Chelsea Opinion: Blues interested in Alexander Isak- a risk worth taking?
According to the Daily Mail, Chelsea are monitoring the progress of Borussia Dortmund striker Alexander Isak very closely with a view to a potential move in the summer.
The same report claims that the Blues want to bring in a young and talented striker after Gonzalo Higuain’s failure to make an impact on his loan spell, although the possibility of new arrivals in the summer solely rests on the verdict of the transfer ban.
Chelsea are probably hopeful of having their two-window transfer ban lifted or postponed, which is the reason why they are continuing to keep tabs on their potential targets. And Alexander Isak is another name on the list, as Maurizio Sarri aims to solve his No.9 woes heading into the upcoming season.
The 19-year-old Swedish international has made a massive impression at Willem II in the Dutch Eredivisie since moving out on loan in January, registering 12 goals and 4 assists from 12 league appearances.
The Stockholm-born towering forward, who has drawn comparisons with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, was snapped up for a fee of £14million by Dortmund from Swedish club AIK in January 2017.
However, he struggled for regular minutes in the Bundesliga and a loan spell in the Netherlands has certainly worked wonders for his development.
Standing at 6ft. 3 inches with a well-built frame, Alexander Isak is a perfect combination of the attributes of a traditional target man and a modern-day dynamic centre-forward.
Capable of playing off the shoulder of the last defender due to his intelligent movement off the ball, Isak knows exactly how to use his massive frame to good effect, often holding on to the ball with his back to the goal and using short exchanges to link up effectively with his teammates in and around the penalty area.
Isak, who already has four senior international caps for Sweden under his belt, can be deceptively quick for a player of his stature.
His wonderful technique on the ball allows him to keep exceptional close control and change gears in the blink of an eye, leaving defenders for dead with his sumptuous first-touch and wonderful dribbling ability.
Dominant in the air and quick across the ground, the youngster not only poses a threat from set-pieces and crosses but he also knows how to time his runs to perfection to get on the end of through balls.
Known for his clinical finishing and wonderful shooting technique, the Swede also has the awareness and the work-rate to drop deep and get involved in the build-up play.
To put things into perspective, Isak would be a wonderful addition to Chelsea’s ranks in the summer. The 19-year-old has been tipped to be Sweden’s next poster boy after Ibrahimovic and he certainly has the talent and the potential to make an impact in the Premier League.
With the futures of Eden Hazard and Olivier Giroud at Stamford Bridge still up in the air and Higuain’s loan spell coming to an end, it is high time for the Blues to invest in young players to bolster their forward line and Isak definitely fits the bill.
Sarri’s future at Stamford Bridge might as well depend on how the team fares in the last few games and a strong finish to the season should see the Italian retain his position at the helm of affairs for another season.
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Isak is not yet the finished product and he is still very much in the developmental phase of his career but Chelsea would bag a massive coup if they manage to land the highly-rated Swedish international this summer.
Chelsea must do everything they can to ensure they beat competition to sign this 24-year-old La Liga powerhouse
Chelsea Opinion: Blues must hold on Mateo Kovacic beyond the summer
According to a recent report from the Daily Mail, Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic, who is currently on loan at Stamford Bridge from Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid, has begun transfer talks with Russian side Zenit St.Petersburg over a potential permanent move in the summer.
It has been suggested that Real Madrid are eager to sell their man in an effort to fund their rather optimistic pursuit of the Blues’ Belgian left-wing magician Eden Hazard.
While Maurizio Sarri has clearly stated that he would like the Croatian World Cup star to stay beyond the end of the current season, his future is certainly up in the air at the moment.
His contract with Chelsea doesn’t have an option to buy built in making the task of signing him permanently all the more difficult for the Blues. Madrid could take an executive decision to sell him to the highest bidder rather to honour any kind of loyalty to Chelsea.
Mateo Kovacic is a 24-year-old creative midfield player with a knack for holding onto the ball well in middle of the park. His movement on the ball is unmatched while his ability to pass and move the opposition around is exceptional as well.
He started his youth career with Ebelsberg but it was at European giants Dinamo Zagreb that he really found his feet. Having made the switch in 2008, he was promoted to the Zagreb first team in 2010. His starring displays for the side from the Croatian capital earned him a move to Serie A superpower Inter Milan in 2013.
After playing in 97 games for Inter and scoring 8 goals on the way, Kovacic’s stellar performances piqued the interest for La Liga monsters Real Madrid in 2015. After moving to Madrid though, his first-team playing time decreased considerably because of the sheer quality of the Los Blancos’ squad.
He has played in over a 100 games for Real Madrid and he’s even managed to score 3 times whiles he’s notched up 8 assists. Very much a player who excels in the centre of the pitch, it’s his contributions in the build up that make the difference rather than his goals return.
Since making the move to Chelsea in the summer, Maurizio Sarri has given him plenty of playing time in the Premier League and in Europe. The Croatian has played in 28 matches in the league this season and he’s even managed a couple of assists despite coming off the bench a lot.
He has played in 49 matches for the Croatian national side and was one of heir star players at the FIFA World Cup in Russia last year. His qualities will certainly help this Chelsea side move forward as a team given the experience that he possesses.
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With an attacking manager like Maurizio Sarri at the helm, Kovacic could really prosper in England in the coming years. All of this, added to the fact that Chelsea may be facing a potential transfer ban, means that they simply can not afford to let the Croatian join Zenit in the summer and must convince Real Madrid to let them sign him in the summer instead
West Ham signing this veteran PL defender would go a long way in fixing their backline woes – Agreed?
