Chelsea aren’t one to rest on their oars despite some very impressive performances of recent and are already making plans for quality reinforcements come January.
Algeria international and Napoli fullback Faouzi Ghoulam is reportedly a January transfer target for the Pensioners, with them keen to pay up to £24 million for the 25-year-old.
Why is Conte is willing to make another bid for a player that rejected a Stamford Bridge move in summer, and what is he able to add to the squad in the eventuality of his arrival?
Faouzi Ghoulam is a left-back who rose from within the youth ranks of Saint-Étienne, forced himself into the first team at 19 and appeared as a regular for the next 2 seasons before moving to Napoli in the summer of 2013.
At the Serie A giants, the French-born North African quickly established himself as part of Rafa Benitez’ starting XI, helping the Naples club to a 3rd place in the league at the end of the season.
His form since arriving Napoli has attracted a lot of top sides, and both Chelsea and Manchester City were interested in luring him to the EPL in the summer, while Arsenal considered signing him last summer during their search for a left-back.
Obviously, that form hasn’t diminished, and it why Conte, who has always kept an eye on him since his days in the Juventus dugout is still very much interested in him.
Style of Play
Does he have the capability to play as a wing back or he is mainly a defender?
His major strengths have been underlined as key passes, passing, aerial duels and holding on to the ball, however, he isn’t the best tackler there is.
At the moment, Ghoulam has 3 league assists in 13 Serie A appearances and averages an 88% pass accuracy per game.
Standing at 6 ft 2 in, the Algeria international is also a strong player in the air and has won 1.3 aerial duels on an average per match.
Faouzi Ghoulam loves to go forward on the overlap frequently and is always keen to supply crosses into the opponent’s box. He has thus far created 22 chances, has averaged 0.8 shots per game with a 71% shot accuracy.
The 25-year-old contributes 3 defensive actions per game, and in total has made 11 interceptions, 30 clearances, 4 blocks and won 10 tackles.
Where will he fit in
At the moment, providing stiff competition and perhaps serve as a better replacement for Alonso on the left wingback role is a reason why Ghoulam is being monitored.
Being able to overlap with ease means he could provide similar to the strength and vigour Moses gives at the other flank, covering as much as 70 meters back and forth the left flank during games.
What does he bring to Chelsea
Faouzi Ghoulam brings a lot to the table in terms of not only offering keen competition for the left wing-back role and also on the left of the back 3, his quality means Chelsea can become well stock in defence in preparation for the second half of the season.
The defender also has a lot of Champions League experience, and it’s something Chelsea can do with in the coming season when they make a return to European football.