Chelsea can pounce on Bundesliga crisis to secure £14m Ben Chilwell transfer solution – Daniel Childs

In the weeks following Ben Chilwell’s ACL injury at home to Juventus in late November rumours have swirled of a potential quick wingback solution in the January transfer window.

The prospect of recalling Ian Maatsen from his loan with Championship side Coventry is the most obvious alternative, with Emerson Palmeri also on loan with Lyon for the season.

There were suggestions Thomas Tuchel would use Saul Niguez, Callum Hudson-Odoi or Christian Pulisic to fill Chilwell’s spot with Marcos Alonso the only true backup option in the current squad.

The suggested trio have been tried since with little success. But a recent Bundesliga crisis might provide a different solution in January to this injury.

Borussia Mönchengladbach have suddenly found themselves with fears of a relegation battle this season after a woeful run of form heading into the winter period.

As detailed in a brilliant piece from German football expert Raphael Honigstein for The Athletic, losing their last four games and conceding 14 goals putting them in 13th place two points off the relegation play-off spot.

That piece was written before their most recent home defeat on Wednesday to Eintracht Frankfurt.

A player of interest to Chelsea in their squad should be Jonas Hofmann who has become a swiss-army knife of a player for club and country in recent years.

Jonas Hofmann has been linked with a move to Chelsea in previous windows.
Jonas Hofmann has been linked with a move to Chelsea in previous windows.

Playing as a wingback, fullback, midfielder and winger shows a level of versatility Cesar Azpilicueta has shown for Chelsea since his signing from Marseille in 2012.

I wrote about the comparison between Hofmann and Azpilicueta before and why having versatile figures at a club like Chelsea who can be chaotic is extremely valuable.

Since July 2016 four coaches have into the club with all varying levels of playing style and personality. Antonio Conte, Maurizio Sarri, Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel all did different things with the squad, naturally causing some players to become isolated.

Hofmann is not a young player at 29 which may seem like a turn off for some, though the German is still proving valuable for Hansi Flick at international level.

Also providing an attacking threat from wingback when he’s linked up with Kai Havertz in a similar formation to the one Tuchel uses at Stamford Bridge.

Hofmann is a naturally right-sided player but we have seen Reece James looking good on the left when Tuchel switched him onto that side against Manchester United last month.

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TransferMarkt has the player valued at around £14m which in the current market does not feel ridiculous.

Of course with Gladbach’s current plight the club may prove unwilling to allow one of their regular faces to go in the midst of a crisis.

Though if Chelsea and Tuchel come to the realisation Ben Chilwell will need surgery next month, the lure to dip into the market will quickly grow and Hofmann might be a player few consider but could provide cover for a number of positions.

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