West Ham Opinion: Gary Cahill would be a massive coup for the Hammers
According to the Mirror, West Ham have reignited their interest in Chelsea defender Gary Cahill and the Hammers are likely to move for the 33-year-old former England international once his contract at Stamford Bridge expires at the end of the season.
Cahill has been frozen out of the first-team picture by manager Maurizio Sarri and has played a ridiculously low 21 minutes of Premier League football this season, with the Italian preferring Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz at the heart of the defence. The veteran has been used sporadically in the current campaign, with most of his involvement coming in the Europa League and domestic cup competitions.
The Englishman made his move to Stamford Bridge in 2012 from Bolton Wanderers and has enjoyed a trophy-laden spell at Chelsea, including two Premier League titles, two FA Cups and also the Champions League.
Cahill is set to be one of the most high-profile free agents at the end of the season and there should be no shortage of potential suitors for his signature, considering his experience and quality.
The 33-year-old has made a total of 513 senior competitive appearances in all competitions for the likes of Burnley, Sheffield United, Chelsea, Aston Villa and Bolton, with 348 of those coming in the Premier League. He also boasts of an impressive goal tally for a central defender, having found the net on 27 occasions in the Premier League.
To put things into perspective, the acquisition of a player of Cahill’s calibre for absolutely nothing would be a massive coup for West Ham, though the Hammers would have to do really well to beat off competition from other clubs.
The Mirror has pointed out in the report that Cahill wants to play regular first-team football in the Premier League next season and it should be a pleasure for the east Londoners to meet his demands.
West Ham spent a fortune in the transfer window last summer and it is unlikely that Manuel Pellegrini would be handed such a huge transfer budget once again, which should prompt the manager to look for bargain deals and complete some smart signings.
Given that the Hammers haven’t looked too secure at the back in the Premier League this season, someone like Cahill might just be the missing block in the jigsaw puzzle, as Pellegrini looks to build a squad capable of challenging for a Europa League spot.
The Englishman has loads of Champions League experience and getting him on board in the summer would help the manager sort out his problems at the back.
Issa Diop has been a standout figure for the Hammers at the heart of the defence this term since his big-money arrival from Toulouse last summer. However, fellow summer recruit Fabian Balbuena, though impressive at times, has struggled to cope with the pressure of having to deliver the goods week in and week out.
Angelo Ogbonna has enjoyed a prolonged run in the first-team in recent months but the Italian has proven himself to be too error-prone, while Winston Reid apparently has no future at the club.
Suffice to say, the Hammers need to overhaul their defensive options and Cahill perfectly fits the bill.
Cahill’s experience at the highest level combined with his good understanding of the game and supreme aerial ability should make him a wonderful fit for a club like West Ham, and his presence might as well bring the best out of Issa Diop.
He is a calm and composed defender who can add that steel and reliability to a backline that has often crumbled under pressure this season.
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Cahill might be 33 but he still has plenty to offer at the highest level and West Ham can do themselves a world of good by snapping him up in the summer.
Chelsea replacing Eden Hazard with this £70m-rated international winger would be a masterstroke by Sarri
Chelsea Opinion: Blues can replace Eden Hazard with Lille’s Nicolas Pepe
The Blues are said to be targeting boyhood Chelsea fan Nicolas Pepe from Lille as they look towards a future without Eden Hazard to leave them from the front.
It is suggested that the winger would cost the Blues around £70m to bring to Stamford Bridge but with the Belgian’s move to Real Madrid being touted to be a big-money switch, Chelsea shouldn’t have too much trouble in reinvesting their finances in another player.
Chelsea signed Eden Hazard from the same team that Nicolas Pepe currently plays for – LOSC Lille. The deal cost the Blues a bargain £32m all the way back in 2012 – a price that would be a complete joke for a player as talented as the Belgian is in today’s footballing market.
Since making the huge step from the Ligue 1 up to the Premier League, Hazard’s improvement as a player has been meteoric. His pace and dribbling skills are unmatched and he has certainly developed into one of Europe’s highest-rated players.
His influence on this Chelsea side can’t even be quantified as without his unbelievable exploits on a weekly basis, Chelsea wouldn’t be anywhere close to the top of the table, let alone actually fighting for the title in itself. He took no time settling with the football in England and was an instant hit at Stamford Bridge.
Considering that the magnitude of his sheer quality was unknown at the time, the improvement he showed since making the switch is bound to fill Chelsea fans with tons of confidence that if they do go on to sign Nicolas Pepe in the summer, the Ivorian will produce the goods in the royal blue kit.
While the Lille link is obviously going to play a fairly important part if this transfer is to go through, Chelsea’s desperation to make as many signings as possible will also come into the picture. With a potential transfer ban looming and Eden Hazard’s departure looking more and more likely everyday, its about time Chelsea look for direct replacements.
Nicolas Pepe has all the right attributes to come in and do a job for the Blues as his pace and dribbling abilities will suit Maurizio Sarri’s style of play. Young and still able to put in amazing amounts of work, he seems like the kind of player who would prosper in a setup as attacking as Chelsea’s.
His movement down the flanks are bound to cause the Premier League wing-backs troubles as his blistering pace is often too much to handle. His finishing has also turned into one of his strengths as he has proven to the fans through the course of the current Ligue 1 season.
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The 23-year-old has scored a whopping 19 goals and notched up a further 13 assists from his 32 league appearances. These numbers are the sign of a top quality player who is now ready to perform at the highest level and that’s why he can be Chelsea’s best option to replace Eden Hazard with.
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