In Focus: Chelsea would benefit from Roberto’s versatility

Chelsea and Manchester United are prepared to pay Sergi Roberto’s £34m release clause, with the player on the verge of quitting Barcelona, according to Sport.

What’s the word?

The 25-year-old, who came through the Catalan giants’ academy, is believed to be considering his future after a difficult pre-season.

Head coach Ernesto Valverde has opted against using the versatile player, and he was named among the substitutes for Sunday’s Spanish Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid.

According to Sport, Roberto could decide to leave this week following the arrival of Paulinho, which is expected to limit the Spaniard’s game time even further.

The Spanish publication claims that Chelsea and United are willing to pay the £34m release clause in Roberto’s contract, which has two years left to run.

It is believed that AC Milan and Juventus have also expressed an interest, but the player is keen to test himself in the Premier League.

Why would he fit in at Chelsea?

Roberto’s versatility makes him a desirable target for many clubs, but his ability to play on the flanks would particularly work at Stamford Bridge.

The defending Premier League champions operate with wing-backs, which is a role that Roberto would be able to slot into comfortably.

As well as providing competition on the right-hand side, the Spaniard is equally comfortable playing in the middle.

With the Blues returning to the Champions League this season, they need as much strength in depth as possible to cope with the demand.

Having a player with proven experience in Europe and playing at an elite level will only benefit Chelsea, who are in need of some extra bodies.

So far this summer, manager Antonio Conte has recruited four new faces, including Willy Caballero, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Antonio Rudiger and Alvaro Morata.

They have lost key players in John Terry and Nemanja Matic, while Diego Costa’s future remains uncertain.