Jordan Pickford one of three players Maurizio Sarri should sign at Chelsea

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 19 July 2018, 08:24

PETER BONETTI stood only ft 5ft 10ins tall yet is still regarded as perhaps the greatest Chelsea keeper of all time.

Dwarfed physically by giants Thibaut Courtois and Petr Cech he is still regarded as an all-time great with his picture nailed to the old Shed End wall that skirts the back of the new look Stamford Bridge.

As Chelsea prepare to cash in on 6ft 5in Courtois who has dropped hints he wants to go back to Spain, the club must look elsewhere for a new number one.

They moved quickly but ultimately in vain to nab Roma’s Brazilian keeper Alisson from under the noses of Liverpool. A £65 million bid not enough to divert the deal to South West London from Merseyside.

First Premier League Manager To Leave Market

Jordan Pickford

So why not look closer to home? And if there is a statement to be made by Chelsea after a turbulent and frustrating year it would be in the most daring move for Jordan Pickford at Everton.

He has been derided for not being tall enough to make it at the top level yet made short shrift of those wild claims with his handling of his first World Cup in which he only improved as the games rolled on.

Just the right side of six feet tall, Pickford became England’s Manuel Neuer out in Russia. And he towers over Bonetti.

Young, nimble, enthusiastic with the looks and approach of a red-faced schoolboy giving it all in PE. He exhibited impressive reaction times and emerged as one of the best of the bunch under Gareth Southgate. Blimey, he even has his own parking space at a supermarket in honour of his achievements.

The sticking point would be the fact that Everton and Chelsea do not mix when it comes to the transfer market. Two summers of bitter haggling over John Stones has seen to that.

Being English would ramp up the price and the frosty relations with Everton wouldn’t help but if Chelsea are prepared to offer a world record £65 million for Alisson, then that gives scope for a stab at Pickford.

Marko Arnautovic

Chelsea fans are also confused about their club’s prowess up front. Olivier Giroud, a 32 year-old, was allowed to sign for them by Arsenal as an emergency deal last January, as a return for the favour which sent Cech the other way.

Alvaro Morata is struggling to adapt to life in London, he is also still coming to terms with the physicality of our game and missed out on Spain’s World Cup squad as a result of his tribulations.

Chelsea need a strong, versatile and dynamic forward in the box who can complement Giroud’s aerial qualities. And someone experienced in the Premier League who could hit the ground running, and who is feasibly gettable.

Step forward Marko Arnautovic of West Ham. He is their prized possession and was last season’s top scorer with 11 goals. The Hammers have been spending big in the transfer market and so their accountants could be vulnerable to an approach to offset the expected £100 million outlay this summer on incomings.

Arnie is 29 which means the time to strike is now. Much longer and he will be considered past it with no resale value for Chelsea, which is the way they operate nowadays.

Arnautovic scores spectacular goals, is aggressive, ridiculously strong and his appetite to win is ferocious. He is everything Morata isn’t.

Morata almost seems to pause and ask permission to take on defenders on his way into the box. Arnautovic bulldozes first then apologises.

He can play wide on the left wing too. Just a thought given Eden Hazard’s predisposition to join Real Madrid.

Benjamin Pavard

Finally, with new Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri sticking to his tried and trusted plan for a back four, the wing back role will be a dying one under the Italian.

What Sarri will be looking for is a right back. He has one in Cesar Azpilicueta, but the dependable Spaniard is also a formidable centre half who can play both positions.

Putting 21-year-old Benjamin Pavard as the first choice right back would make Chelsea the hottest ticket in town. He has years ahead of him, proved he can play at the top level this summer and is now a World Cup winner with France.

Still at VFB Stuttgart, Chelsea would have no problem luring him to England. And the rest of us could simply sit and wait for him to score another goal like he did against Argentina - the best of the entire tournament.


Managers Departed

Last man down

David Wagner
David Wagner
(Huddersfield Town)
14th January
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