Do Chelsea need Attila Szalai?

James Shearman 8 Dec 2021 15:04 CET 3 min read
Attila Szalai has been linked with a transfer to Chelsea

Chelsea have been heavily linked with a January move for Fenerbahce defender Attila Szalai.

The Blues were interested in signing a central defender last summer but opted to stick with the current crop, including youngster Trevoh Chalobah.

However, it appears manager Thomas Tuchel is once again keen to strengthen an already excellent backline in the next transfer window.

And Szalai's international boss, Marco Rossi, thinks the 23-year-old's move to west London is all but confirmed.

“Clearly, he has been followed by important clubs in Spain, but apparently his move to Chelsea is a done deal,'' he told Calciomercato. ''He would be a great player also for Italian football.”

The centre-back has been in Turkey for less than 12 months, but has seemingly made enough of an impression to secure a move to one of Europe's top clubs.

And the Super Lig outfit would reportedly command around £20 million from the Blues for his signature, a fee well within their capabilities.

Do Chelsea need Attila Szalai?

Chelsea wanted to sign Sevilla's Jules Kounde in the last transfer window but were priced out of a move after a swap deal involving Kurt Zouma fell through.

However, the rise of 22-year-old Trevoh Chalobah, who spent last season on loan at Lorient in Ligue 1, has filled that void superbly so far.

Instead, the interest in Szalai comes as a result of the Blues' many contract issues.

Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen are all into the final year of their deals, meaning they can leave Stamford Bridge for free at the end of the season.

Club legend Azpilicueta had been expected to stay, although a deal with Barcelona has now been mentioned.

Silva should be handed a year extension, but, at 37, it's only a matter of time before he can no longer produce on a regular basis - despite his best efforts to prove that isn't the case.

Yet, the two most concerning situations are that of Rudiger, 28, and Christensen, 25.

Both players have been outstanding under Tuchel and losing them would be a disaster for Chelsea.

And should that happen, the Blues would need to fill their shoes with a world-class replacement, or two, not just Szalai.

Perhaps Kounde or even Bayern Munich's Niklas Sule would meet those requirements.

The Hungarian target, on the other hand, would likely only be brought in as a backup option, in which case on-loan defender Levi Colwill could be perfectly suited.

Signing Szalai isn't a problem, as long as it isn't to replace Chelsea's outgoing stars.