Manchester City defender Micah Richards appeared in the Stamford Bridge stands on Wednesday to watch Chelsea lose to Queens Park Rangers, sparking speculation the England international could be joining Rafael Benitez’s side.
Richards remains a crucial part of Roberto Mancini’s squad, despite his latest injury absence and the link with Chelsea.
The right-back was recently described by Tottenham winger Gareth Bale as his toughest opponent in the Premier League. The Wales international cited Richards’ physical strength as one reason why the defender can resist the terror normally engendered by Bale’s presence on the flank for Spurs.
Cesar Azpilicueta was brought to Chelsea in the summer by former manager Roberto Di Matteo, while Brazilian attacking right-back Wallace will join the club from Fluminense this year after the 18-year-old signed a pre-contract agreement last month.
Spain Under-21 and Olympic international Azpilicueta, 22, was drafted in from Olympique Marseille in a
£6.5 million deal as a replacement for Jose Bosingwa, who was released by the club to join QPR.
With Branislav Ivanovic moving into a central position in the absence of injured John Terry during Benitez’s reign so far, Azpilicueta has adapted well on the right side of the Chelsea defense.
He enjoys a harmonious relationship with fellow Spaniard Juan Mata and is not slow to take advantage of an attacking threat down the Chelsea flank.
Azpilicueta has adapted quickly to life in the Premier League and his initial rush to chase down forwards early in attack, which saw him open to the threat of being left in the wake of a speedy player, has been replaced by a more thoughtful approach.
Nobody can doubt what Richards would bring to Chelsea. His physical presence alone makes him a
powerful player for any team. He has the speed and aerial prowess required for any good defender and can also act as a defensive midfielder. And Benitez has already hinted at his need for such a role to be filled at Stamford Bridge.
David Luiz has converted to the defensive-midfield role with such success in recent weeks, so it is open to debate whether Chelsea need Richards, for the time being at least.
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