Ben Chilwell has been ruled out for the remainder of the season due to injury, meaning Chelsea could be forced to sign a replacement left-back in the January transfer window
With the news that Chelsea left-back Ben Chilwell will undergo major knee surgery, the Blues could be on the verge of entering the transfer market to find a replacement.
The 25-year-old is set to miss the rest of the season after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament injury when the Blues beat Juventus 4-0 in November.
Unable to avoid going under the knife after a month of initial rehab, Chilwell will now sit and watch from the sidelines Chelsea go through a crisis of winter injuries and a test spring without a doubt.
For Thomas Tuchel’s side to emerge with more trophies, signing a new left-back may well prove imperative as the return of aging Marcos Alonso to the squad signaled a huge defensive dip.
With that in mind, here are five left-backs the Blues could bring in during the January transfer window.
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Starting with a candidate who has been touted by supporters since Chilwell was sidelined for an extended period, Digne’s career at Everton appears to be over after falling out with Rafael Benitez.
The former Chelsea boss, now in the hot seat at Goodison Park, hasn’t chosen Digne since the Merseyside Derby on December 1.
But the Frenchman’s recent absence does not reflect his abilities as a footballer, having racked up 20 assists and six goals in 127 appearances for the Toffees.
Signed in 2018, Digne quickly became a fan favorite at Everton, but his time seems to be up and would be available for a reduced price.
Due to his superb attacking attributes, one can only imagine how productive the 28-year-old would be in Tuchel’s system as a full back.
With experience in Rome, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, ââDigne would surely be a good choice.
Speaking of left-backs who possess serious attacking prowess, Hernandez just might be one of the best in the world when it comes to contributing both ways.
The AC Milan star spent his youth in Spain with both Madrid clubs amid loans to Deportivo Alaves and Real Sociedad, but really broke out in Italy when the Rossoneri bought him back in 2019 for just 13, Â£ 5million.
Now valued at more than triple that amount by Transfer market, Hernandez helped Milan win the Serie A title last season by scoring seven goals and providing six assists in the league.
Now a full-fledged French international, Chelsea arguably could do no better than bring in the 24-year-old sensation – but it will cost them dearly.
Remaining in the Italian top flight, the Blues may want to head to Bergamo for another target.
Likely accessible for a much lower sum, Atalanta’s Robin Gosens is destined for the big time after his unusual run so far.
Rising through the ranks of both the German and Dutch lower league teams, Gosens was recruited by the excellent La Dea scouting team in 2017 and has not looked back since.
Playing for Germany at this summer’s European Championships, the 27-year-old plays the role of winger for club and country, helping Atlanta become a regular in the Champions League.
Therefore, Gosens, who scored 11 Serie A goals last season but has missed most of the current campaign with injury, would have no trouble acclimating to life under Tuchel and offer an upgrade on Alonso.
While all three of the aforementioned picks may be new to Chelsea’s radar, Marina Granovskaia’s recruiting team might turn their attention to someone on their shortlist while Frank Lampard was in charge.
Ajax left-back Tagliafico came close to joining London rivals West Ham United last summer, but remains in Amsterdam.
Out of contract in 18 months could be another blow for the Blues and at 29 years old a short-term solution could work for all parties.
Finally, if Chelsea are looking closer to home, then Cucurella has already shown his abilities in the Premier League in half a season with Brighton & Hove Albion.
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The Barcelona academy graduate traded Getafe for England’s south coast in August for just Â£ 15million, before shining in the back side of Graham Potter.
Cucurella has honed his attacking skills in La Liga and are now averaging 1.4 key assists per game for Brighton, who travel to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, to demonstrate their creative spark.
While the 23-year-old has work to do in the goals and assists department, Tuchel might be keen to transform him into the top left-back he certainly has the potential to become.