Chelsea look to sign unknown international left back - who is Iasmin Latovlevici?

Stamford Bridge Inside

Chelsea may be about to sign Filipe Luis from Atletico Madrid, but Jose Mourinho needs to add depth behind the Brazilian.

Luis will seemingly complete a £20m switch to West London the coming weeks, but with Ashley Cole already on his way out and Ryan Bertrand likely to seek first team football elsewhere, Mourinho looks likely to need another left back to come in as cover in case Luis is injured, suspended or even out of form.

That has led to speculation that the Blues are lining up a bid to sign Steaua Bucharest's Romanian international Iasmin Latovlevici. The 28-year-old impressed against Chelsea when the sides met in the Champions League last season, and whilst he only has eight caps for the national team, Latovlevici is held in high regard.

Whilst the clips on YouTube highlight how Latovlevici loves to get forward, it doesn't give a true representation of him as a player - nor does it suggest how he would fit in at Chelsea. To get a better understanding of the player, who is mostly unknown to English fans, I spoke to Romanian football expert Emanuel Rosu.

Emanuel started with a quote from ex-Steaua manager Laurenciu Reghecampf: "There aren't many like Latovlevici out there. I had arguments with a lot of people over him, he's a very, very good player. If he's 100% concentrated, he can be incredibly good. His physical attributes are astonishing, his technique is great and, above that, he can score some incredible goals. These things can get one's attention. It's not surprising for me that Chelsea wants him. I'd be glad if he could sign for such a good team. There aren't many left backs in the world with his profile, he can play for Chelsea"

At 28, Chelsea fans will no doubt be questioning whether Latovlevici can make a considerable impact at Stamford Bridge, especially having remained under the radar for so long - but Emanuel continued the praise for the left back, comparing him in some ways to Barcelona's Dani Alves - both for good and bad reasons.

"He is dominant, if he's in the mood, he can be the star at left back," he said. "His control is good, he likes to be spectacular, to pass and gets involved in the offensive game He's very offensive, very smart, and has a very good ability to get past his opponents on the left flank. He's can be compared to Dani Alves, offensively and defensively too, you know - because sometimes he's not that careful with his left back duties and omits the defensive side of the left back role."

Romanians such as Costel Pantilimon, Gabriel Tamas and Razvan Rat have struggled to make an impact in the Premier League, whilst Chelsea have their own bad memories of the Adrian Mutu fiasco. However, Dan Petrescu - another Romanian full back, like Latovlevici - achieved cult status at Stamford Bridge in the late 90's, and Emanuel confirmed that Latovlevici is one of the best players in Romania - but there is interest from elsewhere too.

"In terms of skill, he's the best you can get in Romania. Good crosses, likes to be involved, to be in possession, to create danger. And, like Reghecampf said, he scored some wonderful goals in the last few years. It was rumoured that he also has offers from Ligue 1 and Dinamo Zagreb. The offer from Dinamo Zagreb was around 1.5m euros (£1.2m)," he said.

For just £1.2m, it's merely loose change to Chelsea. Latovlevici appears to be something of a late bloomer, and if he can provide dependable service behind Luis, then he will prove to be a good signing. There will be little expectation placed on Latovlevici's head if he does sign for Chelsea, but some fans won't be able to help themselves when it comes to comparing him to Blues hero Petrescu.

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