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In Focus: Axel could be key cog in Chelsea defence
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Dan Fitch
French defender Axel Disasi has become Chelsea's latest acquisition
French defender Axel Disasi has become Chelsea's latest acquisition

Chelsea have purchased some major strength in depth with the acquisition of Axel Disasi. 

The signing of the centre-back from Monaco gives new Blues boss Mauricio Pochettino plenty of defensive options. 

We take a look at what Disasi will bring to Stamford Bridge and how his arrival might impact Pochettino's pecking order. 

Chelsea competition

Chelsea would not have sought out Disasi were it not for the recent injury to Wesley Fofana. 

The former Leicester defender has undergone knee surgery and is expected to be unavailable for much of the coming season. 

Now, French international Disasi is primed to compete with 38-year-old veteran Thiago Silva, his former Monaco colleague Benoit Badiashile and academy products Levi Colwill and Bashir Humphreys. 

Trevoh Chalobah could be allowed to move on, with West Ham linked with a move. 

Before Wednesday's 1-1 friendly draw with Borussia Dortumund, Pochettino spoke about Colwill's new contract, which may sum up his attitude to central defensive selection. 

He said: "I was clear with him, we were talking and one of the things we were talking about was for him to have the possibility to compete with different team-mates. 

"For sure, if he deserves to play he is going to play." 

Disasi qualities

Axel Disasi impressed for Monaco last term
Axel Disasi impressed for Monaco last term

The same should be true for Disasi, who arrives with a reputation that suggests he can be a very useful asset for Chelsea but not one that would see him as a guaranteed starter. 

At 25, it has been noted that the central defender sits slightly outside the profile of the younger players that the West Londoners have been targeting. 

Disasi came through the ranks in Ligue 2 at Paris FC and Reims, before winning promotion with the latter and moving to Monaco.

Powerfully built, winning aerial battles and physical duels comes naturally to the four-cap international but he is also very comfortable on the ball, with quick feet. 

Able to stride out of defence, Disasi has good passing ability, particularly when it comes to switching the play to an alternate flank. 

He is fast and the fact that he only received three bookings in 38 league games last season demonstrates that he is a clean and effective tackler. 

A surprising stat from his final campaign with Monaco is that Disasi contributed six goals and four assists in all competitions, which is an outstanding attacking return for a centre-back. 

Silva lining

Axel Disasi could soon be challenging for a starting spot at Chelsea
Axel Disasi could soon be challenging for a starting spot at Chelsea

With Badiashile injured and Disasi only just coming through the doors at Cobham, Chelsea could start the season with Colwill on the left of central defence and Silva on the right. 

Pochettino has been playing with a back four in pre-season and — as he likes his defence to push up high — the pacy arrival seems better suited to the right-sided role. 

At this stage of Silva's career he is more comfortable in a back three. Though the manager often used this strategy at Tottenham, he has yet to utilise it at his new club. 

With no European competition at Chelsea, competition for places will be fierce but Disasi has all the attributes to quickly be challenging for a starting place.


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