After losing the heart of their defensive structure in Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen this summer, it’s no surprise that Chelsea are on the lookout for star central defenders. The problem is they tend to be a finite resource in European football.
Tall, commanding and good on the ball, it seems as if Chelsea had decided that Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt should be the new leader of their backline. However once it became clear Juventus were willing to part with the player, more suitors appeared on the scene.
Speaking to the media, the Evening Standard carried quotes from Juventus manager Max Allegri on the matter, confirming those suspicions.
“As you know, there was a meeting with Bayern yesterday. For now he is a Juve player and I treat him so. The transfer market is open until August 31 and anything can happen.
“If he were to leave, the club is ready to replace him in the best possible way.”
It’s possible that Allegri was referring to Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who Juventus have been heavily linked with should de Ligt leave. However given Bayern’s apparent advances with de Ligt, recent reports say that Chelsea are close to a deal with Koulibaly.
The degree to which the top teams are all competing for the same players shows the scarcity of assured quality at the position. There seems little appetite from Europe’s top clubs to develop central defenders in the same way they perhaps would with forwards.