After a disastrous last season, where Chelsea recorded the worst title defence in the history of the Premier League, The Blues will be looking to restore their lost pride under the managerial leadership of Antonio Conte. The former Juventus manager has already started stamping his authority on the squad. He is a no-nonsense kind of a man, therefore any player who he feels is surplus to requirements will be shown the exit door. Conte is currently in the market for a defender who can shore up the porous defensive line from last season and a quality striker, given his preference for two strikers up front.
This week Schalke signed Chelsea defender Baba Rahman on a season-long loan. The Ghana international joined Chelsea last summer from Bundesliga side Augsburg on a five-year deal. He made his Chelsea debut in the Champions League and then went on to make 23 appearances last season. The 22-year-old will reunite with his former Augsburg manager Markus Weinzierl, who took over as Schalke manager in June. His departure has left Chelsea defensive line fairly short of left-back options, which might force Conte hands into buying a left-back in the coming few weeks. Here we look at 3 players who could fill the void left by Rahman.
There have been strong rumors over the past week linking Aries with a move to Stamford Bridge. The PSV Eindhoven full-back is capable of playing on either side of the defense, something that will definitely interest Conte as looks to create a healthy competition in his squad. Conte is supposedly a big admirer of the Columbian international, is rumored to have sent scouts last week to watch him in action. Arias made 32 appearances for PSV last season, his third with the Dutch club. With his experience and solidity at the back, he will definitely be an upgrade over Rahman.
Rodriguez has been linked with a host of clubs this summer, including the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea. The 23-year-old was very impressive for the Swiss national team in the recently-concluded European Champions. He is excellent going forward without forgetting his defensive duties, something Conte will surely admire. He also provides a threat from dead ball situation. Rodriguez made 25 appearances for Wolfsburg last season. His natural position is on the left side, therefore he will be a perfect replacement for the outgoing Rahman.
Bertrand is part of the ever-growing list of players that Chelsea allowed to leave and regretted later. The England international was a very important part of the Champions League-winning team of 2012 but soon was sold to Southampton, where he has improved leaps and bounds. The fact that the 26-year-old was the only Southampton to be part of the PFA team of the year last year, shows how much he has improved over the past few years. Although the defender recently signed a contract extension, bringing him back would be a very wise move by Conte, as he is only going to get better from here on.