The summer transfer window will be an important time for Chelsea.
Frank Lampard’s first year as manager of the club has seen the integration of several promising youngsters including Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount, and Tammy Abraham, while a clutch more have made first-team debuts.
Such a strong foundation will serve Chelsea well in the coming years, but the Blues also require some more experienced campaigners to help guide those young players, especially if the aim is to win the Premier League.
It should come as no surprise then that the club have been tracking Dries Mertens. The 33-year-old has grown to be one of the deadliest forwards in Europe while at Napoli, and the news that his contract was set to expire this summer alerted several clubs, including Chelsea.
Unfortunately, a report this week indicates that the Belgian is close to inking an extension with Napoli, which will all but end Chelsea’s pursuit of him.
There was better news, however, as it was confirmed that Monaco would consider offers Wissam Ben Yedder.
The Principality club is struggling financially, and although he is soon to be 30, Ben Yedder would still have three years on his Belgian counterpart. Chelsea would likely have to battle Manchester United for the striker’s signature, but if they were to win out, it could prove to be a masterstroke
Ben Yedder scored 18 goals for Monaco before coronavirus ended the Ligue 1 season, and his talent would be of benefit to Chelsea. Monaco’s willingness to advance up the field quickly on breakaway attacks would work well alongside the pace that Chelsea have at their disposal.
Ben Yedder’s preference of linking with teammates via quick pass combinations could flow well with the likes of Mount, Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
His creativity as a forward is underlined by the fact he managed seven assists for Monaco during the 2019/2020 campaign and added a further two in three cup games.
Ben Yedder’s versatility is also something that should appeal to Lampard. The striker has spent the bulk of his career playing as a leading forward or a secondary striker, but he also has 18 games on the right-wing and even played briefly in central midfield.
Even when operating as a forward, he rarely remains just near the penalty area. Study anyone of his heatmaps, and you’ll likely notice a tendency to drift out wide right, which would create space for the likes of Mount to burst into the penalty area. This season with Monaco has also seen Ben Yedder connect well with Islam Slimani.
The Algerian serves as the more physical presence, and if paired with Abraham in a similar way, it could produce results and take some pressure off Abraham in the process.
Perhaps most important of all is the player’s goal-threat. As well as scoring 19 goals in all competitions this season, Ben Yedder has managed a goal every two games, on average, with Sevilla, (70 goals in 138 games) and just marginally less than that with Toulouse (71 in 174 games).
Prior to the coronavirus ending Ligue 1, he was on course to score over 20 goals for the third season in a row, which is a brilliant return. He also shared the Ligue 1 top-scorer award with Kylian Mbappe this season.
Those factors, coupled with his experience at the top level, could perfectly complement Chelsea’s vibrant young squad. The financial situation at Monaco means he should be easily attainable, and perhaps, even more, cost-effective than other options on the market.