Chelsea target Napoli man as latest possible Willian back-up

It’s fair to say that Chelsea have had some issues finding an understudy to Willian since signing the Brazilian for £32m from Anzhi Makhachkala in August 2013.

Kevin de Bruyne and Andre Schurrle have been sold for profit to the Bundesliga, while four others remain on the Blues’ books but could be plying their trade elsewhere by the end of the summer transfer window.

Marko Marin has already had three loan stints away and it would be no surprise to hear about another, Victor Moses has spent the last two campaigns at Liverpool and Stoke and is unlikely to get much pitch time despite his equaliser against PSG in the International Champions Cup, Mohamed Salah is looking increasingly likely to join Roma and Juan Cuadrado is now being linked with a return to Italy.

Pedro’s name has been mentioned from Barcelona, but Manchester United’s interest is more concrete and so Jose Mourinho may again choose to use Ramires or Oscar as Willian’s deputy on the right flank of his front three.

If a new recruit is to be signed this summer, then one of Mourinho’s trusted lieutenants from his time at Real Madrid could join Chelsea.

Jose Callejon played 55 times in two seasons under Mourinho at the Bernabeu and has spent the last two years at Napoli, where he has netted a combined 26 goals.

However, with Napoli well stocked in the forward department and speculation that Gonzalo Higuain is to be offered a new contract to stave off any threat from Arsenal, Callejon may be allowed to leave, especially with money being useful to sign a new central defender.

Much like Willian, Callejon’s hard-working nature and selflessness to track back and help with the defensive side of the game will help him adapt to Chelsea’s style.

Meanwhile, he possesses a much bigger goal threat than the Brazilian, who contributed only two goals and three assists in 28 Premier League starts last season.

Even with their current squad, Chelsea remain the 6/5 favourites to make a successful Premier League title defence in 2015/16.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £25 in free bets.


Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.