Connect in the back of the net

It has been a crazy, inflated transfer window for clubs around Europe. With the new season approaching, money has been splashed around, with 30 million pounds seen as a normal fee for players.

This has been the same for Chelsea Football Club, who have spent over  100 million pounds on players this summer, with 58 million (rising to 70 million) on Alvaro Morata, who is now Chelsea’s record signing, albeit for the time been.

Another player that has been linked with Chelsea all summer is Alex Sandro of Juventus. The saga has been on and off, with a 60 million pound price tag placed on the player’s head, which would make him the most expensive defender in the world if a deal materialise.

The question here is, why does Antonio Conte want acquire Sandro and is he worth the quoted value?

 

Position flexibility

It is not a surprise for Conte for pursuing players, who can play in more than one position.

This can be seen with the acquisition of Marcos Alonso, who can either play left back or wing back and Victor Moses (who Conte reintroduce after three seasons away from the club), who can be deployed as a winger or as right wing back, where he flourished last season at Chelsea.

Alex Sandro contains similar traits of both Alonso and Moses. Last season, Sandro played in both left back (17 app) and was deployed in a wing back position (15 app). Furthermore, Sandro enjoys tackling, attempting 2.9 tackles a game according to WhoScored.

This indicates that Sandro has the flexibility and is comfortable in playing in both positions, which appeals to Conte’s style of play.

 

Attacking mentality

Although primarily a defender, Sandro can also provide an attacking threat when needs be. Sandro was called upon by Juventus to play higher up the field and was once used in the forward line.

Furthermore, Sandro scored three goals and provided four assists in Serie A last season, which shows he can be as dangerous going forward as he is marshalling the defence.

Additionally, Sandro enjoys taking on players and is known putting in crosses from the flanks, which is ideal for any hit man in front of goal. From a passing perception, Sandro has completed just under 85% of his passes in 2310 minutes of Serie A football.

This signifies he has composure on the ball and has the ability to pick out players with his passes.

 

A proven winner

It is not just his playing style that entices Conte, it is also the winning mentality Alex Sandro offers.

To date, Sandro has won titles in Italy, Portugal (FC Porto), while also picking up the Copa  Libertadores while at Santos. He also reached the Champions League final last season, which should provide pivotal European experience for Chelsea’s return this coming season if Sandro joins.

Although this feature is not primarily essential for Conte and Chelsea, it does indicate that Sandro has the assertive to be a champion and can cope with the pressure that comes with it.

 

Is he worth it?

With the massive price tag on his head, one must ponder the question is Sandro worth it?

From an idealistic perspective, no as his value seems excessive. If Sandro had the same experiences and skills five years ago, he would be valued around 25-30 million pounds, which would be a more realistic price.

However, giving the fact the inflation of transfer fees in the current window and Juventus not willing to depart with Sandro cheaply (due to the loss of Leonardo Bonucci to AC Milan), this price tag seems acceptable in this current market.

Curiously, with reports suggesting Juventus are interested in Chelsea player Nemanja Matic, one must wonder can a cheaper deal be struck between the two clubs.

 

Are there alternatives?

Despite their continuous pursuing of Sandro, they are other “cheaper” alternatives who can fit the bill at Stamford Bridge.

One is old boy Ryan Bertrand, who was linked with Manchester City earlier in the summer. Bertrand has come off an impressive season at Southampton, where he reached the League Cup final and was named in the PFA team of the year in the 14/15 season.

Additionally, Bertrand receives regular England call ups and also provides the home grown quota, which would appeal to Chelsea.

According to various reports within the British media, Southampton would demand between 30-40 million pounds for the player. This would save Chelsea around 20 million in transfer fees.

 

Verdict

Overall, the abilities of Alex Sandro fits a team like Chelsea.

He he can play in more than one position and has an attacking mentality that would add depth and fire power to the Chelsea squad for the upcoming season. Additionally, he has played in teams that defended titles, something Chelsea will be seeking to do this season.

Although it seems the fee is the major stumbling block, it be interesting to see if Sandro will be wearing the colours of the old lady or of the boys from London.

 

Written by James Reidy

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