Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho may have already spotted the star he wants to replace Ashley Cole at the end of the season.
German newspaper Bild has suggested that the Portuguese coach will turn to the Bundesliga and 21-year-old Swiss Ricardo Rodriguez as he looks to snap up a long term replacement for a player who has become a Chelsea icon.
Cole has been inconsistently used by Mourinho this season and has struggled to get back into the team following his antics over Christmas, which saw him turn up at the Arsenal Christmas party after the Chelsea one was cancelled.
Chelsea have consistently been linked with left-backs this season, with Cole’s current deal set to expire in the summer and no indication at the moment that he’ll get a one-year extension.
So why exactly is Mourinho reportedly looking at a £10 million move for Rodriguez?
The Wolfsburg star has been one of his side’s most consistent players this season with 22 appearances across all competitions. His discipline has been good (he’s not been booked at all) and he’s managed to keep himself fit.
More importantly, he’s shown composure in the opponent’s final third with three goals and three assists to his name from league matches so far this season.
That’s very significant for Chelsea, a team who need their full backs to get forward and provide width in attack, especially on the left with Eden Hazard drifting into a more central position.
His current contract expires in the summer of 2016 so it won’t be a quick deal to complete over the summer and there could be plenty of haggling over the fee and terms which soaks up the weeks.
However, Chelsea will be able to offer him the standard of Premier League football as well as a Champions League challenge, something Wolfsburg may struggle to pull off with the likes of Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke all above them.
Rodriguez could be a very good investment and a much cheaper alternative to Southampton’s Luke Shaw. It’s just a case of whether Mourinho is ready to push Cole out of the exit door and move on.
image: © funky1opti