier defenders in the game right now, but with a transfer fee almost certainly doubling – at least – what Boehly could clinch Badiashile for, it is really a no-brainer in which move Chelsea should forge, consequently leaving ample funds to target other areas of the pitch.

With Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger both departing the Blues on free transfers last summer, moves were made to replace the dynamic duo – Wesley Fofana arrived from Leicester City in a deal worth up to £75m, and Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for £33m.

Despite these acquisitions, Chelsea have failed to find the level of defensive resilience that has gone in tandem with the club’s success for many years now, currently languishing in seventh place with just 17 points from 14 matches, in part due to Fofana’s injury problems and the 31-year-old Koulibaly’s inconsistency, and Badiashile could alleviate such concerns with swift conviction.