*I know there have been a lot of right back blog's, but you can never have too many
Forget goal scoring machines and tricksters, remember the people at the back. For years Chelsea have needed a right back, thank lord for Ivanovic because without him the teams RB position could have easily be exploited. Take the Serbian out of the picture and we would be left with pretty much nobody.. With Bosingwa released to join some unlucky club who must really be desperate for a right back (too far? He did play well against Bayern) and Ferreira being told he can join another club, it leaves the position to the ‘takes no prisoners’ Serb. After having a brief overview of the reserves I couldn’t really see anyone ready to rival Ivanovic, so that meant searching the globe for a rough diamond. So I, with all my scouting experience (Football Manager and ‘world player knowledge’) I have comprised a list of possible players who could rival the Serbian for the right back spot.
Well someone had to say his name, its Gregory van der Weil.
The 24 year old isn’t as strong as Ivanovic, but makes up for this with his pace. Unlike the Serb, Van der Weil is more attacking minded rather than an out and out defender. He also had a wealth of experience after playing over 120 games for Ajax, while winning two Dutch titles and playing in the 2010 World Cup final (not many players can say they have done that) as well as winning Ditch Young Player of the Year in 2010. A £20 million price tag was slapped on his head by the Dutch club at the outset of the year, but clubs can reportedly get him for half the price. (That’s £10m, just in case you’re not good at maths)
Next it’s everyone’s favorite Chilean, Mauricio Isla.
He can play in numerous positions, including right, center, and left back as well as a winger or center midfielder. Also, he can play as an inside forward. The versatile ‘defender’ like van der Weil isn’t a conventional defender he is more attacking minded, but he has the engine of Ramires and isn’t slow either so it should be easy for him to run up and down the right hand side of the pitch. While beginning his time at Udinese, he surprised everyone with his pace, stamina and close control not to mention a cool head, and this lead to many asking how a player just out of his teens could be making such headway so quickly. Experience wise he is up there with van der Weil, again playing over 120 times for Udinese as well as playing in the 2010 World Cup; he is just missing the honors. In recent months the Chilean has expressed his desire to move, so this could help negotiations, but recent Serie A ‘champions’ Juventus has been heavily linked to the player, who would cost around £9-10m (estimated price from Goal.com).
Next down the right back catwalk is, Cesar Azpilicueta.
Unlike the two ‘wing-backs’ above Azpilicueta is a more natural right back, with defending being his main priority. He's got fairly good speed and strength. He's not very good in the air (only 5'10") which could be exploited, but full backs generally don’t have to do much heading compared to center backs. Contradictory to most full backs, Azpilicueta is a fabulous passer of the ball (well he is Spanish). He is also a great talker of the ball and can intercept most passes (which is handy for a defender), though sometimes he can like to tackle a bit too much, which could be a problem with the Premier Leagues card happy refs. I wouldn’t let the fact that he hasn’t played for Spain put you off buying him as just look at who he has to compete with, Sergio Ramos and Arbeloa, also maybe that fact that he is playing in France might be hindering his chances. Lastly, he is again a bit of an right back oddity because he is left footed, which means that he can also fill in at left back if need be. In the January window the blues were heavily linked with Azpilicueta with papers reporting that he would cost £12m.
Lastly, I give you Glen Johnson.. I joke (I’m not a big fan of Glen).
Getting back on track, I give you Šime Vrsaljko.
Now, out of all of the players I have spoken about I’m guessing not everyone’s heard of Vrsaljko, unless you’re a Football Manger fan, and if you are and still haven’t heard of him, just go and look at Tottenham’s squad. He is 20 years old and comes from Croatia, and is becoming a regular at Dinamo Zagreb. He is yet another wing back, using his athleticism to get the best of the opponent’s attackers and defenders. He is 6 ft, and is fairly good heading ability just in case, his size and athleticism can make him a match for most attackers. Delving into negative-lane, from some light research I have found out that marking isn’t his strong point, and also his age and lack of caps at international level could make getting a work permit hard. But these ‘negatives’ can be ironed out, working alongside the experienced players at Chelsea will be an obvious benefit for him, helping his marking skills, and Chelsea have had ‘trouble’ with work permits before and have usually got there man, look at the Ramires deal, he was a doubt at one point. If the worse comes to the worse we can always loan him out to another club to get a permit and more experience, but this wouldn’t help the whole finding a rival for Ivanovic. All in all he looks like a decent player; he would roughly cost around £4.8m (estimated worth from transfermarkt.co.uk) but I’d expect to see bidding starting around £7m.
So who would you pick?
Gregory van der Weil (19 votes)
Mauricio Isla (29 votes)
Cesar Azpilicueta (31 votes)
Šime Vrsaljko (5 votes)
84 total votes