Why Chelsea Should Try and Sign Marvin Plattenhardt in the January Window

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Why Chelsea Should Try and Sign Marvin Plattenhardt in the January Window
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Having dropped Ashley Cole, a former untouchable, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho should try and sign Nuremberg's 21-year-old left-back Marvin Plattenhardt.

Mourinho replaced 32-year-old Cole with Cesar Azpilicueta, 24, though the Spaniard is predominately a right-back. 

"Of course it is not Azpilicueta's best position," Mourinho said, via Sky Sports. "It is not a position where Ashley can think that he is in trouble now."

Plattenhardt came up on the radar when he was a starter for Germany at the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup, a squad which included Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goals, whose backup was Bernd Leno, Mario Goetze wore the No. 10 shirt and Kevin Volland was an impact sub. 

This gives you an idea of Plattenhardt's pedigree, so why hasn't he progressed as quickly as some of his U-17 teammates? 

For the last two seasons, Plattenhardt has been vying with one-time Argentine international Javier Pinola for the left-back position, a role Pinola held firmly until the end of last season. 

Pinola is a rugged defender who has previously led Nuremberg in tackles and interceptions per game. 

When Gertjan Verbeek was hired last month to keep Nuremberg in the Bundesliga, he has persisted with Plattenhardt at left-back. 

Verbeek is an astute talent evaluator.

He played a crucial part in quintupling Afonso Alves' transfer value at Heerenveen and was also a major influence on Danijel Pranjic making the step up to become a Bayern Munich player.

Do you know who gave Adam Maher a chance at AZ? Verbeek.

While there is rawness in Plattenhardt's game, who has been part of a back-line that has conceded seven goals in the last three games, Verbeek can't ignore Plattenhardt's X-Factor.

He once jinked his way past Philipp Lahm, netted a beautiful free kick against Fabian Giefer last season and has been whipping in crosses every game for Nuremberg.

Source: WhoScored

Wolfsburg's 21-year-old Ricardo Rodriguez, who has been linked with Chelsea, per Daniel Jones at The Metrois having a better season than Plattenhardt—statistically and subjectively. 

LEAGUE ONLY Tackles Per Game Tackle Success % Interceptions Per Game Fouls Per Game
Cole 2.4 52 1.2 0.9
Plattenhardt 2.2 83 0.9 0.7
Rodriguez 3.2 83 2.0 1.2
Van Aanholt 2.4 81 1.7 0.2

Numbers aside, factor in Rodriguez playing on the fifth best team in Germany while Plattenhardt plays on the worst. 

Plattenhardt has done more with less and did make one Team of the Week last season. 

Elf Des Tages

Stefan Kiessling, Ilkay Gundogan and Zvjezdan Misimovic all showed promise at Nuremberg, but they reached the next level after signing for another club. 

This could be the same scenario for Plattenhardt which is why it is imperative Chelsea target him. 

Should Cole continues to miss his tackles (no surprise his tackle success percentage is so low), he needs to be let go in the summer. 

What about Patrick van Aanholt?

Once he finishes his loan spell at Vitesse, currently forming a one-two punch with fellow Blues loanee Lucas Piazon, Van Aanholt, who's in the Dutch national squad, will be in contention to start. 

If you are not a fan of Plattenhardt, there are two alternatives to consider.

The aforementioned Rodriguez and Alberto Moreno of Sevilla, who is comfortable in possession and is a Spanish international at 21 years of age. 

 

Statistics via WhoScoredFFT Stats ZoneSquawka and Transfermarkt.
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Twitter: @allanjiangLIVE

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