What do John Stones, Ezequiel Garay and Aymen Abdennour have in common? Yes, they are all fantastic central defenders, but more importantly, they seem to be fantastic central defenders that won't be joining Chelsea.
The absence of Garay and Stones at Stamford Bridge may not be down to the player; Everton and Zenit St. Petersburg seem determined to keep their star assets. Abdennour is the interesting one among the rumoured transfer targets.
The former Monaco defender has been strongly linked with Chelsea in the past week or so, which makes it even more surprising that he's recently signed for Valencia.
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Of course it's unclear just how interested Chelsea were in Abdennour, but if the Tunisian international did choose Valencia over the Premier League champions, what does that say about Chelsea? On a larger scale, what does that say about the Premier League?
Chelsea would have likely offered more money, a more realistic chance of trophies (well, before Saturday's defeat, anyway) and the chance to live in London. Yet Abdennour chose La Liga.
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Why La Liga?
Well, the weather is certainly a factor. Other than the Mediterranean's glorious skies, the standard of football is arguably higher in Spain.
As the weekend proved, the Premier League is the most entertaining in the world - that doesn't mean it's the best.
As good as Sergio Aguero, Eden Hazard and Alexis Sanchez are, for a competitive world-class defender, the chance to compete against Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi provides the toughest challenge.
There is also a desire to elevate a club of Valencia's side to La Liga champions. That's not to say the Premier League doesn't have its plus points.
For all the appeal of La Liga, it's probable that Abdennour's choice was based purely on playing time. Valencia could offer him the guarantee of first-team football which Chelsea possibly couldn't.
There have been examples of players choosing the Premier League ahead of La Liga and even players making the switch from Spain to England.
A few years ago, a player choosing La Liga over the Premier League wouldn't have been considered a big deal.
In the present time - after years of failure from the national team and from English clubs in Europe - the Premier League could be forgiven for feeling a little insecure. Chelsea, and the Premier League, will hope the Abdennour deal is an anomaly, not the beginning of a trend.
Where would you prefer to play? Spain or England? Have your say below!
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