Chelsea's £25m wildcard pick could see them repeat Antonio Conte's January transfer window error

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Thomas Tuchel has made no secret of Chelsea‘s priority in the January transfer window.

The awful ACL injury suffered by Ben Chilwell in November against Juventus ruled the outstanding defender out for the season, handing Chelsea the unenviable task of trying to replace the England international in the mid-season window.

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“The situation has not changed for us. No news and updates,” Tuchel said before the Carabao Cup semi-final with Tottenham a fortnight ago.

“The areas where we are looking into the market are clear. There’s no need to put any pressure and for sure no need to do it in public.”

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As of the time of writing, it appears any chance of Chelsea being able to recall a player they own looks slim.

Matt Law of The Telegraph tweeted on Tuesday evening that there is no expectation at Stamford Bridge of Emerson Palmieri returning from his loan spell at Lyon, despite the Blues offering a small fee to recall him.

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This means that, with fellow loanee Ian Maatsen likely to remain at Coventry until the summer, any significant resolution is going to have to come in the shape of a new signing, and a Bundesliga wildcard is the latest name to be added to the long list of potential wing-back arrivals.

A report from Sky Germany last week claimed Chelsea are one of a number of clubs monitoring Stuttgart left-back Borna Sosa.

The 24-year-old is a Croatia international and is highly valued by Stuttgart head coach Pellegrino Matarazzo, who is currently trying to keep his side in Germany’s top tier.

Sky claim for any deal regarding Sosa to materialise, a fee of around £25m would potentially be enough to bring the defender to London before deadline day passes next Monday.

Sosa is just another name added to a growing list that reflects the tricky situation Chelsea find themselves in.

Sure, supporters have been quick to point out the fact the club have known about Chilwell’s serious injury since November, but spending a significant amount on a player who will likely be second-choice in six months is a difficult sell.

Chelsea's £25m wildcard pick could see them repeat Antonio Conte's January transfer window error
© Chris Lee – Chelsea FC BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND – AUGUST 11: Emerson Palmieri of Chelsea poses for a photo with the UEFA Super Cup Trophy following victory in the UEFA Super Cup 2021 match between Chelsea FC and Villarreal CF at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park on August 11, 2021 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Also, rushing in for a name that does not radically improve the quality of the first-team squad – ironically a scenario Chelsea experienced under Antonio Conte in January 2018 when the club bought Emerson for £17m from Roma – doesn’t seem particularly smart with long-term thinking in mind.

Emerson being the first choice feels like the risk-free option, especially if there would be more suitable players on the market next summer that would suit the club in the longer term rather than just an emergency period.

The Italian has previous experience under Tuchel, has played in the Premier League and knows life at the club.

Granted the 27-year-old was deemed surplus to requirements last summer but with Chelsea’s recent recruitment being questioned, is it that terrible an idea to wait until the summer?

Malang Sarr has looked capable in a left-back role in Tuchel’s recently tried four-man defence and Kenedy being recalled from Flamengo can also play on the left. Cobham talent Lewis Hall will hopefully gain more minutes in the FA Cup fourth round against Plymouth.

Even with criticism, Marcos Alonso remains a capable and senior figure who can provide sporadic moments of brilliance that may be aided with a rest after a busy period.

And with Reece James close to returning from a hamstring injury, Tuchel has even shown a willingness to try the English star on the left too.

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