Chelsea have been repeatedly linked with left-backs over the past few months, with it being an area of the pitch in which Antonio Conte doesn’t enjoy great strength in depth.
As specialist left-backs go, Chelsea are looking at Baba Rahman and Kenedy after Marcos Alonso, and it’s not the most inspiring of selections. Both the former two have been linked with moves away in the January window, with interest from Turkey especially, and that could provide the space Chelsea would need to sign someone else.
Links with Juventus’ Alex Sandro refuse to go away, but it seems clear that, even if the Turin club would sell, the Brazilian would come at a cost premium, and that may not suit Chelsea.
That’s why Chelsea scouting Porto on Friday night peaked our interest at Sport Witness. A Bola report a Chelsea official was spotted at the 0-0 draw with Benfica. There were two left-backs on show who have repeatedly been linked with transfers.
Alex Grimaldo for Benfica and Alex Telles for Porto.
Former Barcelona player Grimaldo didn’t have a great match, with A Bola rating him 3/10, Telles was one of Porto’s more highly rated players, with 6/10. Of course, one evening doesn’t often make a transfer, but Telles seems to tick several boxes for Chelsea.
The 24 year old has a contract until 2021 with a buyout clause of €40m, which means that’s the maximum Chelsea would pay. Anything close to that figure would soothe any work permit fears.
Telles can also play in a more attacking role, which would make him useful for a number of different systems for Antonio Conte or whoever comes after him.
At the beginning of July, Telles’ agent Fernando Otto spoke to Sport Witness about a potential Chelsea move: “For now, we have nothing. Not from Chelsea. Neither me nor the player received any contact, from any English club. But it can happen because the market opens tomorrow.”
“When he went to Galatasaray, we had an offer from Chelsea for Alex. But at the time, we had already confirmed a pre-contract with Galatasaray, and we could not go back.
“But there was information exchange, last year too. And I believe that maybe one day he will play for Chelsea. I don’t know if it’s going to be this season or the next. But I feel like one day he can play for Chelsea.”
Asked how much the Portuguese club would demand from Chelsea, he said: “I don’t know. Porto paid six, seven million Euros. But he’s been valued this year, he was the best fullback of the Portuguese league, and in assists numbers he’s the best left-back in Europe. I believe they will ask a lot, not a little. Also because there are no fullbacks in the market.”
There’s no claims Chelsea are making a move to sign Alex Telles right now, but transfer boxes are being ticked and it certainly looks like a possibility. Interestingly, Juventus also had a spy at the Porto match… perhaps they’re looking for an Alex Sandro replacement.