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Ben Chilwell, Renato Veiga and why Chelsea may be tempted to make surprising transfer decision

Chelsea vice-captain Ben Chilwell
-Credit: (Image: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC)


Chelsea are on the verge of signing Renato Veiga from FC Basel, football.london understands, for a deal worth around £14million.

The 20-year-old left-sided centre-back is scheduled in for a medical at Cobham before penning a long-term contract with the Blues. Basel, where Veiga has been since last summer, confirmed via a post on X that the defender was in talks with 'another club', saying: "Renato Veiga has left the training camp - he is in talks with another club".

Chelsea are now on the verge of completing their sixth and seventh signing of the summer. football.london also understands the Blues have agreed a £17million deal with Boca Juniors for young defender Aaron Anselmino and once he and Veiga are officially with the west London club, it will bring their spending to way over £100million this summer.

Enzo Maresca, the newly-appointed Chelsea head coach, will assess Veiga in pre-season to see whether or not he will be able to compete for a spot in the senior squad for the upcoming season, or if it will perhaps be more beneficial to send him out on loan. Veiga can play as an inverted left-back; something Maresca likes to utilise with his full-backs, as he showed during his successful spell with Leicester City.

Marc Cucurella, likewise, showed he is more than capable of playing such a role in the final stretch of last season. After Chelsea were struggling away at Aston Villa in late-April, Mauricio Pochettino made a switch at half-time where he told Cucurella to float into the middle of the pitch while the Blues had possession at Villa Park.

Chelsea ended up coming from two goals behind to draw 2-2 in the Midlands. The tactic seemed to work and it was no surprise to see Cucurella in the same role when the Blues met Tottenham a few days later and won 2-0.

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In fact, we would see the Spain international invert for the next four matches, with Chelsea ending the season with a five-game winning streak. Cucurella has had a difficult time at Stamford Bridge overall since signing in 2022 but the role really seemed to suit his best attributes - and he has played his best football in a blue shirt since switching there.

So there does not seem to be much deliberation over who will be starting the season at left-back for Chelsea. Ben Chilwell, the club's vice-captain, is also an option but the 27-year-old has not been used in such a role just yet.

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And there are some doubts and uncertainty whether Chilwell would suit the role. We are now into the final three years of the left-back's contract at Stamford Bridge and it is set to be a defining season for him under Maresca.

Chelsea, though, have been after a left-back this summer; or at least someone that can play there. And in Veiga, they have got their man. He fits the profile to a tee - a player that can be used in multiple positions, someone that has already played in the inverted full-back role, his age and a fairly modest price with all things considered.

And that itself hints at Chelsea's plan for the future. Chilwell's injuries in recent seasons have undoubtedly hampered his progress at the club and he has not been able to endear himself to a lot of the fan base because of this.

He played his best football under Thomas Tuchel but he was unable to replicate such form for Graham Potter and Pochettino. What Chilwell does under Maresca in the 2024/25 campaign is imperative; while the club have no plans to part ways with the English defender this summer, in 12 months' time that could well change due to his contract situation if he is unable to kick on.