The four players Antonio Conte’s Chelsea should target in La Liga raid
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has already spent just short of £120m since taking over at Stamford Bridge, but he could be set to dip even further into Roman Abramovich’s seemingly bottomless pit of finances in January as he looks to add some La Liga flair to his side.
Reports in the Daily Express are this morning suggesting that Conte will add four players from the top-flight of Spanish football to his roster when the transfer window opens again in the New Year.
So we thought we’d take a look at who could be heading to west London come January, starting with a Galactico that’s been left out in the cold.
A move to the Premier League looked to be on the cards for much of the summer, although interest in the Spain international resulted in nothing more than that.
However, with Oscar failing to impress this season, there could well be a slot for Isco in Conte’s starting XI, and he’s certainly a step above current alternatives such as Victor Moses and Pedro.
It’s already been made clear to the 24-year-old that he won’t be featuring in Zinedine Zidane’s first-team plans any time soon, which means the Blues could snap Isco up for significantly less than the £25m Real Madrid paid for him back in 2013.
It’s safe to say Chelsea missed a trick when they allowed Kevin de Bruyne to leave for Wolfsburg back in 2014.
And while Manchester City took advantage of Jose Mourinho’s mistake by signing the Belgian star last year, Chelsea could inflict revenge on their title-rivals in January by making a move for Atletico Madrd star Savic.
The 25-year-old was released by City in 2012 and, after impressing at Fiorentina, found himself the subject of a £21m move to Atletico Madrid last year.
But such is the quality of the defenders at Diego Simeone’s disposal, Savic has struggled to break into the Argentine’s plans, and has featured mainly as a result of injuries to other players.
Given Chelsea’s apparent need for a reshape of their back-line, don’t be surprised if Mr Abramovich allows Conte to make a bid for the Montenegro international.
And should Conte fail in his attempts to lure Savic to Stamford Bridge, then his next option should be Martinez, of Real Sociedad.
Having been a part of the first-team setup at Anoeta Stadium for the last five years, 25-year-old Martinez has established himself as one of the finest defenders in the division, attracting interest in recent years from Real Madrid.
With Conte seemingly keen on playing three central defenders, Martinez could be the final piece in the Italian manager’s puzzle.
He may be 35, but there’s no disputing Aduriz’s quality.
And given that Conte is considering allowing Michy Batshuayi to return to Marseille on loan in January for the remainder of the season, a natural goalscorer such as Aduriz would be the perfect short-term solution.
Bear in mind, this is a man who kept current Blues striker, Diego Costa, out of Vincent del Bosque’s 23-man Spain squad for Euro 2016.
And Conte has a history of favouring experience up-front over youth, using players such as Graziano Pelle, Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente as his main men at Italy and Juventus in the last few years.
Given his age, it’s also unlikely Chelsea would need to fork out much for a man who’s netted 72 La Liga goals for Athletic Bilbao since 2012.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing