Transfer News: Chelsea interested in Barcelona wonderkid Alejandro Balde
To solve their current defensive crisis, Chelsea are understood to be interested in 18-year-old Barcelona left-back Alejandro Balde.
The young Spaniard is a product of the fabled La Masia, and has so far made seven appearances for the senior team in total – including two in last season’s Champions League group stage.
As per Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo (h/t Daily Mail), Chelsea are interested in Balde’s profile. The left-back is capable of operating as a left wingback as well as a left midfielder, which is likely to appeal very much to Thomas Tuchel, who plays with marauding full-backs.
It is believed that the Blues have also gone as far as establishing contact with Balde’s agent Jorge Mendes to signal their interest. Chelsea had apparently enquired about the teenager last summer and even the year before, so it appears that the Blues’ interest has been long-standing.
Balde has been capped 5 times by Spain U19. For his club career, he is understood to be looking for more opportunities at the senior level this summer and wants to leave Barcelona if they plan on using him as a fringe player.
Is Balde ready for the Premier League?
The left-back has a contract till 2024, which includes an astronomical £427million release clause. Still only 18, but Balde has an impressive profile. Is he Premier League level though? Not yet. However, he can prove to be a valuable signing for Chelsea.
Marcos Alonso has already stated his desire to leave for Barcelona, with captain Cesar Azplicueta also attracting strong interest from the Catalan side. Chelsea, in that case, would be smart if they can somehow use this situation to their advantage when it comes to potentially signing the teenager.
Balde won’t walk into the starting XI just yet, but can provide valuable cover to first-choice left-back/left wingback Ben Chilwell. With Chelsea expected to challenge on all fronts for silverware, Balde will get his fair share of starts and a chance to shine.
He is still very young and could prove to be an asset in a few years’ time. Under Tuchel, he will have the privilege of an excellent mentorship. Balde’s versatility leaves the door open for the German to try the youngster in a different position on the left, quite similar to when he experimented with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic as wingbacks. Let’s wait and see what happens.
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But it is important that he gets minutes. If he really does want to leave a behemoth in Barca due to playing time, he would naturally expect a better role at any new club he joins. Chelsea would perhaps be able to offer that, especially if Alonso leaves.
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