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31 Jul 2018

Chelsea: Everything you need to know about Matias Vecino

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Why are Chelsea interested?

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What role would he play?

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Better than Bakayoko?

REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

The Maurizio Sarri revolution continues at Stamford Bridge and the Italian's squad overhaul doesn't stop with Jorginho, the £50 million arrival from Sarri's former employers - Napoli.

Chelsea missed out on Aleksandr Golovin - who eventually joined Monaco from CSKA Moscow - and are still keen on signing a replacement for Alvaro Morata, who has failed to live up to expectations.

But it's not just immediate first teamers Sarri is interested in. Chelsea's don't boast the best squad depth in the Premier League and it's no surprise that the Italian is keen to address these issues with signings that he trusts. Hence, Matias Vecino. As per Sky Sports, the Blues have been linked with a £32 million move for the Inter Milan midfielder, who featured in all of Uruguay's games at the World Cup.

Why are Chelsea interested though? What sort of player is he? Lots of questions, and RealSport have the answers.

Why are Chelsea interested?

Especially after missing out on Golovin, the advanced, attacking role in Sarri's midfield three is perhaps the most pressing concern. That or the gaping hole up front that remains unfilled. But Vecino is primarily a defensive midfielder, which raises questions as to the logic behind Chelsea's interest.

However, football, more than ever, is a squad game, particularly for Sarri, a manager that preaches a possession-based game predicated on high-intensity pressing in advanced areas of the pitch. 

Although N'Golo Kante has "15 lungs," according to France teammate Paul Pogba, he needs support, as does Jorginho at the base of the midfield.

This is the reasoning behind the Blues' interest. It's a player Sarri knows well and trusts - from their time together at Empoli in 2014/15 - and last season proved that Tiemoue Bakayoko isn't the player many expected him to be.

What role would he play?

Vecino is fairly versatile when it comes to his position, but he's primarily a holding midfielder in terms of his role, either centrally or slightly deeper to sit in front of the defence. He played 29 times for Inter in Serie A, with all of his appearances coming as a central midfielder.

In that time he scored three goals and assisted two, but it's not his prolific goal-scoring he's become known for. Rather the calming presence he can provide in midfield, underpinned by his ball retention and passing.

Like Jorginho, Vecino is a competent passer. He recorded an 88.3% passing accuracy and made the sixth-most passes of all Inter players.

REUTERS/Jason CairnduffFor context, this was a better accuracy than Marcelo Brozovic - his Inter teammate - and Vecino registered fewer unsuccessful touches (29) than the Croatian, demonstrating composure under pressure, a necessary attribute in Sarri's system.

The Uruguayan, too, has a penchant for short passing, opting to play it safe and keep the ball under control, so he's not one to get his head up and look for risky passes through the lines, perhaps adding a limitation to his overall game.

Vecino can also pride himself on his defensive contributions, moreover. He blocked the most passes (7) of any Uruguayan at the World Cup, made the third-most interceptions (10) and seven tackles.

Better than Bakayoko?

Ultimately, Bakayoko failed to live up to expectations in England after a breakthrough season with Monaco the previous year, and it seems as though Sarri has little patience for the Frenchman. Nonetheless, if an acceptable offer doesn't come in, Bakayoko will likely stay put.

In Vecino, however, Chelsea will obtain a player who's worked with Sarri before and is, thus, more trustworthy.

This isn't a singing to get the heart racing, but Vecino is technically sound, physical and capable of filling a variety of roles in midfield. Certainly a more reliable rotation option than Bakayoko and one the Blues shouldn't under-rate.