It might only be October, but there’s already talk of what Conte is planning for the January transfer window at Chelsea.
When Chelsea opted to sign Marcus Alonso in the summer for so much money, many question marks were raised by fans. The concern was only multiplied by the fact that Alonso had already been in England and not really excelled at all. Yes, during his time at Fiorentina he improved, but whether he warranted his price-tag is another matter.
One of the reasons Chelsea fans were perhaps puzzled by the signing of Alonso, was because Swiss left back Ricardo Rodriguez was seemingly available for less money. Whilst the Wolfsburg defender didn’t have the best of seasons last year, he is still widely considered as one of the best left backs in Europe, and certainly almost every fan and pundit would say that he is a superior player to Alonso. Transfer Market Web, an Italian source cited in the Daily Star are now suggesting that Conte is not satisfied with summer signing Alonso and that he will look to bring in Rodriguez in January to replace him. Would this be a good idea?
Let’s take a look at the stats, how do the two defenders compare? I’ve decided to look at both players statistics from last season as there is more data to compare – however it is worth noting that both were not playing in the Premier League, which is a very different environment.
Looking at the stats, it’s a pretty close match in every department (all stats per 90 minutes). Alonso edges Interceptions (2.03 vs. 1.92), Tackles won (1.46 vs. 1.44) and Chances Created (1.65 vs. 1.57) – whilst Rodriguez comes out on top in aerial duels won (2 vs. 1.88) and is the clear winner in total forward passes per 90, averaging 33.61 to Alonso’s 23.17.
There is also the fact that Rodriguez is very strong in attacking areas traditionally, apart from last season he is known for scoring and assisting goals. With Conte looking at perhaps deploying 352 formation, or 343, Rodriguez could be the ideal candidate to play in the wide left role. I think this would help us to see the very best of him, because if there is a criticism of his that I have found whilst watching him in action for club and country, it is that perhaps he lacks the pace and offensive work rate to be a defensively-sound left back, he looks more naturally wingback. A 3 at the back formation would give that security behind him and allow him more freedom to excel with his attacking play.
Rodriguez is likely to cost in the region of £20million should he leave, and it is thought that the player is not currently happy at the German club, so a move is possible if Chelsea really want him.