Chelsea Rumoured for Alex Sandro January Transfer Ahead of Manchester United

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2017

Juventus' defender Alex Sandro from Brazil eyes the ball during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus Vs Crotone on November 26, 2017 at the 'Allianz Stadium' in Turin.  / AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLO        (Photo credit should read MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)

Juventus left-back Alex Sandro would reportedly prefer to sign with Chelsea in January than Manchester United.

The Sun's Warren Haughton reported the Blues are set to snap up the want-away Sandro ahead of United, who had been eyeing him in January as a solution to their problems at left-back, as they are his preferred destination.

The Bianconeri valued Sandro at £80 million in the summer when Chelsea made an approach for him, but his relationship with the club is said to have declined since then. The Blues will try to capitalise and land him with a "significantly lower bid."

Chelsea lack strength in depth at left wing-back, as manager Antonio Conte's only alternatives to Marcos Alonso are to field the right-sided Davide Zappacosta there or move Cesar Azpilicueta there from the back three, where he is perhaps their most reliable performer.

Football.London's Oliver Harbord has been vocal about their need to address the problem in January:

Sandro's form has been a source of disappointment this season, perhaps as a result of his not getting the move he hoped for in the summer.

Manager Max Allegri has not shied away from being critical of the Brazilian, per Bleacher Report's Adam Digby:

He has nevertheless managed to rack up five assists in all competitions as well as find the net once, which hints at what he can offer even when he's not at his best.

The 26-year-old's form over the previous two seasons since arriving in Turin from Porto have established him as one of the best left-backs in the world. His efforts last year saw him including in FourFourTwo's 100 best players:

His attacking prowess is evident from his contributions in the final third, but he's also strong defensively and he has the pace and stamina to perform both roles on the left flank throughout 90 minutes.

Sandro's disappointing form could make Juve slightly more open to letting him leave in January, and if Chelsea do manage to land him, they'll hope the move can revitalise him.

If it does, they'll have simultaneously improved their first XI and added some much-needed depth to the squad.