Premier League

Ligue 1 Players Chelsea Should Target

 • by Andrew Gibney
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Chelsea have wrapped up their move for French midfielder Tiemoué Bakayoko and could yet even turn a profit on their midfield upgrade by selling Manchester United transfer target Nemanja Matić.

With the Blues sending scouts monitoring Ligue 1 closely, it would be no surprise if other players from across the channel became Chelsea targets.

Here are three Ligue 1 stars who Chelsea should pursue this summer.

Dalbert (Nice)


Alex Sandro | Chelsea’s Next Target? | FWTV by FootballWhispers

Chelsea are willing to spend £50million on Juventus’ Brazilian left-back Alex Sandro this summer. Conte is in the market for options at wing-back but it would be a mammoth deal to bring the former Porto man to Stamford Bridge.

If the Old Lady are not willing to accept their advances, the Italian boss will need to look at alternatives and Nice’s flying left-back Dalbert would be an excellent addition to push Marcos Alonso.

The 23-year-old Brazilian played 33 games for Nice in Ligue 1 last season, showing ability defensively and going forward, plus a consistency that meant Swiss boss Lucien Favre could rely on him throughout.

Dalbert was at the heart of Nice’s success as they clinched third place. Not many players in Ligue 1 were as adapt at getting their body in the way of crosses with his averaging one per 90 minutes. Of the players to play more than ten games Yoann Andreu (1.2) only just comes out on top.

Attempting 3.7 tackles per 90, according to WhoScored, he won 2.7 and the opposition only found a way past him 0.9 times per 90 – the same as Alonso, but he attempted fewer tackles at 2.8 and won 1.9 per 90.

Previously a known Inter Milan transfer target, Nice are holding on strong to the left-back who added three assists last term. Contracted until 2021, the French club want €15million and the Nerazzuri have yet to match their valuation.

Chelsea could sneak in to do a deal and the Brazilian, able to use both feet and with pace to cover back quickly, could be an ideal addition to Conte’s 3-4-3.

Ibrahim Amadou (Lille)

Montpellier's midfielder Stephane Sessegnon (L) vies with Lille's defender Ibrahim Amadou during the French L1 football match Montpellier (MHSC) vs Lille (LOSC)

The move for Bakayoko is complete but that leaves the future of Cesc Fàbregas and Nemanja Matić up in the air. Chelsea will not want to strengthen the midfield only to lose a couple of options.

One player who would help add options through the middle of the park, but also represent another promising talent in the Chelsea ranks, is Lille’s all-action midfielder Ibrahim Amadou.

Still just 24, Amadou has been with Lille since 2015, joining from Nancy. He was originally bought as a centre-back who could slip into midfield but has turned out to be the opposite.

His long legs, strong running style and ability to charge out from the back are reminiscent of a young Marcel Desailly and with the right guidance from a coach like Conte, he could blossom into something special.

There is still a rawness to his game but he is a rock in front of the Lille back four, with that natural instinct to drop back and cover when it’s needed.

Without any standout statistics to compare, he gives a little bit of everything. Not afraid to use his body to tackle, he stands strong and finds a way to get a leg in – similar in that sense to Bakayoko.

Amadou has an eye for a pass, able to play in strikers over the top, plus the sense to see space and drive his team forward.

Lille have rejected €10million bids in the past but with Marcelo Bielsa ready to launch his revolution in the north of France, sales could boost his spending power. His current contract runs till 2020, and like Dalbert, a bid of around €15million could do a deal and give Chelsea a versatile, talented youngster who is ready for the next step up.

Ricardo Pereira (Nice)

Portugal's Ricardo Pereira celebrates scoring his sides first goal of the game

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Despite playing only 16 games at right wing-back for Nice this season, Ricardo Pereira was still picked out as the best in his position in Ligue 1. Praise indeed.

The Brazilian, owned by Porto, has just finished the second of a two-year loan deal at Nice and his time on the Côte d’Azur has been a massive success.

Under Claude Puel and Favre, the 23-year-old, an Arsenal transfer target, has played at right-back in a four-man defence, right wing-back in a 3-5-2 and as a winger in a 4-2-3-1. Last season, he even played at left-back.

Ricardo can beat a defender for pace or dribble past with skill. His off the ball runs help him get beyond defenders and he has the talent on either foot to deliver crosses into the box.

There is an element of Dani Alves to his game and although he’s not as powerful as his countryman, he’s got time to improve and there is so much more still to come from the full-back.

Already a rumoured transfer target for Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain, you have to believe he is also at the required level to challenge for minutes at Stamford Bridge.

Ricardo attempted 4.5 tackles per 90, winning 3.1. He also made 1.4 interceptions and 2.7 clearances. Going forward he added 1.4 crosses per 90 and finished with two goals and four assists.

Challenging Victor Moses for minutes shouldn’t be too hard with the Nigerian attempting 2.4 tackles per 90, winning 1.7. He made 1.5 interceptions, adding 1.7 clearances and 4.3 crosses – although only 0.6 found their target. Moses finished the season with three goals and two assists.

Rare for a full-back, Ricardo is as good defensively as he is going forward, something that is crucial in a 3-4-3 and makes him an ideal signing for Conte this summer.

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