There’s only one subject on the lips of Chelsea rumour mongerers at the moment – defensive reinforcements for the January transfer window. Indeed, the Blues have already conceded nine Premier League goals this season, averaging out at 1.2-per-match, and Antonio Conte’s decision to switch to a back three against Hull City last Saturday, inspiring a 2-0 win at the KCOM Stadium, has only further added to speculation of defenders arriving at Stamford Bridge in the new year.
Whilst a number of British sources, such as The Express, have ran with Il Messaggero‘s update on Chelsea’s pursuit of Stefan de Vrij, a rival report from the Italian press has caught our attention. Indeed, TransferMarketWeb claim Chelsea have been scouting Villarreal centre-half Mateo Musacchio, who they rate at £26million.
Those with their ears to the ground when it comes to Premier League transfer rumours might remember Musacchio from summer 2014 – when he was strongly linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur. However, the Lilywhites failed to agree terms with Villarreal and the Argentine and eventually signed Sevilla skipper Federico Fazio instead. Arsenal, meanwhile, moved for Musacchio’s centre-back partner Gabriel Paulista in the subsequent January transfer window.
Villarreal were famed for their high defensive line during Gabriel and Musacchio’s partnership (although the now-Gunners star shared game-time with Jose Dorado), largely due to their shared combination of aggression and speed – helping the Yellow Submarines claim the second-best goals conceded record outside of the top four during the 2013/14 season.
A speedy defence isn’t exactly Antonio Conte’s style but the Argentina international’s relative pace makes him a suitable candidate for the outside centre-back positions in the kind of three-man line utilised against Hull City last weekend. He’s also solid on the ball, if not a little slight for the Premier League.
Here’s a look at the 26-year-old in action: