After an impressive display at the World Cup, Aleksandr Golovin looked set to relish the Premier League challenge with Chelsea. With Golovin declining a move to the Serie A giants, Juventus, the deal seemed as if it was sure to materialize particularly with the influence of Russian links to the club.
In a tumultuous sequence of events, Golovin opted to join Monaco instead and the Russian will ply his trade in the Ligue 1 next season. Nevertheless, here are some alternatives that Chelsea can still acquire if Maurizio Sarri chooses to strengthen his midfield:
The 25-year-old Brazilian is currently a free agent after spending 5 seasons in Ukraine with Shakhtar Donetsk. A part of Brazil’s 2013 Confederations Cup campaign and 2014 World Cup team, Bernard may not have the physical presence due to his lean and diminutive structure but he makes up for it with his superior technical abilities.
Bernard also has exposure at the highest level, having played for Shakhtar in the Champions League and UEFA Europa League.
He may just be the perfect fit for Sarri’s midfield with his improvisation, agility, pace and ability to take quick turns and make key defence-splitting passes. In the final third, Bernard is comfortable with both feet and he also performs impressive dribbles and layoffs. If Chelsea are looking to add flair and flamboyance to their midfield, Bernard will be an ideal choice.
The 20-year-old Jamaican has had a good 2017/18 season with Bayer Leverkusen, after leaving Belgian giants Genk where he had won the Young Player Of the Season award. Although Bailey is not an expert at holding onto the ball or making tackles, he can add good value to either flank with his itchy and nimble feet which can outsmart defenders.
A good crosser and dribbler, Bailey can provide that much-needed energy down the wings with sudden bursts of pace. In addition, he can also play either as a left or right winger in place of Hazard/Willian in Sarri’s preferred 4-3-3.
He also has a good knack of scoring goals, chipping in with 9 goals and 6 assists last season.
With Golovin out of the picture, Chelsea must turn their attention to Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. The Blues had already tabled a whopping £115m bid for the 23-year-old earlier but they must go in with an improved offer.
The attacking midfielder has shown the potential to be one of world’s best. Savic not only has the ideal physicality to survive in the most competitive league in the world but he also provides a perfect balance of attack and defence.
He is nothing short of a complete midfield package. The Serbian excels in aerial duels and ball-winning, in addition to his attacking prowess which allows him to supply those crucial through balls to the attackers up front.
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His dynamic, versatile and free-flowing style of play is not only pleasing to the eye but also adds that spice to the midfield.
A tactician and a perfect ball distributor, Savic should excel under Maurizio Sarri’s style of play. Considering the fact that he is just 23, Chelsea can continue to expect good things from him in the coming seasons as well.