Chelsea have entered the race to sign highly-rated wing-back Achraf Hakimi from Inter Milan. The 22-year-old joined the club from Real Madrid last summer for a fee of €40 million after a two-year loan spell at Borussia Dortmund.
As per The Times, the Blues are ready to match Paris Saint-Germain’s bid of £56 million for the Moroccan international. Inter, though, are looking at a fee of around £70 million for the Spanish-born wing-back. Hakimi still has four years remaining on his deal at the Italian club.
In his first season with Inter, Achraf Hakimi scored 7 goals and provided 11 assists, and was a key player in Inter’s success.
Achraf Hakimi: A smashing move by the Blues?
Inter Milan have reportedly put a few players up for sale to make up for losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Antonio Conte, who guided the side to a Serie A title, left his position as manager, and now we could see one of their bright, young stars, Achraf Hakimi, leave as well.
Hakimi came through the ranks at Real Madrid and managed a few appearances for the senior side before making a name for himself at Dortmund. The Morrocan is a quick and strong dribbler who likes to take on opponents and leave them dead with his speed. Initially a right-back, Hakimi has been moved further up the pitch and plays as a right wing-back or right-sided midfielder. The Inter player has great stamina and technical ability to bomb up and down the right side, putting in crosses and cutting the ball back at pace for the forwards to take shots at goal.
At the Italian club, he had the freedom to stay wide or run at the heart of the opposition’s midfield, and he thrived with the freedom he was afforded. The 22-year-old would be a tremendous addition to the Chelsea line-up and would fit perfectly in Thomas Tuchel’s team, which also utilises wing-backs heavily.
But, the addition of another wing-back would put the future of Reece James and captain Cesar Azpilicueta in doubt. Both Chelsea players can operate as full-backs/wing-backs or as part of the three-man defence. The inclusion of Hakimi would mean that one of the two will have to sit out. Neither James or Azpilicueta are natural centre-backs and are more comfortable out wide. If the Blues pay a sum in excess of £50-60 million for a player, he will be expected to play week in, week out which means that Tuchel might be planning on playing James as part of the back three in the long term.
James is a young player with huge potential and Azpilicueta is the Blues’ captain and a fan favourite. Tuchel will have a tough task to keep all three players happy if they do sign Hakimi, which is a good problem to have for Chelsea.