June 19, 2024
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Chelsea have reportedly identified Ecuador and Bayer Leverkusen defender Piero Hincapie as a potential alternative to Josko Gvardiol.

Hincapie, 20, has emerged as a breakthrough talent since joining Leverkusen from Argentine Primera Division side Talleres for around £7 million last summer. So far, he has scored three goals and laid out one assist in 51 matches across all competitions for the BayArena outfit.

Gvardiol, on the other hand, has recently turned a lot of heads due to his excellent performances for Croatia and RB Leipzig. The 20-year-old centre-back, who is valued at over £77 million, has popped up on the radar of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.

According to Sky Sports, Chelsea have pinpointed Hincapie as their backup plan should Graham Potter’s side miss out on Gvardiol. The left-footed defender could be available for as little as £34 million.

Hincapie, who rose through the ranks of Ecuadorian Serie A club Independiente del Valle, impressed while representing his nation at the recently concluded 2022 FIFA World Cup. He started all three of his team’s group-stage games, helping them register one clean sheet.

Earlier in February, Hincapie shed light on his style of play and compared himself to Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) star Neymar to showcase his offensive nous. He told Scouted Football:

“I’ve always liked to play with the ball. When I started as a kid I played much more offensively, as a winger. I used to score a lot of goals. I was like Neymar, I didn’t dribble as much as him but I was a great goalscorer. I even took free kicks! Maybe that’s why I’m now a centre-back who likes to go forward.”

Meanwhile, the Blues are set to be active in the upcoming winter transfer window for a left-sided centre-back in light of Thiago Silva’s growing age. The club signed Kalidou Koulibaly and Wesley Fofana for a combined sum of over £100 million earlier this summer.

Chelsea interested in move to sign left-footed Primeira Liga winger: Reports

According to Mirror, Chelsea have identified Benfica forward Diego Moreira as a transfer target, with co-owner Todd Boehly focussed on preparing the Stamford Bridge side for the future. Benfica are currently struggling to tie down the Liege-born prodigy to a new contract.

Moreira, 18, has been touted as the next Portuguese sensation since joining the Eagles from Standard Liege in the summer of 2020. So far, he has made two appearances for the Estadio da Luz outfit.

Representing Benfica B, Moreira has netted three goals and laid out four assists in 14 games in the ongoing 2022-23 season. He has won three trophies at the junior level, including the 2021-22 UEFA Youth League.

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Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee

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