Daniele Rugani Could Be A Risky Signing For Chelsea


Speculation suggests that Chelsea are ready to do a deal with Napoli for their former boss Maurizio Sarri and that he’ll soon replace fellow Italian Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge.

Many a media outlet are also predicting that Sarri will bring in Juventus defender Daniele Rugani as his first signing as Chelsea manager in a move believed to be worth more than £30m.

Rugani has long been classed as a fine defensive prospect in Italian footballing circles but in truth the twenty-three year old hasn’t managed to fully convince at the Bianconeri. He was seen as the ideal replacement when Leonardo Bonucci left Juve for AC Milan last summer but it’s just not worked out that way for the centre-back.

He played in twenty-two Serie A games last term and did ok without being overly impressive. He doesn’t make a lot of tackles but he does have the awareness to read the game well and gets in good defensive positions.

Last season, he won on average just 0.8 tackles per game, won 1.8 aerial battles and made 0.9% interceptions. His stats for clearances was higher at 3.7 per league appearance and his passing success rate was on average up at an impressive 90%. So he’s comfortable with the ball at his feet and finding teammates but not so good at the tackling or dominating in the air. Those are usually qualities that you need when you play in the English Premier League.

Italian football writer, Adam Digby has suggested that the Italian international isn’t the best when it comes to performing in the bigger games:

Interestingly Rugani made just one start in the Champions League last term, with Juve boss Max Allegri seemingly not trusting the youngster in the matches that meant something.

You also already have a strong compliment of players that can play as centre-backs at Chelsea.

Gary Cahill, Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen are all still at The Bridge. Brazilian maverick David Luiz is also still there but a move to Napoli has been mentioned all summer. You then have French internationalist Kurt Zouma coming back from his loan deal with Stoke City.

A potential issue could be what formation Sarri goes with? Chelsea played with three at the back last season under Conte and Rugani would probably suit that tactic. But at Napoli, Maurizio preferred going with a 4-3-3. That might not be brilliant for Daniele as it could leave him more exposed in a new league.

A positive is that Sarri has worked with Rugani before. The two were at Empoli together and the manager will know the qualities that the intelligent defender can bring to his new team.

Maybe the player just needs to move on from Turin. Maybe he needs to work under a manager that believes in him.

I’d just be concerned that his progress has stalled at a big club and that he won’t have the confidence to kick on at Chelsea.

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