Chelsea Reportedly Set to Beat Barcelona to Nicolas Otamendi of Porto

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2013

VALENCIA, SPAIN - JULY 28:  Nicolas Otamendi of FC Porto looks on during a Pre-Season friendly match between Valencia CF and FC Porto at Estadio Mestalla on July 28, 2012 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Despite signing an array of talent throughout the summer, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho looks set to significantly strengthen his squad in the near future.

Rumours indicate the Portuguese manager is on the verge of tying up a move for Porto centre-back Nicolas Otamendi, as confirmed by Ben Jefferson of the Express:

Reports in Spain suggest that Otamendi will move to Stamford Bridge at the start of next season, despite interest from Barcelona and Milan.

Both clubs has unsuccessful negotiations with the Portugese club over signing Otamendi over the summer, but it now seems that the defender is bound for the Blues.

Spanish newspaper Marca claims the deal has already been agreed, as reported by 101 Great Goals: "Marca suggest Chelsea had to fight off competition from Barcelona and AC Milan to sign Otamendi, who has impressed in spells at Velez Sarsfield and more recently at Porto."

Mourinho has also been linked with a move for Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema in recent days, as reported by A Bola via Nick Lustig of the Daily Star, and appears to be quickly moulding Chelsea’s squad to his liking.

His interest in 25-year-old Otamendi emerges at a time where John Terry heads towards the pitfalls of footballing old age. Chelsea’s club captain will be 33 by the end of the season and is unlikely to perform at full pace for much longer.

Otamendi is a capable player who has enjoyed a run of success during his spell with Porto. The Argentinian defender—who played under Andre Villas-Boas when he arrived at the Estadio do Dragao—has racked up three Primeira Liga titles, three Portuguese Super Cups, the domestic cup and an excellent Europa League triumph since 2010.

MALAGA, SPAIN - MARCH 13: Francisco R. Alarcon alias Isco (R) of Malaga CF competes for the ball with Nicolas Otamendi (L) of FC Porto during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between Malaga CF and FC Porto at La Rosaleda Stadium on M
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

The former Velez Sarsfield man was also brought into the Argentinian national setup by former coach Diego Maradona and has proceeded to gain 15 caps for the South American side, per Jefferson’s report.

This season, Otamendi has appeared in six domestic league games and two Champions League clashes for Porto. As recorded by, the defender currently averages 0.5 successful tackles per game and a booking once every two appearances.

It is certainly smart for Mourinho to start considering his side’s defensive future. Much has been made about Chelsea’s inability to find a definitive striker—heightened by Mourinho's failure to capture Wayne Rooney—but the returning manager cannot let this overshadow the long-term needs of his club.

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA - OCTOBER 01:  Jose Mourinho the manager of Chelsea looks on from the bench during the UEFA Champions League Group E Match between FC Steaua Bucuresti and Chelsea at the National Arena Stadium on October 1, 2013 in Bucharest, Romania.
Michael Steele/Getty Images

The Stamford Bridge side face a perilous run of fixtures this season and hope to compete across all fronts. With matches in the Premier League, Capital One Cup, FA Cup and Champions League to be played, obtaining centre-back coverage represents efficient business.

Otamendi’s potential arrival may also provide David Luiz with the chance to step into midfield. The versatile Brazilian emerged as a star man in this position for Rafa Benitez, but since Mourinho’s return, has appeared in just four games, all of which have been from central defence.

Chelsea’s squad continues to evolve alongside Mourinho's tastes. Although a swoop for Otamendi would certainly aid the manager's cause, he must prioritise the transfer of a prolific centre forward before too long.


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