Three potential January centre-back targets for Chelsea

The Hard Tackle picks three candidates to bolster the central defensive unit at Chelsea heading into the January transfer window.

Only two months remain for the transfer window to reopen in January. Many well-settled clubs prefer not to venture into the market midway through the season. But others, like Chelsea this term, that have not made an ideal start to their campaigns dip their toes and look for players who can transform their squads.

The Blues have been the most active club in the market in the last three transfer windows. Todd Boehly and his regime have made the club unrecognisable from 18 months ago by signing over two dozen players. But their struggles have only increased in the last two seasons.

Gone are the days when one could easily predict Chelsea as one of the favourites for a top-four finish. Instead, the Blues are a shell of their former selves, struggling to stamp their authority on the Premier League. And while signing a striker is necessary for them to become a top team again, they are also keen on landing a centre-back in the January transfer window.

With that in mind, The Hard Tackle lists three candidates to bolster the Chelsea defence heading into the January transfer window. While there might be Financial Fair Play issues brewing, we have picked three expensive targets, as has been the West London club’s mojo in the market under Boehly and Co.

Antonio Silva

The first two-thirds of our list will have a Portuguese Primeira Liga theme. These candidates are also in their teens, thus fitting into the profile the Blues have targeted in the last three transfer windows. We begin with Antonio Silva.

The Portuguese international is one of the best young defenders in the world after taking age-group football by storm in his homeland. And Silva has taken to the first-team level like a fish to water, becoming a mainstay at the back for his club and country.

A right-footed defender with an eye for a pass, the 19-year-old also reads the game well and does not shy away from putting in a hard tackle. So, with Thiago Silva approaching the end of his glittering career, Silva can be the Brazilian’s long-term successor.

But Chelsea will likely face stiff competition from many other European bigwigs, including Real Madrid, Manchester United, and Liverpool. Meanwhile, recent reports have suggested that Benfica might have to cash in on Silva due to issues on the financial front. So, an opportunity might present itself in the January transfer window, even though the competition might be high.

Ousmane Diomande

The Primeira Liga continues and ends with another young centre-back with a burgeoning reputation. Like Antonio Silva, this player turns out for a well-known club in Portugal. We are talking about Ousmane Diomande.

The Ivory Coast international only joined Sporting CP earlier this year. But he has barely taken any time to establish a foothold in the first-team squad while earning rave reviews for his performances at the heart of the defence.

Like Silva, Diomande is a regular for his club and country despite being only 19 years old. But age is no barrier for the highly-rated centre-back, who provides an imposing presence in and around the box. In addition, he has a blistering recovery pace that helps him keep any and every attacker in check.

But like Silva, the 19-year-old is highly sought-after in the transfer market. Recent reports have linked him with Arsenal, Manchester City, and Manchester United. But while Manchester United might not have the budget to afford him in January, Arsenal and Manchester City will unlikely sign a centre-back this winter. So, that should pave the way for Chelsea to launch the offensive.

Edmond Tapsoba

Our list ends with a trip to Germany, taking a look at one of the best centre-backs in the Bundesliga. Like others in this shortlist, this player is also sought-after in the transfer market. We are talking about Bayer Leverkusen defender Edmond Tapsoba.

The 24-year-old has been among the most underrated defenders in the German top flight for a few years. Meanwhile, he has been a pivotal figure for Bayer Leverkusen, with his stock rising further under Xabi Alonso, who has transformed Die Werkself in the last 12 months.

But the Burkina Faso international is a target for other Premier League bigwigs like Tottenham and Arsenal, who might be more attractive destinations than Chelsea. However, the West London club can offer better terms on their contract offer.

Meanwhile, a bigger obstacle for Chelsea might be convincing Bayer Leverkusen to part ways with Tapsoba. The 24-year-old recently signed a new contract with the German outfit. In addition, with Bayer Leverkusen topping the table and in the title race, Die Werkself might not want to alter the squad midway through the season.

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