Top Chelsea managerial target Antonio Conte has expressed his desire to reunite with Bayern Munich's Arturo Vidal—prompting speculation the Italian could bring the midfielder to Stamford Bridge if he takes over this summer.
According to Goal's Chris Davie, the Italy boss "is close to agreeing" a three-year deal with the Blues and told Spanish newspaper El Pais of his admiration for Vidal from their time at Juventus.
I’d take Vidal too. He’s an amazing player. I must admit at Juve I found him hard to fit in.
In my head I wanted to play a 4-2-4 and 4-4-2, but seeing the intensity of Vidal getting up and down the pitch I switched to a 4-3-3 which then transformed into 3-5-2.
He has extraordinary physical and technical attributes, if I get to coach him a little more it’d be fantastic. I want him in all my teams.
The Chile international has since moved on to Munich, while Conte has taken over his national team, but the 46-year-old seems certain to be in the dugout at Stamford Bridge next season.
German football experts Clark Whitney and Stefan Bienkowski praised Vidal's contribution in Bayern's crunch Bundesliga clash with Borussia Dortmund earlier in March:
Clark Whitney @Mr_Bundesliga
Vidal looked uninterested a few months ago, but now seems to have decided to be great again. He & Kimmich were outstanding tonight2016-3-5 19:38:47
Stefan Bienkowski @SBienkowski
Takeaways: -Kimmich is going to the Euros. -Vidal excels in the big games. -Reus & Müller poor. -Tuchel already done so much in one season.2016-3-5 19:45:27
Indeed, Vidal's tenacity and drive often does see him perform at his best in the biggest matches, as he did in the UEFA Champions League last-16 second-leg tie with his former side, in which the Bavarians came from two goals down to win 4-2 on the night after extra time and progress to the quarter-finals.
Bienkowski hailed his impact:
Stefan Bienkowski @SBienkowski
That tackle from Vidal leading up to the goal is the midfielder at his best. Finally seeing him step up tonight.2016-3-16 21:35:42
According to Squawka, in 25 Bundesliga matches this season the 28-year-old has won 53 tackles, made 36 interceptions, created 44 chances and maintained a passing accuracy of 90 percent.
As Conte noted, his impressive blend of physicality, work rate and technical skill makes him an exceptional player, and those attributes would likely see him thrive in the Premier League.
The Blues are also reportedly targeting another Bundesliga star, Borussia Dortmund's Mat Hummels, according to the Mirror's Darren Lewis.
Per Lewis, the centre-back is yet to agree a new deal at BVB with his current contract set to expire in 2017, and he is "understood to be aware of the interest," leaving him with a choice between Chelsea and Dortmund.
If he does not sign a new deal, he may be allowed to leave this summer in order for the club to cash in rather than lose him for nothing next year.
Hummels has been one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga for some time now, and the 27-year-old would make a brilliant replacement for John Terry.
Like Vidal, the German is also a big-game player—he played all 120 minutes of the 2014 World Cup final, in which he helped keep the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain off the scoresheet.
Hummels also put in a strong performance when Bayern met Dortmund on March 5, per WhoScored.com:
Mats Hummels: No player has made more interceptions in a Bundesliga match this season than @matshummels did vs Bayern (11) #bvb2016-3-6 09:30:03
According to Squawka, Hummels has won 66 percent of his duels in 24 Bundesliga appearances this season, including 102-of-142 aerial battles and 41-of-70 tackles, while also making 70 interceptions and 81 blocks.
He would be an outstanding acquisition for Chelsea, but after such an excellent season with BVB, he may opt to stay put—he did so last season, after all, and they'd had a poor campaign by their standards and then lost Jurgen Klopp.