Even though Chelsea re-signed David Luiz in the last transfer window, the general consensus was that Antonio Conte had intended to add one more centre-half to his Stamford Bridge stocks, with fresh gossip very much supporting that theory.
The new man in the Italian manager’s crosshairs is Benfica and Sweden international defender Victor Lindelof, according to the reports emanating in Conte’s home country at least.
Those same reports have as much to do with Inter Milan’s interest in the Swede as Chelsea’s, and with Paris Saint-Germain also noted as active admirers of the 22-year-old’s work, there must be something about this boy.
For those in the dark, here are three reasons Lindeloff is being coveted by some of the continent’s cream.
At 6ft 2” Lindelof is hardly a gigantic centre-half, but given his robust frame there aren’t many attackers who will out-muscle him in the air.
Although he’s only been on target once for Benfica’s first team in 32 appearances to date, it’s a strength that could be better cultivated at attacking set pieces too.
Anticipating an opponent one-on-one
Another very important attribute to any top class defender is an inherent ability to read what an attacking player might do with the ball or where he might move off it.
Lindelof’s impressive interception and clearance stats for club and country since bursting onto the scene for Benfica midway through their championship winning campaign last term bare testament to this, as does his Youtube footage.
The right-footer averaged nearly five clearances per match in four Champions League sojourns last season, while he boasts an average tally of 2.3 interceptions per game in the Portuguese top flight in three outings this term.
A keen eye for a forward pass
Lindelof’s 2015/16 highlights reel reveals a versatile defender, comfortable playing at right-back and able to deliver accurate long balls into forward players if afforded the space to do so.
With the exception of the returning Luiz, this facet is not many of Chelsea’s current crop of defenders are necessarily known for.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.