Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Chelsea can replace Kante with Zubimendi

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Chelsea boss Graham Potter is reportedly looking to home in on an exciting budding star from Spain, with focus on issuing in a worthy replacement for a potentially departing star…

What’s the word?

According to journalist Simon Phillips, Chelsea have declared their interest in industrious Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi, who might be a golden replacement for N’Golo Kante, who has recently been subject of speculation regarding his future at Stamford Bridge. 

Indeed, with Premier League icon Kante’s contract set to expire at the end of the campaign, and FC Barcelona looking to lure the mighty midfielder to the Camp Nou, Zubimendi could be the perfect remedy to the loss of such an all-encompassing maestro. 

Zubimendi has previously been touted at £56m, with the 23-year-old a technically-gifted holding presence at the centre of the park and an integral facet to a Sociedad side currently perching in third place in the Spanish La Liga. 

Kante replacement

Zubimendi, currently a one-club man, swiftly emerged into the first-team fold and captivated Sociedad supporters with his composure and grace on the ball, since making 155 professional appearances for the club, scoring four goals and assists apiece. 

And this term, he has truly grown into his own, playing 17 times and providing a sheen of resilience to his flying team.

His presence was especially notable during his two outings against Manchester United in the Europa League, where he played his only two matches of the continental competition – an indication of his importance – and clinched a victory that proved pivotal in the side’s excellent first-placed finish. 

Will Chelsea sign Martin Zubimendi?

As per FBref, the ace ranks within the top 16% for interceptions, the top 6% for aerials won and the top 7% for clearances when compared to midfielders across Europe’s top five leagues this past year – highlighting the sweeping pedigree he would bring to the Chelsea ranks.

And Sofascore illustrates his defensive aptitude with his 1.6 tackles and 1.7 clearances per outing in the league this term, winning 60% of his duels and confidently aiding forward transitions with an 85% pass success rate.

Zubimendi could certainly take the baton that Kante would hand him, should he indeed depart the club this summer, the £290k-per-week gem, who, on only £50.5k-per-week himself, could be a more affordable and prudent signing. 

Kante has been a stalwart for Chelsea, enjoying a tenure littered with individual and team accolades, but the changing of the guard at the club appears to be in good hands, and the “special” Zubimendi – as hailed by Sid Lowe – could make a resounding statement of intent, should the transfer cross the line.



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