Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is yet to make a signing in his time at Stamford Bridge but he may have now identified a certain Ukrainian as his first potential signing for The Blues when the transfer ban is lifted.
According to a report from Express, Lampard is now convinced that Atalanta star Ruslan Malinovskyi is someone who can add good value to his squad at Stamford Bridge.
The story claims that Claude Makelele, the youth coach at the club, personally scouted for the 26-year old and has convinced the manager to sign Malinovskyi once the transfer ban on the club is lifted.
But who is Malinovskyi and what does he bring to Chelsea?
More on Ruslan Malinovskyi
Born and brought up in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, Ruslan Malinovskyi is a product of the academy at Shakhtar Donetsk but failed to break into the first team. He had four loan stints before settling down at Genk in 2017 and slowly made a name for himself as a skilful playmaker.
Malinovskyi registered 30 goals and 32 assists in 135 games across all competitions for the Belgian club in his three years at the club, before being picked up by Serie A side Atalanta just this summer.
Playing as a part of the attacking midfield in a 3-4-2-1 system under Gian Gasperini, Malinovskyi has seven league appearances so far this season.
He is yet to register a goal or an assist but is still considered as one of the best players for the club so far this season.
Capable of creating chances galore, the 26-year-old is a technically gifted playmaker who loves to have the ball at his feet. He can take on defenders in the final third and set up his teammates on goal but he is equally adept at hold up play, helping his side out of pressure.
He is effective, carrying the ball from his own half into a dangerous position while his vision and passing range make him that much more dangerous.
He has five goals in 24 appearances for the Ukrainian national side and at 26, is an experienced campaigner who can make an immediate impact at the club.
Right Man For Chelsea?
Chelsea lost one of the best playmakers in the game in Eden Hazard in the summer and there is very little they can do, to replace such quality in the first team.
The addition of Christian Pulisic might add goals to the team in the long run but at the moment, young Mason Mount, Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are the only players who can be categorized as creative outlets from midfield.
Lampard’s system revolves around turning defence into attack quickly, which is what Malinovskyi is really good at.
Chelsea might be tempted to spend big on more established players who play in a similar role in Europe but signing this Ukrainian international will only make them a stronger outfit and fit well in the youthful and exciting side that Lampard is forming at his former club.
Stats Courtesy: Whoscored