Chelsea are poised to sign Alex Sandro, making him the most expensive defender in the world.
As reported in The Times, the Brazilian defender is set to depart Juventus for a fee of £61 million. On Sunday night, Juventus made last ditch attempts to convince the wing back to remain in Turin but he appears intent on a move to London.
Sandro currently earns £75,000 at Juventus and despite offers from The Old Lady to drastically improve such conditions, it is understood that he will see his wage double in joining up with Conté’s charges. The defender played an important part in Juventus’ stellar season, in which a Scudetta triumph and Champions League final appearance were built on a solid defence. However, it is his penchant for getting forward and posing offensive threats that make him particularly attractive to Chelsea.
Chelsea of course took the Premier League by storm last season having converted to a back three. The system has many strengths although one glaring weakness is the immense amount of space the wing-backs are required to cover. One of the miracles of Chelsea’s run is that in Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses, Chelsea boasted two players adept at covering such an amount of ground. Remarkably, both players went through much of the season injury-free. Such luck is likely to elude Conté next season, but in Alex Sandro he now has an excellent additional option to Alonso on the left flank.
Not only would the muted fee make him the world’s most expensive defender, it would also be the most Chelsea have spent on a player in their history. Their ill-fated signing of Fernando Alonso for £50 million is currently the apex of their spending but that looks set to be comfortably surpassed.
The transfer would tally with the notion that top class defenders are severely lacking, evidenced by how fees for defenders has sky-rocketed. John Stones, Eliaquim Mangala and David Luiz all moved for clubs for astronomical sums in recent years although Sandro’s move would trump the lot.
A move for Virgil van Dijk would certainly be in keeping with that theme, the Dutch international is also sought by Chelsea and the English champions will likely have to match the fee doled out for Sandro to acquire his services.
The summer is yet young, but already Chelsea seem to be intent on strengthening significantly ahead of next season’s push for both domestic and European glory.
Colm Egan, Pundit Arena