Brazilian attacking midfielder Oscar looks set to leave Chelsea in the January transfer window, as he has failed to get a look in from Antonio Conte, who does not see Oscar is his plans. That is due to a change in formation that cannot accommodate an attacking midfielder like the Brazilian. This has meant that he has featured very less and hasn’t played at all, since the change in formation. Shanghai SIPG, a Chinese club with a lot of fortunes, has made a bid of around 60 million pounds for Oscar and it is likely that Chelsea won’t be refusing that kind of money.
That coupled with the fact that John Obi Mikel could also leave means that the Blues will be slightly short on numbers in midfield. Although they don’t need a direct replacement for Oscar, they could be well served by signing a midfielder or two to increase the squad depth Conte has at his disposal. Nemanja Matic and N’golo Kante have been the two undisputed choices for Conte so far this term.
Apart from Cesc Fabregas, the other midfield options at Conte’s disposal are all youthful ones in the form of Loftus-Cheek and Nathaniel Chalobah. Although Conte has shown that he is willing to give youth members a chance, he would be better suited getting an experienced, quality players to share the midfield burden with Kante, Matic and Fabregas.
Here are 3 midfielders that Conte should target in order to increase his squad depth –
Badelj, a Croatian international started his career with Dinamo Zagreb. He later moved to Hamburg and following two successful seasons there, moved to Fiorentina where he has been a permanent fixture in the side. A defensive midfielder by trait, Badelj would certainly fulfill the role asked of Conte to a midfield player at Chelsea.
He has also been an important player for his national team, representing them at the 2014 World cup and Euro 2016.He might be unspectacular in the way he plays, but he could be the perfect replacement for John Obi Mikel. With his contract running out at the end of next year, he could be available for a relatively low fee, which would be business well done for Chelsea.
Dier is one of the most versatile English players that the Premier League has seen. He might have grown up in Portugal, but his heart always remained English. His experiences at Sporting CP have helped him become versatile and he has shown this time and again at Tottenham. When he initially came in, he played at centre back and was later moved into midfield when Pochettino realised that he had a footballing brain and could contribute in midfield.
He has usually slotted in as an anchor, playing behind the attacking midfielders and offering much-needed protection to his defense. Following good performances for Tottenham in midfield, he was played in midfield in English colours too and flourished massively. Recently, he has been out of favour in midfield as Pochettino has preferred the pairing of Wanyama and Dembele. This has seen him move back to defence and that will be a worrying factor for Dier. Chelsea have been linked with a move for him because of his versatility and with Chelsea playing three at the back, Dier could easily slot into that role as well.
The 19-year-old Ivorian midfielder has been receiving rave reviews for his performances at Italian club Atalanta, which has seen an increase in the number of suitors the midfielder has. Along with also impressing for his national team, he has been lauded for his skill set.
He could add something significantly different to what Chelsea already have. He is a box-to-box midfielder that loves getting forward, but at the same time, he remains well aware of his defensive responsibilities. This is something Conte expects of his midfielders at Chelsea and Kessie could deliver the goods. He has been compared to Yaya Toure, another Ivorian midfielder that has been really successful in the Premier League.