Chelsea have a ton of sorting out to do before they get underway for the next Premier League campaign. The Blues’ dismal domestic campaign has left Antonio Conte’s future in doubt. The Italian did manage to lift the FA Cup trophy but besides that, the club had a rather forgettable season.
The Londoners are linked with a move to bring in Maurizio Sarri as their new manager and it seems like it’s just a matter of time before he makes his arrival. If the deal goes through, Sarri must reinforce Chelsea’s forces in several areas. And according to reports, the Blues are interested in signing Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan.
The Belgian failed to make it to the World Cup squad, meaning this is the ideal time for the club to make a move. However, the competition to sign him is quite intense. Thus, Chelsea must have a contingency plan and here, we take a look at two players who could be perfect replacements for Nainggolan.
Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)
Despite winning the Premier League title with Manchester City, Gundogan could be interested in a move. The 27-year-old joined City in 2016 but has only made a total of 40 appearances, scoring 7 goals and producing 2 assists. He has found playing time hard to come by under Pep Guardiola, with the likes of David Silva and Fernandinho in the squad.
Last season, he made 30 appearances in the league, racking up 4 goals and providing a single assist during that time. The German is a skilled player on the ball, with fantastic control and passing ability. In fact, the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder completed 167 passes in a 1-0 win against Chelsea last season.
Given his talent, the Blues must table a bid for the player. Gundogan has the ability to look short passes to release the team on the counter. He might not be a goalscoring machine but he is certainly an excellent distributor of the ball. He will be a great signing for the team, especially since Ross Barkley has failed to make an impact so far.
Ander Herrera (Manchester United)
The Spanish midfielder joined the club in 2014 and has gone on to make a total of 110 appearances, scoring 10 goals and providing 14 assists over that time. Though the player has been at the club for 4 years now, he is yet to nail down a starting spot.
Manchester United have signed Fred this summer, meaning Herrera will only fall further down the pecking order. The Spaniard is often praised for his work ethic and stamina behind the ball.
In 13 Premier League games last season, the midfielder averaged an 87.6% pass success rate. Chelsea could use a passer like him in the middle of the park. The move would be controversial, given the close rivalry and beef between the two clubs. However, Herrera could be tempted to make the move in search of regular minutes.