Football News

Ben Chilwell to Chelsea? Leicester City’s incisive passer linked as Lampard’s defensive solution

By Harry Edwards

Published: 18:17, 11 October 2019

Chelsea are in the running to sign Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell, according to reports.

The Blues are currently halfway through a two-window transfer ban but there remains hope that the club will be able to sign players in January if their appeal is successful.

Chelsea to sign Chilwell in January? Five things to know…

  • Chelsea will look to sign Chilwell, according to the Daily Mail.
  • It is claimed Man City were interested in signing Chilwell in the summer but Chelsea are favourites.
  • Chelsea have Emerson and Marcos Alonso to call upon at left-back, but the former is currently injured.
  • Chilwell, 22, would add to Chelsea’s expanding homegrown contingent with no fewer than eight English players receiving competitive minutes this season.
  • As things stand, Chelsea are unable to sign players in January, as a result of their two-window transfer ban.

Under Frank Lampard so far this season, the Blues have conceded 14 Premier League goals and have the fourth-worst defence in the division despite sitting fifth.

Chelsea have also managed just one clean sheet across all competitions, leading to them being linked with defensive signings, including Chilwell.

The Blues currently have Emerson and Marcos Alonso as their two first-team left-backs, but the former has missed the past three games with a hamstring injury.

Prior to his injury, the Italian had seriously impressed having been named as Chelsea’s first-choice left-back after 18 months of frustration trying to stake his claim under Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri.

In his five games so far this season, Emerson has created six chances at a rate of 1.44 per 90 minutes and averages 5.04 passes into the attacking third per 90, though he is yet to record an assist.

Despite Chelsea’s defensive problems, Emerson has looked fairly solid, averaging 3.6 tackles per 90 minutes and 2.4 interceptions per 90, while he is also yet to be dribbled past by an opponent in the Premier League. Only three defenders have managed to remain unbeaten by opponents in more Premier League games than Emerson.

In his place, Alonso has been performing well after overcoming some struggles last season, averaging 1.82 chances created per 90 minutes and 4.94 passes into the final third, while recording two assists – the joint-most at Chelsea in the Premier League.

Defensively, the Spaniard has held his own too, averaging 2.6 tackles and 1.56 interceptions per 90. However, he has been dribbled past by opponents six times in five appearances, averaging 1.56 per 90 minutes.

It is little blips like this, with Alonso more comfortable at wing-back, that has some Chelsea fans still wanting the Spaniard to be away from the first team, and the possible arrival of Chilwell could bring that.

The Englishman has missed just two Premier League games this season, playing the full 90 minutes in his six appearances so far. Like Emerson and Alonso, he is yet to score, but the 22-year-old has managed to record an assist despite having the lowest chance creation average of the trio, with 0.83 per 90 minutes.

Chilwell does always look forward, however, with an incredible 71 passes into the final third – the fifth-highest for a Premier League defender – averaging 11.83 per 90 minutes.

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Defensively, the Leicester City full-back has proved solid too, averaging 1.5 tackles and 1.17 tackles per 90, while only being dribbled past three times, at an average of 0.5 times per 90.

The biggest selling point for Chilwell would be his age and nationality, however, with the Englishman adding to Chelsea’s homegrown quota while also having a long career ahead of him at 22.

Emerson is only slightly older at 25 but Marcos Alonso will be turning 29 in December, one year closer to being subject to Chelsea’s “30+” policy which sees players over that age only given one-year contract extensions.