Why Chelsea targeting Elseid Hysaj would be a good move
According to The Sun, Chelsea can now reignite their interest in Napoli full-back Elseid Hysaj with his contract set to expire at the end of this season.
In a major turn of events, what seems to be an appalling loss for the Naples side has proved to be a blessing in disguise for the Blues, who suffered last time around.
Manager Frank Lampard and his Chelsea side will now be eager to grab the Albanian international’s signature when his side’s transfer ban gets lifted on July 1, 2020.
Hysaj, who has fallen down the pecking order under current boss Carlo Ancelotti since the arrival of Giovanni Di Lorenzo, has made only four appearances this season.
After joining Napoli in the summer of 2015 from FC Empoli, Hysaj had grown into one of the undisputed starters in the side until Ancelotti’s arrival last year.
A veteran of 174 games for the Naples outfit, Hysaj is an experienced campaigner with ample game time under his belt.
Functioning primarily as a right-back, Hysaj is also comfortable slotting in on the left-hand side of the pitch as he has done in so many fixtures for the Serie A side.
An attacking full-back, the Albanian is blessed with good first touch and is an excellent passer of the ball.
Also, if under pressure, Hysaj makes good use of his strength by shielding the ball until the right option to pass falls in front of him.
Statistically, the Albanian defender has recorded an average pass success percentage of 85% or above in his previous four years, which reverberates the full-back’s passing prowess, according to Whoscored.
Meanwhile, Hysaj could be the perfect long-term replacement for Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta who is already in his 30’s now.
The Chelsea right-back is still one of the best in the business and has, over a period of eight years, grown into a fan favourite and a legend with the club, winning the premier league title twice (2014-15, 2016-17).
However, Chelsea’s new academy product Reece James has got into Lampard’s good books, and could soon replace Azpilicueta as the Blues first-choice right-back if he continues his good form.
With Lampard keeping his faith in his young guns rather than the old guards, it needs to be seen if a move to London would indeed be a journey to greener pastures for the Napoli defender.
Unlike conventional wing-backs, Hysaj is not much of a crosser – his mere eight assists from five seasons is an example of that.
With just two right-backs at the moment, Chelsea does not have many options at the back, and Hysaj’s arrival could create a healthy competition for the first-team spot.
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This would, in fact, provide Lampard with further options in the defence to choose from.
Barring his inability to deliver crosses into the opposition box, the Albanian is otherwise a highly operative defender and an investment worth the money.