Chelsea have reportedly joined London rivals Arsenal in the race to sign Argentina international midfielder Guido Rodriguez.
The 28-year-old only ventured into European football in January 2020, when he joined LaLiga outfit Real Betis from Club America in Mexico. And just two-and-a-half-years on, he is now attracting admiring glances from the Premier League – with Betis expecting an offer this summer.
Arsenal previously showed an interest in the player, while West Ham have also monitored his progress. But now, Estadio Deportivo claims that the Blues are viewing the player as an eventual N’Golo Kante replacement.
If Kante does move on, which at this stage appears unlikely, then Chelsea do have other options.
Conor Gallagher could really make for himself at Stamford Bridge, assuming he’s not loaned out again.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley are also options, although the trio mentioned are not in the Kante mold.
That is where Rodriguez fits in, having made an impression in Spain as a defensive midfielder.
Bringing in the Argentina star as another holding option would give the likes of Gallagher and Loftus-Cheek to play in their more familiar attacking roles.
The Gunners have already had a busy summer but Mikel Arteta is said to want two more additions. And one area where he is still looking to upgrade is his midfield engine.
Kante fits the bill perfectly, having played in the Premier League since 2015.
He will also be out of contract next summer. To that end, Chelsea are unsure if they want to offer him a new long-term contract.
Rodriguez an unlikely Kante replacement
While Rodriguez has impressed in Spain since his arrival, it looks a massive gamble for Chelsea to swap one the Premier League’s top midfielders of the last 10 years with a player who has only spent just over two seasons in Europe.
Guido Rodriguez clearly has some decent qualities and has 24 Argentina caps to his name.
He is also three years younger than Kante, but the Frenchman is so well versed in what it takes to succeed at Premier League level.
Much now depends on Thomas Tuchel’s preference and whether he’d prefer to cash in on Kante now.