Why Danilo would be a good long-term investment for Chelsea
According to the Daily Express, Chelsea have identified Nice midfielder Danilo Barbosa as a cheaper alternative to top target Declan Rice. The Blues have been left frustrated in their efforts to get a deal over the line for Rice, with West Ham refusing to lower their £80million asking price for the England international.
Frank Lampard’s side still retain an interest in re-signing their former academy reject and could make a move in January or next summer, but they are ready to consider other options as well.
Atalanta star Marten de Roon has been lined up as a potential target on a free transfer next summer but Chelsea also have Brazil U-23 international Danilo on their radar as a younger option.
Danilo rose through the youth ranks of Vasco da Gama in his native Brazil before completing a move to Europe with Portuguese outfit Braga in the summer of 2014. The highly-rated defensive midfielder quickly established himself as a regular starter at Braga, with his consistently impressive performances paving the way for a loan move to Valencia in 2015.
The 24-year-old enjoyed a successful loan spell in Spain, making 34 appearances for Valencia in all competitions during the 2015-16 campaign. He subsequently had temporary stints at Benfica and Standard Liege before returning to Braga for the 2017-18 season, where he helped them to a 4th-place finish in the Primeira Liga.
Danilo was snapped up by Nice for a fee of £9million in the summer fo 2018 and has since racked up 44 appearances for the French club in all competitions, scoring once.
Danilo would add more depth to Chelsea’s midfield
Chelsea aren’t really crying out for cover in the middle of the park, with established players like Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante and Jorginho competing for places in Lampard’s ranks. The Blues also boast one of the hottest young talents in the Premier League in Billy Gilmour, so they certainly don’t need to go berserk in search of a new midfielder.
Truth be told, Chelsea shouldn’t hesitate to explore other avenues if West Ham refuse to budge on their massive valuation of Declan Rice. That’s not to undermine Rice’s status as one of the best young defensive midfielders in English football, but the Blues don’t really need to plan such a massive outlay when they have already got quality players in that department.
Jorginho remains very much a part of Lampard’s plans. Hence, the Blues ideally need to look for a squad player rather than a world-class talent in the middle of the park.
Danilo, to that end, presents a quality option in the right age bracket for Chelsea. The Brazilian star has already recorded more than 150 club career appearances playing top-flight football in Spain, Portugal, France and Belgium combined. He has been fairly impressive wherever he has played and at 24, the time might just be right for him to make the step up to the Premier League.
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Jorginho has often struggled to produce his best while Kante has had his fair share of troubles with injuries over the past 12 months. Hence, a potential deal for Danilo in January would offer Lampard some valuable cover in the middle of the park.