Forget Enzo! Chelsea MUST sign Zakaria after Man City performance

James Shearman
  • Updated: 6 Jan 2023 11:46 GMT
  • 3 min read
Denis Zakaria

Chelsea should sign on-loan midfielder Denis Zakaria after an impressive run of games in the starting lineup.

Zakaria, who signed on a season-long loan deal from Juventus in the summer, had rarely featured for Chelsea prior to the World Cup.

But he was brought into the team for the Blues' 2-0 triumph over Bournemouth after Christmas, winning plaudits for his strong performance.

MORE: Why Badiashile transfer gives Chelsea centre-back conundrum

He then struggled against Nottingham Forest, as did the entire team, but manager Graham Potter kept faith by handing him a start against Manchester City on Thursday.

Alongside Mateo Kovacic, the Switzerland international bossed the centre of the pitch against Pep Guardiola's side.

Offering a physical presence that Chelsea's midfield often lacks, he now looks to have nailed down a place in the side going forward.

The west London club have been looking at strengthening that area of the team, with links to Benfica star Enzo Fernandez.

And further additions still need to be made, with Jorginho and N'Golo Kante likely to leave, but Zakaria's £25 million buy option has to be taken up.

Why Enzo Fernandez deal is off

Chelsea’s move for Enzo Fernandez is on the verge of collapse, with the Premier League side struggling to agree a deal with Benfica for the Argentine midfielder, CBS reporter Ben Jacobs told FootballTransfers.

From Benfica's perspective, they are frustrated with Chelsea, with boss Roger Schmidt accusing the Blues of ‘disrespecting’ the Portuguese outfit and turning Fernandez ‘crazy’.

Schmidt claims that Chelsea intimated verbally they were prepared to pay his €120 million release clause, or somewhere around that figure with a different structure.

However, the Blues flip-flopped by suddenly lowballing Benfica with an offer that was significantly below that value, and reports in Portugal are claiming Chelsea were offering players in exchange and changing their stance day-by-day.

For balance, it's important to state that Chelsea have always maintained that they were never prepared to trigger the release clause, but evidently two strategies were explored; one around or above the release clause with a payment structure that better suited Chelsea and one below the release clause that had more preferable payment terms to Benfica.

Sometimes, of course, a club wants the maximum amount of money, but other times they want a lump sum up front and it can be very valuable to a club to get a lot of money in one go or two goes, so you can understand why Chelsea would look at both approaches.

From the get go, Chelsea said very clearly that they wouldn't be held to ransom and that there was no way they were just going to cave to a bunch of demands if they didn't make both financial and football sense for the club.