Chelsea handed major transfer blow as Nicolas Tagliafico makes Barcelona decision
According to ESPN (h/t football.london), Chelsea have been dealt a major blow in their pursuit of a new left-back in the January transfer window, with reported target Nicolas Tagliafico having his heart set on a move to Barcelona.
Blues head coach Thomas Tuchel is desperate for cover at left-back, with defender Ben Chilwell ruled out of this season’s action due to injury. Marcos Alonso is the only senior left-back available in the squad, leaving Chelsea one injury short of a defensive crisis down the left flank.
The west London side failed to recall their on-loan player Emerson Palmieri from Olympique Lyon, as the Ligue 1 side turned down a £3m offer to see him return to Stamford Bridge this month itself. Chelsea continues to be linked to several other targets while the January transfer window is still open, including Stuttgart’s Borna Sosa.
Despite being linked to Tagliafico for the majority of the transfer window, the Argentine seems to have picked Barcelona as his next destination, leaving Chelsea still scrambling for a left-back. Although the move to the Spanish giants has not been confirmed, it seems likely that the Blues have lost out on the Ajax Amsterdam star.
Chelsea are reeling under the effects of losing Chilwell for the rest of the season, looking for possible players who can move to west London on loan till the summer. Alonso is currently the club’s lone specialist left-back, and bringing in cover for him is imperative.
The Blues have had a silent winter transfer window so far, despite being linked to a host of different names. Time is certainly running out for Tuchel to bring in necessary reinforcements, and Tagliafico’s supposed snub has not made the task any easier.
Promote from within?
Tuchel will now be forced to rethink his transfer targets and search for options within the squad. The likes of Malang Sarr have stepped up of late, and the young Frenchman did a fine job at left-back against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend. With time running out, it remains to be seen if the Blues will put their faith in him for the remainder of the campaign.
Apart from Sarr, Tuchel has employed Alonso and used Callum Hudson-Odoi as a makeshift wing-back down the left flank. While we do have stop-gap options, it is debatable whether it will be enough to see us go deep in the cup competitions or challenge for the Premier League title.
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The head coach has learnt that Hudson-Odoi makes for a much better fit in attack, and it remains to be seen whether Sarr can be used as a wing-back. Tuchel certainly is experimenting with what he has available in the squad and will hope that Alonso doesn’t suffer any setbacks of his own.
With Chelsea set to play the Carabao Cup final and the Club World Cup tournament next month, Tuchel will want all his players available and fit. A week is all that he has left to sign a defender in the hopes of fielding a strong side for all possible competitions left to challenge for this season.
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