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Napoli full-back Elseid Hysaj has been the subject of much transfer speculation this summer with Chelsea one of the clubs said to be looking at the talented Albanian.
The right back has four seasons of first team football under his belt in Italy in addition to 20 international caps so he already has quite a bit of experience behind him for a 22 year old.
He moved to Italy in his mid teens and progressed through the ranks at Empoli helping them win promotion in 2014 before excelling in Serie A to such an extent that he was snapped up by Napoli last summer for a fee of around €5 million.
His stock has continued to rise since and he has comfortably slotted into the Napoli team starting all but one of their Serie A matches last term and his season ended at Euro 2016, where he played every minute of Albania’s three games in the tournament and he contributed to some strong defensive displays from the tournament debutants.
Hysaj even became Albania’s youngest ever captain in a friendly match against Qatar prior to the tournament so he is clearly a strong character and someone who has coped well every time he has stepped up to a higher level of football, which makes you think he would be a good signing for a Premier League club.
At 22, clearly he still has plenty of time to improve further and with Chelsea needing to reduce the average age of their squad, the signing of Hysaj is one that could make a lot of sense.
Although born in Albania, his footballing education has come in Italy and he will be a player that Antonio Conte knows plenty about and could potentially fit well into his plans at Stamford Bridge.
The one doubt
However, the one big doubt about whether Elseid Hysaj would make a good signing for Chelsea comes in Antonio Conte’s tendency to opt for a 3-5-2 formation rather than a more conventional four at the back.
Although the Italian didn’t utilise the 3-5-2 in his opening friendly match for the Blues, it could still be in his long-term planning and if that is the case, there wouldn’t be much sense in signing Hysaj.
The Albanian is an out and out full back and is comfortable on the right or the left but he’s never really been utilised as a centre back or even as an attack-minded wing-back so it’s hard to see any way that he would fit into a 3-5-2 formation.
Unlike many modern day full-backs, he does the defensive side of the game very well and would be a strong contender to come in and challenge Branislav Ivanovic for the right-back slot and if he can adapt to the Premier League he may quickly dislodge the Serbian from the team.
Napoli would be reluctant sellers and are not exactly going to be desperate for cash with Gonzalo Higuain set to join Juventus for an enormous €94million.
A reported price-tag of €15 million for Elseid Hysaj may go up as a result but money is rarely a limitation for Chelsea and if they want the player, they could most likely get him and on the assumption that Conte is going to play with full backs, he’d be a good signing.
Written by Mark Sochon
Follow Mark on Twitter @tikitakagol
Check out his brilliant blog on all things La Liga, Tiki-Taka-Gol!
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