Three defenders Chelsea could sign before transfer deadline day
Ned Bristow takes a look at three defenders Jose Mourinho could bring in to Chelsea before next week's transfer deadline
The name on every English football fan’s lips, Stones has been Chelsea’s prime target this summer and the potential move has escalated over the past few days. In a bid to force through the £37m+ move, the 21-year-old England international submitted a transfer request which was rejected by the Toffees and led to jeers from his own fans. In a defiant and somewhat unexpected response from the stubborn Everton hierarchy, they have told Jose Mourinho and co that the former Barnsley man is not available for any price, despite paying just £3m for him two years ago. The Blues have been stunned by this refusal, but Mourinho going in with a fifth bid for the centre-half as deadline day approaches would surprise few. Stones needs no introduction as a player, having been a key player for Everton last season and forcing his way into Roy Hodgson’s England setup with his imposing frame and impressive passing as well as dribbling skills. With John Terry currently being used as a pawn in Mourinho’s quest for a new centre half, Stones would be the ideal replacement for the former England captain and would almost certainly be groomed as Kurt Zouma’s long-term defensive partner.
At just 22 years old, Varane has already become one of the most respected centre-halves in European football. With a mixture of experience, composure and youthful rawness, the Frenchman has established himself at the heart of Real Madrid’s defence as well as representing his country on 21 occasions. Mourinho is an open admirer of Varane’s, having handed him his first team debut in Madrid, and would see the Frenchman’s arrival as a perfect fit to his Kurt Zouma-themed Chelsea jigsaw. An old head on young shoulders, Varane is a brilliant reader of the game and also possessed a wicked agility that makes him a match for any forward. Comfortable on the ball, he would offer the same options as Stones in terms of launching attacks and adding another outlet to Mourinho’s offensive line. The former RC Lens man would command a high fee similar to what Chelsea are offering for Stones, having signed a six-year deal at the Bernabeu in 2011. The Madrid club would, naturally, be reluctant to let one of football’s most promising stars leave, particularly to one of their major European rivals. But money talks, and, with Chelsea prepared to fork out around £40m to get their man, Real would certainly be tempted by the figures on offer.
Long touted by the media as a contingency plan should Chelsea’s pursuit of Stones fail, Garay would offer a slightly different – but equally viable – option than Varane or the Everton man. At 28 years old, the Zenit St Petersburg defender is in his prime and would slot into Mourinho’s defences with less risk of inexperienced mistakes. At six years John Terry’s junior and given Mourinho’s turbulent past with ageing club legends, Garay would likely replace the Chelsea skipper in terms of helping to mentor Zouma as well as on the pitch. Any potential partnership with Cahill or Zouma would offer a balance that would add depth to Chelsea’s back four, with the Argentine acting more as a sweeper allowing his teammates to challenge for the first ball with less reservation and step into challenges more fearlessly knowing that the former Real Madrid and Benfica man is there to clear up any danger.