Report: Chelsea to pay £20m and £66k-per-week for 23 y/o with more tackles than Kante

Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium by Ank kumar, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Chelsea aren’t short of defenders with Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Trevoh Chalobah, Malang Sarr and Thiago Silva at their disposal, but CNN Turk say they’re closing in on another centre-back – Attila Szalai.

The Blues are believed to have agreed a €23.4m (£20m) deal with Fenerbahce for the 23-year-old who will sign a six-year contract worth €77k-per-week/€4m-a-year (£66k-per-week/£3.43m-a-year).

Who is Szalai?

Szalai, who has played for Vac, Vasas, Rapid Wien and Mezőkövesd, joined Fenerbahce from Apollon Limassol in January and has gone on to make 40 appearances in all competitions, scoring three goals. He’s a Hungarian international who has featured 21 times for his country, the last of which came in October.

The 23-year-old has four years remaining on his deal at the Estadio Şükrü Saracoğlu, but his future looks to be away from Turkey as his performances have caught the eye of Chelsea. Szalai has made 12 Super Lig appearances this season, making 40 clearances, blocking 17 shots/passes/crosses, winning 24 aerial duels and averaging a tackle (20) or interception (19) every 26 minutes.

He’s had more tackles than N’Golo Kante, so he could be a great addition to the squad. been a regular under Vítor Pereira this season and will be missed if afforded a departure in January, but Fener’s loss will be Chelsea’s gain.

Is there room for Szalai in the Chelsea squad?

If signed, Szalai would be the sixth centre-back Chelsea have in the first-team, even after selling Kurt Zouma to West Ham United, but the Blues might have some room if Sarr and Chalobah aren’t going to be regulars.

Sarr has made just one Premier League appearance this season and has been an unused substitute in their last three games while Chalobah has started just three of their last seven league outings. He’s been an unused substitute in their previous two matches.

Summary

Szalai is having a decent season for Fenerbahce and could provide defensive stability to further improve Thomas Tuchel’s backline if his statistics are anything to go by, but time will tell if Chelsea actually agree a deal for the 23-year-old.