Chelsea are reportedly plotting a move to sign defender Attila Szalai from Turkish club Fenerbahce in January next year.
The Blues have started the new season brilliantly and sit at the top of the Premier League table after 11 games. However, Thomas Tuchel is already mapping out plans for the future as he looks to further strengthen his squad in the next few transfer windows.
According to Turkish outlet CNN Turk, Chelsea are preparing to submit an official offer for Fenerbahce defender Attila Szalai in the mid-season trading period. The report adds that Fenerbahce are also waiting for an offer of around €20 million for their star defender, who has a contract until 2025.
Attila Szalai, 23, joined Fenerbahce earlier this year in the January transfer window from Cyprian club Apollon Limassol. The Hungarian international has made 40 appearances for the Turkish club to date, chipping in with three goals.
🚨 Chelsea are going to offer £20m to try and beat Atletico Madrid for Hungarian 6”3 CB Attila Szalai, reports @rubenuria who is Nizaar Kinsella’s Spanish Colleague. #CFC pic.twitter.com/ME4cOZpJ00
— Pys (@CFCPys) November 5, 2021
The 23-year-old, dubbed the “Hungarian van Dijk”, has garnered interest from various clubs following his rock-solid performances in Turkey but Chelsea seems to have now added the centre-back to their wishlist ahead of the upcoming transfer window.
Attila Szalai to Chelsea – A good option for the Blues?
Chelsea are believed to be in the transfer market for a centre-half amid the ambiguities surrounding Antonio Rudiger’s future. Rudiger, 28, is into the final year of his contract and hasn’t shown the willingness to pen fresh terms with the west London outfit as of now, meaning he will be free to negotiate with non-British clubs and sign a pre-contract agreement in January.
Like Rudiger, Andreas Christensen’s contract also expires at the end of the season, while Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta are not getting any younger at this moment in time. Thus, it becomes imperative for Thomas Tuchel to add defensive reinforcements in a bid to avoid a potential crisis next season.
Real Madrid are looking to lure Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger on a free transfer with the Spanish giants set to offload stars to secure the German. pic.twitter.com/MyHmXDrY1n
— Frank Khalid (@FrankKhalidUK) November 5, 2021
In that regard, Attila Szalai would fit the bill perfectly in Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side. Szalai is a promising young defender who is tall, strong and powerful with great aerial ability and anticipation skills. The Hungarian is a smart reader of the game, makes vital interceptions and tackles and uses his physicality to shrug off players to win possession.
The ex Apollon Limassol player is an intimidating presence at the back and more often than not comes on top in aerial duels. He can also initiate attacks and bring the ball out from the back with a certain degree of authority and calmness. Despite standing at 6ft 4ins tall, Szalai is no slouch at all and never hesitates to throw himself on the line to block shots.
A strong personality with leadership and organisation skills, the Hungarian international could be a great long-term replacement for the ageing Thiago Silva. Szalai is certainly a talented player with loads of potential, someone who can flourish in the years to come. All in all, this is a deal that Chelsea should complete without any second thoughts in January.