Reports: Chelsea to make £60m move for Juventus star
What's the story?
Chelsea suffered a difficult start to the season, losing the Community Shield against Arsenal on penalties and then being beaten by Burnley on the opening day of the season. Since then, the Blues have wobbled on a couple of occasions, with Chelsea's worst defeat this season coming at the hands of AS Roma, who thrashed Chelsea 3-0 in Italy.
Antonio Conte has managed to stabilise his team in recent weeks and the 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Saturday means that Chelsea are now unbeaten in five consecutive Premier League games. However, they are now 11 points behind league leaders Manchester City, and reinforcements will be needed if they are to mount a serious title challenge. Reports from the Mirror have linked Chelsea with a move for Juventus full-back Alex Sandro, a player that Conte greatly admires.
In case you didn't know...
Chelsea have been interested in Alex Sandro for a while now, pursuing him doggedly in the summer transfer window. The Blues repeatedly attempted to bring him to England and saw each of their bids rejected by Juventus, who were keen to hang on to the Brazilian. Chelsea temporarily abandoned interest in the left-back after Juventus rejected a bid of £53.75 million, but it seems like they will try their luck again in January.
Sandro is a versatile player who can contribute equally to attack and defence. He has been deployed at times as a winger on the left flank, and his ability to cross the ball has been praised by several players, managers and pundits.
The heart of the matter
Juventus are currently in the middle of one of the most competitive Serie A seasons of the last decade. The Italian club has won six consecutive Serie A titles since 2011, but currently, sit in third place behind league-leaders Napoli and second-placed Inter Milan.
The Juventus defence has developed a reputation for being extremely miserly and has conceded the least goals in the league for four seasons straight. However, they have already let in 14 goals this season, struggling to keep clean sheets. Their sudden susceptibility at the back may be linked to the departure of Leonardo Bonucci to AC Milan and Juventus may not want to lose another highly valued defender at this point in the season.
Marcos Alonso has been found wanting for pace on several occasions in this season, with the Spaniard being run ragged by the likes of AS Roma's Gerson and Manchester City's Raheem Sterling. Conte will be looking to strengthen his team and Alonso's poor performances may have convinced the Italian manager that the left wing-back is where a change is needed. Furthermore, Chelsea do not have any naturally left-sided fullbacks who can replace Alonso in case of injury, and currently, their only option would be to disrupt the balance of the team and use Azpilicueta as a left wing-back.
Chelsea do not lack for money and Sandro's £60 million price tag is hardly unaffordable for the Blues. However, they may not be willing to pay such an exorbitant amount for a full-back, with the likes of Luke Shaw and Danny Rose available for much less. Juventus may also be unwilling to part with Sandro, making this deal unlikely.