28 interceptions and 230 clearances: Signing this 24-year-old defensive wall could do Chelsea a world of good

Why Chelsea must go all out to sign Jamaal Lascelles in the January window
Chelsea have made a perfect start to their new campaign by getting 12 points off the first four games in the Premier League. But sometimes statistics don’t tell the whole story. Despite winning four games, the Blues haven’t looked defensively solid at all.

They conceded two goals against Arsenal but on any other day, Chelsea could have conceded four or more. Even in the match at St. James’ Park, Chelsea looked shaky at the back everytime Newcastle United attacked. Joselu did score after coming on as a substitute when he jumped ahead of David Luiz to head home.

Chelsea, under Maurizio Sarri, play a 4-3-3 system with two centre-backs. Until now, the new boss has often deployed Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz but the latter is always a ticking time bomb. Luiz is a brilliant footballer but, over the years, he has made costly errors. He did the same against Arsenal and then against Newcastle.

To make matters worse, Sarri is in a tight spot since he doesn’t have an alternative for the Brazilian. Andreas Christensen is a young centre-back and was utilized a lot by Antonio Conte. However, he has had some major injury issues in the past. Then there is Gary Cahill, the senior-most defender of the team.

Cahill clearly isn’t the first-choice anymore, particularly since he doesn’t suit Sarri’s system due to his poor passing accuracy. In recent times, however, Daily Express has suggested that Chelsea were interested in Newcastle’s skipper, Jamaal Lascelles.

Standing tall at 6 ft 2-inch, Lascelles has been at Newcastle from a young age and has experienced both the Championship and the Premier League from close quarters. Last season, he started 32 matches for Rafa Benitez’s men and scored 3 goals from set-pieces.

But most importantly, he helped the Magpies keep 9 clean sheets and helped the team finish 9th. He also recorded a passing accuracy of 77%, made 28 interceptions and 230 clearances. Even in the grinding Championship, he played 43 games in the 2016/17 season, scoring thrice to help his team gain promotion.

Signing Lascelles makes perfect sense for the Blues as it would allow them to increase their depth to a great extent. Lascelles, 24, is at the perfect age to adapt to life at a big club and try and win trophies with the Londoners. The uncapped English international has the technique and temperament required to succeed at the top level.

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