Chelsea are lining up against Brighton and Hove Albion tonight in the Premier League tonight with quite the dilemma on their hands.
A major injury to starting left wing-back Ben Chilwell has left the club short on natural options in that area of the pitch, with Marcos Alonso being the only other player who can play there naturally in Chelsea’s squad.
However, as is the case with any team competing on multiple fronts, squad depth and quality is needed. While Chelsea do have this in other areas of the pitch, they are lacking another player in Chilwell’s position who can perform the role as well as he does.
Alonso is a more than capable understudy on his day, but too often he lacks consistency and his lack of natural pace hinders him when the team need an injection of pace from that side or when they need him to get back on defence.
Furthermore, Alonso is far from the best defender in the Premier League, and this could actually be considered as one of his weaknesses. Instead, the Spaniards expertise lay in set-piece taking and crosses, as well as chipping in with some goals.
But for tonight Thomas Tuchel looks to be opting for Callum Hudson-Odoi in that position. Odoi again is a capable player in the role, but his talents are wasted in a deeper position and while he has the athleticism Alonso lacks, he lacks the left foot that Alonso has, meaning Chelsea are missing a vital option for attacking solutions from that side.
Tuchel has also experimented with on loan Saul Niguez there, which led to a far from successful result.
However, it just so happens that a player has recently become available on the market who could answer all of the teams needs in that position for the remainder of the season and beyond.
That player in question being Everton left back Lucas Digne.
The Frenchman has fallen out of favour at Goodison Park following a row with manager Rafael Benitez over tactics, and consequently he has been frozen out of the squad, leaving him with no other choice but to pursue a move away from The Toffees.
This gives Chelsea the perfect opportunity to pursue him and simultaneously solve their issue at left wing-back and provide more excellent depth to the team which lifted the Champions League last season.
Chelsea have already been confirmed to be considering Digne as a target, and they would be foolish not to do all they can to bring him to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea are considering options to replace Chilwell. ? #CFC
First approach with Lucas Digne’s camp as he’s prepared to leave Everton.
Sergiño Dest is appreciated – nothing advanced yet. Nicolás Tagliafico has been discussed weeks ago.
Recalling E. Palmieri or Maatsen, plan B.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 28, 2021
As per transfermarkt, Digne is rated at £27m. Chelsea can certainly afford this, and considering he has been one of the best full-backs in the Premier League since his arrival in 2018 it makes total sense that Digne should be The Blues number one target in January.
Digne is every bit as good as Alonso in terms of crossing and set-piece ability. He is every bit as athletic as Odoi is with a wand of a left foot. And he is every bit as good as defensively as Chilwell is – If not better than the players named in all three departments.
Chelsea have the potential to sign a great left-back for a cut-price deal, and he would provide the perfect short term solution and long term upgrade on Alonso in order to challenge Chilwell for the position going into next season, assuming Chelsea want Chilwell to be their starting player there for years to come.
It just seems to be one of those signings that make perfect sense for all parties.