As Antonio Conte looks to add nitrous to his Premier League title bid, it is thought that he will dip back into the transfer market to add a bit more guile to his central midfield position.
And to do that, he is looking at Inter Milan’s Croation star Marcelo Brozovic and is ready to make a 20m euros offer. It is thought that Conte was close to signing the midfielder in the summer window but a £21million move broke down.
It would represent a meteoric rise for the 24 year old, who has spent just under two years at Inter Milan after plying his trade in Croatia. Whilst at Inter, he had to fight his way into a line-up that included many midfield stars during his spell there. He has had competition from the likes of Gary Medel, Felipe Melo, Geoffrey Kondogbia, and Freddy Guarin.
The list of clubs that have been interested in signing him doesn’t stop at Chelsea. Both Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona have also shown an interest, a sign of just how technically gifted the midfielder is.
He is a player in the mould of recent Croatian midfield stars Luka Modric and Ivan Rakatic, a midfielder with great vision and passing ability, capable of both scoring and creating goals.
It will perhaps be the midfielders versatility that has impressed Conte. He is able to play in various roles in central midfield, and would represent a great partner for either Kante or Matic – a partnership that at times has looked a little limited technically.
However this may mean that the recently stubborn Chelsea defence doesn’t get the same protection as Brozovic isn’t the most imposing player physically and whether he is capable of dealing with the physical demands of a Premier League midfield battle remain to be seen.
However, as seen by the success of Luka Modric in the league, physical ability isn’t always a problem as long as you have great movement and passing ability. Plus in Croatia, they build them tough. A midfield battle in the Premier League sometimes looks like a day at the Chelsea flower show for people that have come through the ranks playing in the Croatian leagues.
It is thought that midfielder Cesc Fabregas is going to be shown the door at the London club, which highlights the need for a midfield schemer. The Spanish international is only 29, but is reigniting the thought that players who start their professional careers early start to fade a lot sooner than others. Wayne Rooney is another example of this.
But currently, Fabregas offers the only midfield presence that is capable of pulling the strings in deeper positions, and it is likely that he is the man that Brozovic would replace.
There is no doubt that Brozovic is the type of player that Chelsea need if they are to move to the next level and play football that is a little bit more expansive. And as shown by his adaptability and how quickly he made the transition from Croatian football to Italy, you wouldn’t bet against him taking to English football like a duck to water and adding an important string to the Chelsea bow.