EPL transfer rumour: Chelsea and Barcelona interested in Steven N'Zonzi
Barcelona and Chelsea have apparently set their sights on Sevilla’s French anchorman, Steven N’Zonzi. Barcelona are looking to provide cover for Sergio Busquets and N’Zonzi is one who has caught the eye of the club’s sporting director Robert Fernandez.
The midfielder was a Europa League winner and Copa Del Rey runner-up in his first season at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan after transferring on a free from Stoke City and has developed into a key figure under Jorge Sampaoli this term.
His recent performances have also drawn the interest of Premier League giants, Chelsea, who would be looking for reinforcements in midfield, with Fabregas linked with a January exit to AC Milan.
Sevilla are however, trying to renegotiate the terms of his current contract; one that will include a release clause worth €30 million.
While a return to English shores would interest the former Stoke and Blackburn Rovers man, his immediate priority is to continue improving in La Liga. When asked to comment on the rumours, he responded with: “It’s nice, it’s good. But I always say that this type of club is interested in other players too.”
"I am not the only one. I know that big clubs are interested in many players. I focus on what I do at Sevilla. Until there is something concrete, we must remain professional. Some clubs were interested [in the summer] but I feel good at Sevilla. I enjoy the game, the football, I like the way Sevilla play, I feel good in the city, with the fans and the club, and I'm enjoying myself,” he added.
On a similar vein, Barcelona’s pursuit of him would be justified in the fact that he offers a similar skillset to that boasted by Sergio Busquets. He’d be offering cover for a position in the Barca squad which effectively has no depth; Busquets is the only defensive-minded midfielder, someone who is capable of shielding the defence from the opposition and tracking runners.
Where would he fit in?
Barcelona are packed with technically adept playmakers in the middle of the park. Andres Iniesta, Andre Gomes, Arda Turan, Denis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic all allow for Barca’s quick passing and fluid attacking play. But the player that allows truly this system to flourish is Busquets and if they lose him to injury, they lose that balance in midfield.
N’Zonzi would provide vital cover in this position and act as a natural anchor at the base of the midfield. He’s got an imposing physical presence, is dominant in the air and possesses an underrated quality on the ball.
N’Zonzi makes sense as a target for both Barcelona and Chelsea, with depth in midfield a key factor in sustaining a title challenge and in Barca’s case, also one in Europe.
However, considering that he is a key component of Sevilla’s team, they will not let go of him without a fight. Also, as N’Zonzi harbours dreams of playing in the World Cup for the French National Team, he wouldn’t be in a hurry to jeopardise his chances by forsaking a first team berth to become a backup at another club.
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