Chelsea Transfer News: Fresh Rumours on Mateo Musacchio and Kurt Zouma

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2017

SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN - JANUARY 04:  Mateo Musacchio of Villarreal CF looks on prior to the start the Copa del Rey Round of 16 first leg match between Real Sociedad de Futbol and Villarreal CF at Estadio Anoeta on January 4, 2017 in San Sebastian, Spain.  (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Chelsea are reportedly ready to muscle in on AC Milan’s pursuit of Villarreal defender Mateo Musacchio.

According to Chris Hatherall of the Sunday Mirror, even though the centre-back is close to agreeing a £21 million move to the Serie A giants, the Blues have yet to give up the chase for the 26-year-old. “The player has a release clause in his contract so the battle may be more down to personal terms and club ambition than the size of the transfer fee,” it’s added.

Musacchio has established himself as one of the standout centre-backs in La Liga during his time in the Villarreal first team. Here’s a look at what he can offer:

After missing much of the 2015-16 season with a fractured tibia, the Villarreal man has battled back to fitness and has impressed in his appearances on the field this term. He’s been an important factor in Fran Escriba’s side having the best defensive record in Spain’s top flight.

However, injury woes have continually punctured his playing time since the leg break he suffered in 2015. As noted by Transfermarkt, he’s missed spells with numerous injuries and most recently suffered a broken wrist.

Musacchio has had some tough luck with injuries lately.
Musacchio has had some tough luck with injuries lately.fotopress/Getty Images

There’s no denying his talent when he’s fit and on form, though. Here’s a look at how he compares with Chelsea centre-backs David Luiz and Gary Cahill this term in league matches:

Defender Comparison: Musacchio, Luiz and Cahill
MusacchioLuizCahill
Apps (Sub)132226
Goals013
Tackles per game1.81.21.3
Interceptions per game1.81.91.2
Clearances per game4.25.24.5
Blocks per game0.50.40.5
Passing accuracy81.8%81.8%88.7%
WhoScored.com

Although Chelsea skipper John Terry is in the twilight of his Blues career, manager Antonio Conte does have a lot of options to call upon at the back. Cesar Azpilicueta has thrived in a three-man defence alongside Luiz and Cahill, while Kurt Zouma and Nathan Ake are quality deputies.

Musacchio would provide excellent competition in this area of the field if he was to make the switch to Stamford Bridge, but given the options Conte can call upon, it’d be a big surprise if the Blues splashed out on a player who continues to have fitness worries.

    

Roma Want Kurt Zouma

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18:  Kurt Zouma of Chelsea gestures during the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Chelsea at Molineux on February 18, 2017 in Wolverhampton, England.  (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

According to Neil Fissler of the Sunday Express, Roma will try to prise Zouma away from Chelsea in the summer.

In the report, it’s suggested the Frenchman “is yet to convince” Conte that he can be a regular at the club since returning from his long injury layoff. With that in mind, the Serie A side are said to be ready to “offer him an escape route from west London if he wants it.”

The 22-year-old impressed plenty in the early stages of his Chelsea career, stringing together some aggressive and authoritative performances at the back. However, an injury suffered against Manchester United late last term consigned him to a long spell on the sidelines.

Conte has altered Chelsea's system to great effect.
Conte has altered Chelsea's system to great effect.Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

During that period, Luiz, Cahill and Azpilicueta have formed a formidable triumvirate. Per ESPN FC’s Liam Twomey, Zouma hasn’t completely convinced when handed chances either:

The youngster must be frustrated as things stand. To rediscover his best form he needs to be playing regular football, but the starting trio have been impressive. As such, there’s no need for Conte to tweak his setup.

It’s too early for the club and player to part ways, though, as Zouma has all the attributes needed to become an elite defender. After a full pre-season under Conte ahead of a campaign that will see the Blues involved in European competition, expect him to be involved much more next term.

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