Chelsea are considering a move for Atalanta wing-back Joakim Maehle, it has been claimed.
The priorities for Chelsea this summer have been to strengthen at centre-back and up front. They have made one signing for each objective so far, bringing in Kalidou Koulibaly and Raheem Sterling.
Another way they could reinforce their squad this summer would be to add a wing-back. It became clear they had a lack of depth there when Ben Chilwell was injured last season (as was Reece James for a shorter period of time).
Therefore, there have been links with a few full-backs since the transfer window opened. One name who features prominently on their shortlist would be Denzel Dumfries of Inter Milan.
But the Blues may be looking elsewhere in Serie A for a target in the same role. According to Chelsea reporter Simon Phillips, another player they are thinking of is Atalanta’s Maehle.
Right-footed, Maehle can play in either wing-back position. He stood out for Denmark at Euro 2020 and went on to play 35 times in all competitions for Atalanta last season. From those appearances, he provided three goals and two assists.
If he was to join Chelsea, he would largely be competing for a place with James. They also have Cesar Azpilicueta on the right, but he has often played centrally and has been linked with an exit despite his role as captain.
Maehle actually featured on the left more often for Atalanta last season, though. Hence, he could provide the support behind Chilwell that was lacking during the England international’s absence.
Maehle is under contract with Atalanta until 2025. Whether Chelsea can prise him away before then remains to be seen.
Joakim Maehle would be a smart signing by Chelsea
Previous reports – which have mentioned interest from West Ham – have suggested Maehle could be available for €15m (£12.6m) this summer. It would be a reasonable – and affordable – price for the 25-year-old, who has 29 caps and nine goals for his country.
And by taking someone who can cover two positions critical to Thomas Tuchel’s system, Chelsea would be using their funds wisely and addressing two needs at once.
Therefore, moving for Maehle would be sensible. It will be interesting to see if they pursue this potential transfer opportunity.
There will also be intrigue as to what it would mean for their interest in Dumfries. In theory, they could sign both, but they would subsequently end up with four players capable of being starters across the wing-back positions, which may be hard to keep harmonious.
If they have to pick between Maehle and Dumfries, then, maybe they could go for the former and just rely on a single full-back signing.