After weeks of speculation linking him with Chelsea, Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele now looks set to stay at the Camp Nou.
The French international is into the final six months of his contract with the Catalan giants, where he has struggled to showcase his talent since completing a reported £135million move from Borussia Dortmund back in the summer of 2017.
Given the skilful winger had shone under Thomas Tuchel‘s stewardship at Dortmund, it made sense for him to be linked with the Blues, who currently employ the German coach.
However, according to Sport.ES, Dembele and his agent, Moussa Sissoko, met with Blaugrana boss Xavi, revealing the player’s wish to stay with the La Liga outfit, a surprising development considering Sissoko’s recent comments.
With that being said, football.london takes a look at two potential alternatives that Chelsea could target before Monday night’s transfer deadline.
RB Leipzig playmaker Christopher Nkunku is similar to Dembele in a number of ways. Both players are extremely gifted with the ball at their feet, possessing the ability to take players on and create a high volume of chances for their teammates with exceptional vision in the final third.
However, Nkunku’s game is much more well-rounded than his countryman, providing a significantly greater goal threat, evidenced by his impressive output this season.
The former Paris Saint-Germain ace has netted 16 times in all competitions this year, providing a further eight assists – hugely impressive numbers when you consider he is still just 24-years-old.
The talented Frenchman is also extremely versatile, operating on either flank, as well as at No.10, meaning he could play as a wide playmaker in Tuchel’s favoured 3-4-3, as well as a more traditional 4-3-3 – which the Blues have deployed in recent weeks.
Another French winger who would be an excellent alternative to the aforementioned Dembele is Bayer Leverkusen star Moussa Diaby.
Diaby has established himself as one of the Bundesliga’s most talented widemen in recent times, utilising his rare blend of speed, intelligent movement and exceptional close control to break into Didier Deschamps‘ squad – a mean feat given his competition.
At just 22-years-old he also has plenty of room to develop, a scary prospect considering he has already notched 11 goals and nine assists in the German top-flight and Europa League combined this term.
In fact, Diaby has done so in just 1969 minutes, meaning he has directly contributed to a goal every 98.5 minutes so far this campaign.
The Paris-born youngster’s style would also add a new dimension to Chelsea, with most of the west Londoners’ wingers preferring the ball played to their feet whilst Diaby frequently makes darting runs in behind the opposition defence – something that Tuchel’s side have lacked at times this season.