Chelsea appear to have had a £23million bid for their prime midfield target turned down. Despite the rejection, it seems that was just an opening bid and they will go back again..
Now, they will consider upping their bid to around £28million to persuade AS Roma to sell. Roma reportedly want £32million for the Belgian midfielder. Chelsea will hope that a bid of around £28million is a fair negotiation and enough to convince president James Pallotta to part with the midfielder. Pallotta remains assertive in his desire not to sell the midfielder, but there is a feeling that if the bid is high enough, he will be sold:
“I have already said that we will not sell Pjanic and Nainggolan,” Pallotta told Gazzetta dello Sport after the 3-0 win against Chievo at the weekend. “I would like to see them continue playing for Roma.”
Antonio Conte has made Nainggolan one of his priorities for the summer as he looks to re-structure what, at times, has been a pretty abysmal midfield this season. Nainggolan is a well-rounded, box-to-box midfielder that would add a lot of energy to the midfield. He is not too similar to any Chelsea player but strikes most similarities to former Blue Ramires, who left for big money to join the Chinese league in January. Like Ramires, Nainggolan plays with a tireless work rate, but perhaps has a bit more strength and is more enthusiastic in duels.
Nainggolan wins 47% of his duels, more than both Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas. He wins fewer tackles than the current midfield pairing per 90 though (1.64). The Belgian does however manage 1.3 key passes, more than double that of Matic (0.6) and not far behind the creative Fabregas (1.72). Nainggolan’s stats highlight his all-round qualities; he doesn’t really excel in many areas, but seems to be behind one of Matic or Fabregas and ahead of the other in most stats. That begs the question as to who he would partner, or is Conte going to deploy a narrow midfield with three central players, in which case he could play alongside both. If Nainggolan played alongside Matic and Fabregas you would have a midfield trio that has pretty much everything, perhaps not a lot of pace but that can be compensated for in other areas of the pitch. I think Nainggolan’s signing, should it happen, would certainly indicate a change in formation from the usual 4-2-3-1 that we have seen Chelsea deploy for the last few seasons.
At this stage Chelsea still need to improve their bid significantly to have a realistic chance of luring the player from Rome. A £28million bid could be the next step, but I’m not even sure that will be enough with Roma keen to keep hold of their current top players heading into next season.