Scouting Rumoured Chelsea Transfer Target Nicolas Otamendi

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2013

SION, SWITZERLAND - JULY 13:  Otamendi of FC Porto in action during the pre-season friendly match between FC Porto and Olympique Marseille at Estadio Tourbillon on July 13, 2013 in Sion, Switzerland.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

The transfer window has been closed barely a month, but already the rumours are starting as we look ahead to when it reopens in January and even next July.

Of course, clubs are always on the lookout for talent and Chelsea are no different, with reports this week suggesting they have secured a deal for Nicolas Otamendi.

The Express suggests the Blues have beaten the likes of Barcelona to his signature, while 101GreatGoals reports Spanish daily newspaper Marca as suggesting a deal is in place for him to arrive at Stamford Bridge next summer.

So who is Nicolas Otamendi? Bleacher Report digs a little deeper to find out.

Who Is He and Who Does He Play For?

Age 25, Otamendi has been plying his trade in Portugal with Liga Zon Sagres giants Porto for the past three seasons.

He was brought to the club on a five-year contract from Velez Sarsfield in his native Argentina, signed by former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas during his time as Porto boss.

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Since then he has become an established member of the first team at the Estadio do Dragao, helping Porto to three consecutive league titles.

He was given his international debut in 2009 by former Argentina manager Diego Maradona, lining up against Panama.

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

Playing Style

Perhaps it's being from South America, but Otamendi has an air of Chelsea's Brazilian centre-back David Luiz about him.

He is comfortable in possession and, during his time at Porto, has shown he reads the game well, anticipating opposition attacks and intercepting play.

Not only that, he is a strong, physical player so for Blues fans looking for comparisons among their current crop, and he also has many of the qualities of Branislav Ivanovic.

The Argentine enjoys playing a high line, too, so at times can appear to be playing in defensive midfield, breaking up play and starting attacks.

While it's easy on the eye, that would be a concern for any manager as it leaves potential for gaps to appear further back—gaps that most attackers will exploit at the first opportunity.

Otamendi also needs to work on his concentration. It's a common weakness for defenders of his ilk, switching off at various stages in a game only to be exposed. And there have been times when he has drifted in and out of games during his three years in Portugal.

Playing in the less competitive Liga Zon Sagres, he may be able to avoid many controversies, but stepping up to the Premier League and facing constant scrutiny from world-class attackers every week will be a different challenge altogether—one to which he would need to rise.

He is primarily a centre-back but can play at right-back, too.

Should Chelsea Buy Him?

Chelsea's options at the heart of defence are rather thin at present. Jose Mourinho has built his squads on the premise of having two players for every position in the past, but with just John Terry, David Luiz and Gary Cahill to call upon, the Blues could use an extra body to strengthen their options.

Tomas Kalas is a prospect from the club's academy, but he's currently out with a broken leg suffered in pre-season. The 20-year-old has spent two years on loan at Vitesse Arnhem, where he has gained plenty of experience, but Otamendi is a player who is ready to play a role for the Blues now.

Otamendi has plenty of Champions League experience with Porto and has also won 15 caps for Argentina. He isn't going to dislodge the more established names at Stamford Bridge, but he could prove an ideal replacement for Mourinho whenever he looks to rotate his backline and rest players.

How Much Will He Cost?

Porto signed Otamendi for around £3.5 million in 2010, but come the end of the season, he will be in the last year of his contract.

That will give Chelsea and the player plenty of bargaining power when it comes to negotiating a fee. A similar situation saw the Blues snap up Gary Cahill for £7 million in January 2012, so while no fees have been suggested just yet, we can expect a similar price tag to be put on Otamendi.

Highlights Reel

 Make up your own mind on Otamendi from this YouTube highlight reel.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here: @garryhayes