Chelsea are showing fresh interest in Atletico Madrid full-back Nahuel Molina, according to a report in Spain.
Molina only moved to Atletico Madrid in the summer when they signed him from Udinese. However, there has been some degree of turbulence at his new club after their failure to reach the knockout stage of any UEFA competition this season.
Atletico are now planning to make some sales in January to balance their wage bill, which could lead to some opportunities for Premier League clubs to make some purchases.
For example, striker Matheus Cunha has been heavily linked with Wolves, while Joao Felix is also attracting interest from a number of suitors.
Now, Molina has emerged as someone else who could be set for a sudden departure from the Wanda Metropolitano in the coming weeks.
According to Marca, Chelsea are showing interest in him again after previously rivalling Atletico for his services in the summer.
Right-back is still an area the Blues want to reinforce. Ideally, they want to have a high-profile competitor for Reece James in the role.
Captain Cesar Azpilicueta remains capable, but has shown a tendency to play more centrally in recent years. At this stage of his career, he might become more of a centre-back.
Chelsea discover Dumfries alternative
Hence, Graham Potter would benefit from having another right-back at his disposal. With that in mind, Marca confirms Denzel Dumfries remains their top target, but Molina is also back in contention.
Dumfries was recently knocked out of the World Cup with the Netherlands by none other than Molina’s Argentina.
The Dutchman is at the top of Chelsea’s shortlist because he might be made available by Inter Milan. That said, there are other contenders for the former PSV star.
Therefore, Chelsea have taken another look at Molina, according to the report.
Still, it will be tough to prise him away from Atletico, who have not been expecting to sell him so quickly. Chelsea would need to put “something special” on the table to acquire him.
Financially, they are capable, but they will be weighing up what their best option might be in terms of value for money.
If Atletico stand firm over Molina, who is under contract until 2027, then Chelsea might have to relegate him to the backs of their minds rather than insisting on him as a primary target.
According to Marca, Atletico believe the 24-year-old can become one of the best in the world in his position. Therefore, Chelsea will still be aware of him, but it won’t be easy to bring him to Stamford Bridge.
How does Nahuel Molina compare to Reece James?
If Chelsea did manage to pull off the signing of Molina, it would set up an interesting battle between the Argentine and James for the starting spot on the right-hand side of defence.
So, how do the two players compare statistically?
Well, this season, James has a higher average per 90 minutes of chances created, tackles made, interceptions and blocks. He also has a better ratio of aerial and ground duels won, as well as passing and crossing accuracy and take-on success.
Hence, there aren’t many ways in which Molina would be an upgrade on James. With that in mind, the England international would likely remain the starter.
In turn, it might not make so much sense for Chelsea to spend big on Molina. They might be better off looking for someone closer to James statistically, or cheaper to be a designated rotation option.