Ben Chilwell has been ruled out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery following an anterior cruciate ligament injury suffered in November, which could see Chelsea dipping into the transfer market to replace him.
Marcos Alonso is Chilwell’s deputy and should start on the left in his stead for the remainder of the campaign, but the Blues won’t have cover for the Spaniard if he was to succumb to injury.
Chilwell will be welcomed back into the first-team when fit, so the Blues only need a temporary option to get them through the season. They were linked with a loan move for Everton’s Lucas Digne and are considering using Malang Sarr in the makeshift role, but Tuttosport (h/t Football Italia) say Theo Hernandez is also on their radar.
The 24-year-old joined AC Milan on a five-year deal from Real Madrid in 2019 and has gone on to make 101 appearances in all competitions, scoring 17 goals with 18 assists from left-back. Hernandez has also represented the French national team and been on the scoresheet for Les Blues, so his stock is at an all-time high.
It’s easy to see why Chelsea would want Hernandez, but he wouldn’t be cheap to sign. Tuttosport say Milan would request around €60m (£50.4m) for the defender. Hernandez takes home €39.5k-per-week/€2m-a-year (£33.1k-per-week/£1.7m-a-year) in wages, so personal terms wouldn’t be difficult to agree on.
But whether Chelsea need to make a permanent signing at left-back remains to be seen. Thomas Tuchel will have a fully fit pairing of Chilwell and Alonso when the season is over, so adding Hernandez would force him to move an existing player on.
The likelihood of Chelsea making such a big-money signing midway through the season is slim as there are easier solutions to their problems in defence – it’s cheaper to just loan a player in or hope that Sarr can step in if Alonso is unavailable.