Tuchel bemoans Chelsea mistakes after West Ham win 3-2
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Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia has agreed a deal with Fenerbahce to sign highly-rated defender Attila Szalai ahead of the January transfer window, according to Hungary boss Marco Rossi. The Blues are currently facing the possibility of losing Antonio Rudiger on a free transfer at the end of the season but look set to secure his potential long-term replacement in time for the new year.
Rudiger has emerged as a crucial asset for Chelsea under the guidance of Thomas Tuchel, who has succeeded in extracting the defender’s very best form.
The 28-year-old played a key role in helping the Blues to Champions League glory last season as part of a back three that conceded just twice in the knockout stages of the competition
He has also played the full 90 minutes in all but one of his side’s Premier League matches since the beginning of the campaign after establishing himself among the first names on the team sheet in west London.
However, Chelsea are yet to secure Rudiger’s long-term future despite holding lengthy talks over the possibility of an extension to his current deal at Stamford Bridge, which runs out in the summer.
Real Madrid are said to be keen admirers of the Germany international, who will be able to strike a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club from January as things stand.
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It seems as though Granovskaia has already moved to secure a potential replacement for Rudiger at the turn of the year, with Szalai having been lined up to become Chelsea’s first signing of the January window.
Rossi, who manages Szalai at international level with Hungary, has revealed that the Fenerbahce man has all but rubber-stamped a deal to join the European champions ahead of the Premier League run-in.
When quizzed on whether any Hungarian starlets are good enough to play in a top European league, Rossi told Calciomercato: “It’s hard to name just one player.
“But right now I see very well Attila Szalai, who plays for Fenerbache, but I think he is joining Chelsea.
“Clearly, he has been followed by important clubs in Spain, but apparently his move to Chelsea is a done deal.”
Szalai has turned plenty of heads with his consistently impressive showing in Fenerbahce’s back three, suggesting that he would fit into Chelsea’s preferred style of play upon his arrival.
The 23-year-old has emerged as one of the club’s most important players since his £1.8million move from Apollon Limassol of Cyprus back in January.
He has also established himself as a mainstay for Hungary alongside the likes of Dominik Szoboszlai and featured heavily at Euro 2020 over the summer.
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It remains to be seen whether Szalai would immediately take on a starting role upon his arrival at Chelsea, with the likes of Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Thiago Silva likely to remain ahead of him in the pecking order for now.
Meanwhile, the recent emergence of Trevoh Chalobah may have also damaged Szalai’s hopes of regular first-team minutes this season.
However, with Rudiger and Christensen both failing to agree new deals at Chelsea as of yet, it seems feasible that Szalai could emerge as an key asset for the Blues in the years to come.
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