The former Spurs boss has managed to persuade Achraf Hakimi to join him at PSG, however, Chelsea have other options they can pursue, including one of Euro 2020’s standout stars.
It was confirmed this week that Paris Saint-Germain had agreed a deal for Inter Milan’s Achraf Hakimi.
The deal will see the French side pay up to €70million – bonuses included – for the Morocco international who’s expected to sign a five-year deal.
It had looked as though the wing-back could have been on his way to Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea interested and some reports even suggesting that they’d tabled an offer for the 22-year-old.
Yet perhaps PSG’s presence and desire to get their no.1 target proved enough of a deterrent for the Blues who clearly didn’t want to exert themselves too much to get any deal done.
Their interest in Hakimi in the first place came as a surprise given that they already have an elite right wing-back at the club in the form of Reece James.
However, scouting an able deputy or successor might be within Thomas Tuchel’s plans as there’s some evidence to suggest that he intends to use James as a right-sided centre-back in his favoured three-at-the-back formation in the future.
James’ ability means that recruiting a new right-sided wing-back isn’t essential this summer, yet even so, the search to find suitable targets to pursue in the future will have already begun.
With that in mind, Euro 2020 has been an excellent event for players to showcase their abilities, and one player who’s hugely impressed at the tournament so far is Denmark wing-back Joakim Maehle.
Like Hakimi, Maehle predominantly features on the right and plies his trade in Serie A, joining Atalanta last year from Genk. So far at Euro 2020, he’s featured in all three of Denmark’s matches and performed impressively in each.
He possesses a sharp turn of pace when making either overlapping or underlapping runs and is an evasive and dangerous dribbler of the ball. In fact, across the showpiece tournament so far, only France’s Kylian Mbappe has completed more successful dribbles than the 24-year-old (15).
His impressive performances across the tournament so far were capped off with a great goal on Monday night against Russia to seal his nation’s progression into the knockout phase of the competition.
Beyond his impressive recent performances for Denmark, you can be rest assured that he has the potential to reach the very highest level, based on his career path so far.
Genk are a club renowned for their capacity to source exciting talents, develop them, and thereafter sell them for a healthy profit. The likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Kalidou Koulibaly, Thibaut Courtois, Wilfred Ndidi and many other top European players have passed through their doors in recent years.
Coincidentally, Maehle was signed originally by Genk to replace Timothy Castagne who left to join Maehle’s current club Atalanta in 2017. The Belgium international has since gone on to sign for Leicester City and has been a big hit in the Premier League since his arrival.
Despite only joining Atalanta last year, it’s likely that Maehle will see his current club as a stepping stone, whilst Atalanta themselves probably won’t anticipate keeping hold of the Dane for a prolonged period.
As a result from a Chelsea perspective, he could prove to be an attainable alternative to Hakimi who they could pursue in the not-so-distant future.