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Chelsea have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of Napoli defender Faouzi Ghoulam as the Algerian international has agreed to a new long-term contract with the Italian club.
The 26-year old left-back has been on the radar of the Premier League champions along with title challengers Manchester City and Liverpool, with the Reds even believed to have made an attempt to sign him in the summer. Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is understood to be an admirer of Ghoulam and had been keeping tabs on the player with a view to making a move to sign him when his contract expires next June.
However, any hopes of that happening have been demolished by Ghoulam signing a new deal with the Partenopei. The defender, who joined the club back in 2014, has extended his stay until the summer of 2022, the club has officially confirmed.
— Official SSC Napoli (@sscnapoli) December 5, 2017
With that being done, here we look at three possible alternatives to Ghoulam, that Chelsea can look to bring in instead.
The 27-year old German international was on Conte’s radar in the past, but the interest seemed to have cooled off, with the Blues actively pursuing Juventus’ Alex Sandro. However, with Ghoulam now unlikely to sign, there is a good chance that the Italian might look at Hector as an option for the summer.
The FC Koln man has made just three Bundesliga appearances this term, having been sidelined for the most part of the season with a ligament tear. However, his talents and abilities are undoubted. Primarily a left-back, the German international comfortably slots in as a wing-back and can play in a defensive midfield role too, giving the manager a lot of options with his versatile nature.
A very good dribbler and crosser off the ball, Hector is also known to be strong defensively and will prove to be a great fit in Conte’s system at Chelsea.
Ever since leaving the Blues for Southampton, Ryan Bertrand has been making a good name for himself and is arguably one of the most under-rated players in the Premier League.
The 28-year old left Stamford Bridge to join the Saints back in 2015 and has established himself as a key figure in their squad and in the England national team setup as well. In the ongoing term, Bertrand has appeared 15 times for the South Coast club in which he has managed to set up two goals. He has been one of the most consistent players for the Saints.
Bertrand knows Chelsea in and out, knows the Premier League in and out and has proven himself for a number of years on this stage. Bringing him back to the club could prove to be a great move by the Blues.
The 22-year old’s career may have stagnated since his big move to Manchester United from Southampton with persistent injury problems and a lack of faith from the manager, but his potential is something that Chelsea should look to invest in.
Regarded as the future of the England national team and the heir to Patrice Evra’s No.3 jersey at United, Shaw has all it takes to make it big at this stage. However, he has been extremely unlucky with injuries, which has limited him to just 49 appearances for the Red Devils since joining them in the summer of 2014. This term, he has taken the field only thrice for the club, which indicates that Jose Mourinho doesn’t really trust him to the fullest.
With a January move away from the Old Trafford being mooted for the former Saints man, Chelsea should look to capitalise on the opportunity and sign him up.