Chelsea are reportedly leading the race to sign Villarreal defender, Alfonso Pedraza, according to Calcio Napoli 24.
Pedraza enjoyed a strong season with the Spanish side, which was topped off by beating Manchester United in the Europa League final.
In 44 appearances, he scored two goals and provided four assists.
The 25-year-old started his youth career with Villarreal and only came back to his original club after several spells out on loan.
One of those included a brief stint with Leeds United in 2017, where he almost helped them gain promotion from the Championship.
Now back in La Liga, Pedraza is gaining attention from across Europe.
Seemingly Chelsea have been drawn to his performances and are monitoring his movements closely, with the Blues now in ‘pole position’ to land him.
Thomas Tuchel is looking to reshape his squad in the summer transfer window.
A new centre-forward and centre-back remain high priority, but other areas might also need to be revamped.
Uncertainties remain about Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri’s futures, both players typically stationed at left-back.
Emerson hardly got a look in all campaign under Tuchel or Frank Lampard, whilst Alonso only began to remerge following the latter’s removal in January.
Selling one or even both could leave Ben Chilwell without much opposition down the left flank, hence the apparent interest in Pedraza, who can play at full-back or on the wing.
He is contracted with Villarreal until 2025, so expect the Yellow Submarine to request a decent fee for their defender’s services.
I must confess that I’ve only watched Pedraza play once, in the Europa League final. His performance did not impress me in the least. He was hooked off before the final whistle on several occasions when he battled against United’s strikers.
However, he shown strong energy and a willingness to attack, which might be beneficial to Tuchel’s club. Furthermore, if Alonso and/or Emerson depart, another left-back will be required.
Who says Chelsea has to spend a lot of money on a big name when they might get a good player for a smaller price?