The names for a potential new centre back for Chelsea are spinning around, and there’s a good chance, according to the French press, that they might be very interested in signing Eliaquim Mangala of Porto, who has been turning a lot of heads this season.
The 22 year old French centre back who can also play as a left back if necessary has played 35 times for the senior side this season after not being more than a backup during his first year in Portugal after arriving from Standard Liege in 2011 for €6.5 million. He scored five goals during the season and will probably make his national team debut very soon, called up to the matches against Uruguay and Brazil.
According to L’Equipe, Jose Mourinho is very interested in the defender, despite the €35 million Porto will probably be asking for in order to agree to such a deal. Earlier this season, Manchester United have also shown interest in the multi-use youngster, who has played as a striker and left back when he rose through the Standard Liege ranks.
There are those who assume that Chelsea won’t be willing to pay that kind of money for a young, relatively unproven centre back because of their attempt to fall in line with the Fifa Fair Play regulations, assumed to be monitored more strictly in the Premier League than in other places around Europe (Russia, France). Still, there’s also the matter of players who might be sold this season: David Luiz (to Barcelona?) and Fernando Torres, with quite a teams interested in the striker, at a reduced price, including Napoli, with Rafa Benitez being the man pushing for the chase after him.
Mourinho hasn’t been fully confirmed yet by the club (the papers have already made it quite clear that a deal has been struck), but it seems that the transfer dealings up to this point have been according to his desires and plans. Chelsea’s biggest issue last season was probably finding a midfielder who can provide some link up between attack and defense instead of having one-dimensional players in the middle like Mikel or Lampard, but strengthening the defense, even without any departures, does make sense, especially if Luiz doesn’t leave but actually gets pushed forward to the defensive midfield position.