Why Chelsea must make a move for Ajax left-back Nicolas Tagliafico
According to Calciomercato (h/t The Express), Chelsea have ended their pursuit of Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell and turned their attention to Ajax defender Nicolas Tagliafico.
Ben Chilwell, 23, has been on the radar of Chelsea for some time now, but he has four years remaining on his current deal and Leicester are demanding £80million for his services, the report claims. Hence, the Blues are now studying Nicolas Tagliafico ahead of the summer transfer window. (h/t The Express)
Tagliafico, 27, joined Ajax from Independiente for just £3.6m in 2018. He had a fantastic 2018/19 season with Ajax, scoring six goals and assisting as many in 46 appearances across all competitions. The defender was a regular fixture in Erik Ten Hag’s side, helping the Eredivisie giants reach the Champions League semi-finals last year.
The Argentine international has scored five goals and provided seven assists in 38 appearances across all competitions this term. He is under contract at the Johann Cruyff Arena until 2022. With Tagliafico having enjoyed another impressive campaign with the Dutch giants, Chelsea must look to recruit him this summer.
The Blues have been inconsistent since the turn of the year, yet they have managed to stay 4th in the table before the Premier League season was suspended. The West London outfit have ridden on the success of their youngsters so far and manager Frank Lampard deserves praise for getting the best out of academy players such as Tammy Abraham, Reece James and Mason Mount this term.
After announcing the signing of Hakim Ziyech from Ajax last month, Chelsea must prioritise strengthening their defence in the summer. In addition to a central defender, Lampard should bring in a new left-back to the club.
Cesar Azpilicueta, Emerson Palmieri and Marcos Alonso have all featured at left-back in the current campaign, but none of them have been entirely convincing. Emerson started the season as Lampard’s first-choice left-back and has made 13 Premier League starts over the campaign, but has started only once since the turn of the year due to injury and falling out of favour.
Alonso performed very well of late but question marks remain over his defensive abilities, while Azpilicueta will turn 31 in August. Thus, Lampard needs to find a permanent solution at left-back and he must go for Nicolas Tagliafico.
Tagliafico is known for his versatility as he is capable of playing anywhere on the left flank. Predominantly a left-back, he has also played in a three-man backline and also as a left wing-back at Ajax under Erik Ten Hag.
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The Argentinean international has made 99 appearances for Ajax so far, registering 12 goals and 15 assists. This shows his ability to move forward and contribute to a team’s attack. Tagliafico is 27 and could be a smart signing for Lampard’s side given his experience in European football.
With Azpilicueta ageing and neither Alonso nor Emerson doing enough to warrant a spot at left-back, signing Tagliafico would be a shrewd piece of business for Chelsea.