Dayot Upamecano, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Nathan Ake - Seven centre-backs who could solve Chelsea's defensive frailties

talksport.com, 2 July 2020, 08:59
Dayot Upamecano, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Nathan Ake - Seven centre-backs who could solve Chelsea
Any Chelsea fan who thinks they're ready to mount a serious Premier League title challenge were given a dose of reality on Wednesday night as their side stumbled to defeat at West Ham.

The game finished 3-2 and from a Blues perspective it was a horror show in defence with all the goals they conceded against the relegation-threatened side raising question marks about their back line.

Former Blues defender Jason Cundy blasted the 'pathetic' efforts of Frank Lampard's men, claiming they 'got what they deserved' at the London Stadium.

He said on The Sports Bar: "We were pathetic. Honestly, I am so disappointed in what I saw. Nothing.

"We've got what we deserved, we've got what we deserved today. I'm sorry, it was a poor display.

"Over 90 minutes, West Ham scored four goals - even though one was disallowed - Chelsea scored two, and two set-pieces.

"Nothing was created in open play, that's gonna disappoint Frank."

Creativity shouldn't be an issue in the future with forwards Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner to begin their Chelsea careers next season.

However, frailties at the back are a big concern and it must improve if they have any hopes of challenging for the title in 2020/21.

They have been heavily linked with West Ham's Declan Rice, a defensive midfielder who can play as a centre-back, this summer. But what out-and-out centre-backs could Lampard consider to make a bid for in the upcoming window?

talkSPORT.com has picked seven players Chelsea could try and recruit to shore things up in defence.

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Nathan Ake

Like so many of Chelsea's talented academy players who never got a proper chance at proving themselves for the first team, Ake left Stamford Bridge in pursuit of regular football.

He joined Bournemouth on a permanent deal in 2017 and his fine form led to rumours of a move back to west London, while Manchester City were also linked to him.

And with the Cherries staring at the prospect of relegation this season, Ake seems like one of the many players who will be looking for a new club in the summer. You get the sense the Dutchman will have a point to prove if he returns to Chelsea.

Diego Carlos

Another potential candidate to join Chelsea is Sevilla man Carlos, who is set to decide on his future with the LaLiga club at the end of the season.

The Athletic has shortlisted the Brazilian as one player who could solve Chelsea's defensive frailties but Liverpool have been linked with him too.

He won't come cheap as he's under contract until 2024 but that could work into Chelsea's favour. They're clearly willing to spend money this summer, having pinched Werner off the Reds, who seem reluctant to splash the cash right now.

Kalidou Koulibaly

Sign this man and Chelsea would be sorted. Anyone who's anyone wants to get their hands on Koulibaly.

The Napoli star, 29, is valued at £90m, according to the latest reports. However, one of the favourites to sign the Senegalese ace are Liverpool and as mentioned, Jurgen Klopp seems reluctant to spend money this summer.

It would probably require a record transfer fee for a defender to sign him but his acquisition could catapult Chelsea into being genuine title contenders.

Dayot Upamecano

However, perhaps a more wise investment would be French youth international Upamecano, who's just 21 years old.

He currently plays for RB Leipzig, the German club Chelsea bought Werner off.

The French youth international is very highly rated and could be available for a relatively cheap price as his contract expires next summer.

Chelsea ought to get their skates on if they do want him as the reports say that he's expected to sign a contract extension.

Caglar Soyuncu

Leicester fans won't want to hear this but they're a selling club.

Since they won the Premier League in 2016 they've sold key players (N'Golo Kante, Danny Drinkwater, Riyad Mahrez and Harry Maguire), albeit for good prices.

The Foxes have been in dreadful form since the restart and if they're not careful, they'll fail to qualify for next season's Champions League and then there's a huge risk they'll lose some of their stars.

Chelsea are still in a good position to qualify despite the West Ham defeat and Soyuncu, 24, boasts a range of qualities including his speed, aerial prowess and the aggression that Chelsea's defence lacks.

Lewis Dunk

With the greatest respect to Brighton, there are better options out there for a 28-year-old Dunk in the peak years of his career.

There will certainly be an opportunity to purchase him on the cheap if the Seagulls get relegated, having reportedly valued him at £50million when Chelsea were linked to him in January.

Ray Parlour has urged his former club Arsenal to sign Dunk but Chelsea would be a far more appealing option.

Jan Vertonghen

A nice and controversial one to finish!

Vertonghen is a Tottenham player until the end of the season but after his contract expires on July 31 he's up for grabs.

He may be 33 years old, so once again Chelsea would have to go back on their usual policy of not signing players aged 30 or over, but he can still do a job.

The fact he'll be available on a free is an added bonus for a club that has already spent over £80m this summer.

Any Chelsea fan who thinks they're ready to mount a serious Premier League title challenge were given a dose of reality on Wednesday night as their side stumbled to defeat at West Ham.

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