Opinion: Chelsea should rival Everton for Aaron Wan-Bissaka to solve imbalance in defence

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According to the Daily Mail, Everton are keen on a swoop for Crystal Palace defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka to either replace or serve as a challenge to long-serving right-back Seamus Coleman, but Chelsea should do their utmost to beat the Toffees to the promising defender.

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Wan-Bissaka has been the standout in a less than impressive Eagles side this season, picking up the South London outfit’s player of the month award three times in a row and the man of the match award twice in his ten appearances this season.

The 20-year-old, impressing with his tackling and general tirelessness, has received many plaudits this season and was subject to a huge amount of praise from Match of the Day pundit and Newcastle legend Alan Shearer. Speaking on BBC’s Match of the Day 2 after Crystal Palace’s well earned draw with Arsenal, the 48-year-old said “I thought he (Wan-Bissaka) was absolutely magnificent […] I thought it was an excellent all-round performance”.

The Magpies’ record goalscorer is clearly not the only fan of the Palace academy graduate and Everton see him as a much more likely successor to Coleman than Jonjoe Kenny, however Maurizio Sarri and his Chelsea side need him more than their Premier League rivals do.

Balancing Sarri’s system

The former Napoli boss has got the Blues playing his brand of football, dubbed ‘Sarri-ball’, to great effect. The Stamford Bridge outfit are hot on league leaders Manchester City’s heels as they have gone unbeaten in their first 11 games, winning eight.

The most recent of those was a 3-1 victory over Wan-Bissaka’s Crystal Palace on Sunday, but behind a good result hides a a chink in the armour.

Cesar Azpilicueta has cemented his status as one of the top flight’s best defenders in recent years, winning the title under Antonio Conte in the 2016/17 season and showcasing his versatility across the backline, however he has looked surpringly uncomfortable with the new tactics and formation after being shifted back out to right-back.

The Spaniard was slaughtered on Twitter for his performance against Palace and his numbers show that he is indeed a shell of the player he was in the previous two years.

WhoScored calculates the former Marseille man’s average match rating at 6.95; comparatively, Wan-Bissaka‘s sits at 7.32. The Englishman in fact dominates the Chelsea number-28 in every defensive stat, particularly in tackles and interceptions, where the former has 4.4 and 2.7 to the latter’s 1.8 and 0.7 respectively. Both have recorded an assist each, but the Blues captain has looked highly unlikely to reach last year’s standards where he chalked up six assists in the league, representing his lack of comfort in the new system.

By no means should the 29-year-old be out-right replaced by Wan-Bissaka, but perhaps moved back inside next to Antonio Rudiger where he was so effective under Conte, especially considering rumours that David Luiz could be subject to an approach from Barcelona in the winter window.

Palace’s number-29 would not come cheap but as a young right-back who has already proved he can be among the league’s best, getting him on the books would be a smart bit of business for Chelsea.