Chelsea have earmarked Bayern Munich’s Arturo Vidal and Roma’s Radja Nainggolan to beef up their midfield, should Antonio Conte become the club's new manager.
According to GianlucaDiMarzio.com (translated by David Amoyal), having worked together previously at Juventus, the Italy manager is keen to add Vidal to his squad if he moves to Stamford Bridge.
Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph reported that the Blues are keen on Conte, with the Italian “increasingly confident” of getting the job at Stamford Bridge. It’s also reported that Nainggolan is a player on his wish-list should he take over.
The Azzurri boss is said to have already agreed a deal to join the English champions for next season, according to Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Chris Davie of Goal).
From these reports, it seems clear which area of the field Conte would look to bolster as a priority should he get the job. Here’s how the two reported targets compare with Chelsea’s own Nemanja Matic in league games this season:
|Midfielder Comparison: Matic, Vidal, Nainggolan|
|Apps (Sub)||21 (4)||18 (4)||22 (2)|
|Passes per game||48.8||67.5||50.3|
|Dribbles per game||1.1||0.2||0.8|
|Tackles per game||2.8||2.8||1.8|
|Interceptions per game||2.1||1.3||1.3|
Conte would surely love to work with Vidal again. Under the astute tutelage of the Italian during their time in Turin the former Bayer Leverkusen man became arguably the most rounded midfielder in world football. Indeed, Vidal is capable of doing it all, making him a formidable option to have in the squad.
As beIN Sports’ Matteo Bonetti noted recently, the 28-year-old is an adaptable talent, making him so crucial to his side:
Matteo Bonetti @TheCalcioGuy
Guardiola thinking of using Vidal as a centreback against Juve. Has played there already for Chile & the Bianconeri. Remember him doing well2016-2-22 18:03:07
With Pep Guardiola set to depart Bayern Munich at the end of the season, Vidal may also feel as though it’s the right time to move to the Premier League. However, with no Champions League football at Chelsea next season, unless they win this year’s competition, the Blues are not a club that’d be hugely appealing, even if Conte was in charge.
Nainggolan is perhaps a more realistic target. As we can see in this clip, he’s a player, like Vidal, who is multifaceted:
The Belgium star would also be more likely see this move as a sideways step rather than a step down. If Chelsea do make their interest known, the player may jump at the opportunity to join a side that have long challenged for the top honours.
Still, getting either of these two players will be tough going for Chelsea. Not only are the Blues in their worst position for years, both Vidal and Nainggolan only made permanent transfer moves last summer, meaning neither Bayern or Roma, respectively, will be under any pressure to sell.
Vidal definitely looks out of reach, with his importance growing week after week on this Bayern side; expect incoming manager Carlo Ancelotti to do his absolute utmost to keep him on board.
Nainggolan, contracted to 2020 with the Giallorossi, would be an expensive acquisition but arguably a necessary one.