Chelsea and Enzo Maresca could benefit from unique Murillo skill if summer transfer confirmed

-Credit: (Image: Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto)

Chelsea are in the transfer market for a number of positions this summer. Goalkeepers have been linked, as have left-backs, midfielders, wingers and strikers.

It now seems, though, the Blues have turned their attention - or at least some of it - to addressing their centre-back situation. Tosin Adarabioyo has already been brought in, but with the possibility of Trevoh Chalobah leaving the club, alongside the already-departed Thiago Silva, the west Londoners are scouring the market for options. And they have found one possible recruitment.

Chelsea are interested in signing Nottingham Forest central defender Murillo this summer, understands. The 21-year-old, who moved to the City Ground in August of last summer, was a revelation for Forest in his debut season with the club. Murillo featured 36 times for the Nottingham-based side in all competition, with 32 of those coming in the Premier League.

There is no question about it: Murillo catches the eye of those watching. An unconventional, silky and fearless defender, it is quite the sight to watch the Brazilian play football. It is something we are not accustomed to in the Premier League but in many ways, that is what sets Murillo apart from the rest of the pack.

And it is no coincidence that Murillo used to play futsal. With the same principles to football - more or less - futsal is played on a hardcourt, like a basketball court, and usually it is indoors. But where futsal and football differ is that the former relies heavily on someone's technical ability.

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"I played futsal from six to 16-years-old," Murillo said in an interview with Sky Sports in October 2023. "I only started playing 11-a-side at about 10.

"I was very good at futsal and also at 11-a-side, so I had a difficult decision to make on which way I went. I went for 11-a-side and, obviously, it was the right decision."

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He added: "We use the sole of our foot a lot in futsal and I always use that in the way I play now. It's one of my characteristics. It helps a lot with dribbling and ball control."

Futsal is a hugely popular game - and even more so in Brazil. Murillo has seen his homeland produce some world-class, generational footballing talents over the years and there are a few of them that were once ripping it up on the futsal court as well.

Neymar, Pele, Philippe Coutinho, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo are just five Brazilians that have previously revealed their futsal roots. And, it is perhaps not a coincidence that they are five of the best footballers, technically, we have ever witnessed on a pitch.

Chelsea are looking for their centre-backs to play football. Gone are the days of clearances and long, hopeful balls up the pitch. Enzo Maresca wants his defenders to get the ball down and look for a progressive pass into midfield.

Murillo can do just that, as well as being an old-school defender when it matters. A fierce competitor, with the South American spirit when it comes to aggression in duels; there is no wonder why Forest will not sell him cheap.

For a centre-back that played as often as he did last season, with 32 appearances in the Premier League for Forest, he rarely makes mistakes. In fact, Murillo did not record one mistake that led to a goal last season.

While the pricing of this deal makes it unlikely that Chelsea will continue to pursue Murillo, it is clear exactly what Maresca and the club's sporting directors are wanting for the heart of their defence.