Which Left-back Should Chelsea Sign This Summer?

It may surprise many, but despite the vast number of players recruited by Chelsea, the squad is incomplete in a few areas, with the left-back department coming into question in recent weeks. Reports indicate the club will pursue a young left-back in the upcoming summer transfer window to bolster the defensive unit.

With Ben Chilwell’s unreliable fitness, Ian Maatsen to be likely sold to help meet profit and sustainability rules (PSR), and Marc Cucurella deemed unsuitable to carry the left-back position in the long-term, Chelsea will need to profile appropriate candidates that suit their requirements.

This article will recommend five sensible options that Chelsea could consider as their next left-back, age 25 or under, who would not cost a fortune and is a long-term investment.

Miguel Gutiérrez (22 years) – Girona

If Chelsea wants to sign the most exciting young left-back talent in Europe, there is no better answer than Miguel Gutiérrez. The former Real Madrid academy player has proved to be a revelation in Girona’s surprising title push.

Gutiérrez is an all-rounder who will complement any tactical system. He is a capable defender, an efficient crosser, and tidy in tight spaces. Moreover, the Spaniard can overlap, underlap, and invert into midfield with remarkable quality.

Although Chelsea seems unlikely to qualify for Europe despite a last-minute opportunity to break into the top six still statistically open and an entry into the Europa League through winning the FA Cup a possibility, the sporting directors could persuade Gutiérrez to join the West Londoners by selling their long-term project. However, the biggest hurdle will be convincing Girona, who is part of the City Football Group, to release their starlet to a Premier League rival.

Sergi Cardona (24 years) – Las Palmas

Sticking with La Liga, Sergi Cardona of Las Palmas is a marauding fullback who ventures forward when his team is in possession and is a tenacious ball-winner when defending.

Having been with Las Palmas for the past four years, Cardona was instrumental for his team as they ascended from the second to the first division of Spanish football. He has continued to be a crucial player in his team’s exceptional La Liga campaign, as they sit pretty in the top half of the table.

Cardona has subtly endured a successful campaign at a personal level despite his team struggling to score goals. Cardona’s goals and assists tally is humble, but the underlying metrics reflect that he has produced some of the best offensive output among La Liga fullbacks.

The Spanish defender poses a low-risk high-reward alternative that Chelsea’s sporting directors might consider, given that Girona might command a hefty fee for Gutiérrez and, more importantly, with Cardona’s contract expiring this June, the Las Palmas left-back could join the Blues for free if he does not sign a contract extension.

Andrea Cambiaso (24 years) – Juventus

Juventus has undergone a resurgence under Massimiliano Allegri this season, with many, including Andrea Cambiaso, blossoming for the Bianconeri. The Italian youngster has been a revelation – capable of playing at left-back, right-back, and as an inverted fullback.

In possession, Cambiaso is simply exceptional. The composure, vision, and game intelligence showcased by the Juventus starlet are well beyond his years. Although Cambiaso’s defence know-how at the top level remains an area of slight uncertainty, his on-ball flair could be a key weapon for Mauricio Pochettino.

Moreover, Cambiaso’s versatility will allow the Chelsea manager to execute in-game tactical tweaks and shift between different systems. Although the Blues would have to go to lengths to secure a deal, it is a challenge worth pursuing due to the immense potential of the Juventus gem.

Alfie Doughty (24 years) – Luton Town

If Chelsea desire a like-for-like Chilwell replacement, look no further than Luton Town’s Alfie Doughty. The English left-back is a hardworking and tenacious left-back who is arguably the best crosser on this list.

The former National League player has risen through the English divisions whose playstyle and ball-striking ability are also reminiscent of Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson. Under Rob Edwards, Doughty is an adventurous left wing-back in a back-five system who is an influential contributor to Luton’s offensive unit.

Despite accumulating an impressive seven assists already in the Premier League, Doughty’s standout attribute is his work-rate on and off the ball. With a contract expiring in June this year, Chelsea could secure a savvy deal for free or a generous free transfer that will undoubtedly pay huge dividends.

David Raum (25 years) – RB Leipzig

With Chelsea lacking experienced figureheads in the dressing room and Thiago Silva likely to depart in the summer, it would be wise for the sporting directors to fill the void with another leader.

David Raum duly fits that profile. At 25 years old, Raum is an established left-back for RB Leipzig and one of the best in the Bundesliga. He would also bring experience from the 2022 World Cup, where he started all three group-stage matches for Germany. Moreover, Raum has played over 200 games and boasts an impressive assists tally of 42 in his career.

With the captain and vice-captain constantly injured, an experienced player entering his physical prime would be a sensible addition that Lawrence Stewart and Paul Winstanley must consider.

The sporting directors have various routes they can pursue depending on the tactical profile, among other factors, they believe will best suit Chelsea. This is irrespective of whether Pochettino remains at the club moving forward.

Although there are world-class options like Inter Milan’s Federico Dimarco, Alphonso Davies of Bayern Munich, and Álex Grimaldo, they are bound to cost Chelsea upwards of €50 million. With Chelsea owners keeping an eye on PSR regulations that have hit Everton and Nottingham Forest hard, the players listed above are more financially sensible alternatives that do not carry the same price tag but will provide value for money.

Chelsea will hope to secure a crafty fullback like Malo Gusto, who has hit the ground running at Stamford Bridge. It will be intriguing to see who the sporting directors pursue, but European qualification will go a long way to convincing their candidates to trust the Chelsea project.

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