Why Chelsea are set to complete Dylan Williams transfer and the 18-month problem it will solve

Left wing-back has become something of a problem position at Chelsea. And not just at first-team level with Ben Chilwell ruled out for the remainder of the campaign.

The Development Squad has also gone without a natural in the role for much of the past two seasons. Samuel Iling-Junior’s move to Juventus in the summer of 2020 is partly to blame for that, as are the illness and injuries suffered by Alex Kpakpe over the past 12 months.

Several members of Chelsea‘s academy sides have filled in at wing-back as a result. George Nunn, a striker by trade, spent much of last term in the position and has deputised in matches this. Meanwhile, Harvey Vale, who has made two senior appearances under Thomas Tuchel, impressed as a wing-back last season but is a number ten by trade.

Lewis Hall, who impressed on his first-team debut against Chesterfield, has featured predominantly at wing-back during the current campaign while Silko Thomas has also been called upon on occasion.

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Chelsea have attempted to bolster the position with several players from non-League clubs undertaking trials at Cobham over the season.

One, Bryant Akono Bilongo, was set to join from Kingstonian in a deal worth around £50,000 only for the European champions to pull out of the deal. The 19-year-old has since joined Middlesbrough.

However, Chelsea finally appear to have settled on a player to fill the left wing-back role in the Development squad: Derby’s Dylan Williams.

Rams boss Wayne Rooney has confirmed this afternoon that a Premier League club had made an offer for the 18-year-old and that is understood to be Chelsea.

“I couldn’t stand in the way of his opportunity,” Rooney admitted during his pre-match press conference ahead of the Rams’ clash against Nottingham Forest

The fee Chelsea will pay for the first-year scholar has not been revealed with administrators Quantuma handling Derby’s transfer business at present.

Williams has made eight appearances for Derby’s first team this season and has proved an effective threat in the final third from wing-back.

So one problem is solved but another remains for Chelsea. Namely, an alternative left-wing back to Marcos Alonso that Thomas Tuchel can call upon throughout the remainder of the campaign.

The Blues have worked hard to try to bring Emerson Palmieri back from his loan spell at Lyon this month, even going as far as to offer compensation to the Ligue 1 giants.

Chelsea have thus far been unsuccessful in their attempts to recall the Italian international but may return with another offer in the days ahead as the transfer window inches towards a conclusion.

Barcelona’s Sergino Dest, who can play as a wing-back on either flank, is also understood to also be on the Blues’ radar but the USMNT star is supposedly keen to remain at the Camp Nou.

“Sergino feels good in Barcelona,’ Michael Reschke, Head of European Football at ICM Stellar Sports who represent Dest, told Ran this week. “It’s a great club. That’s why it’s actually rather unlikely at the moment.”

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