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Marquinhos and Naldo - Eight defenders that could solve Chelsea's defensive woes

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Chelsea’s defensive problems appear never-ending with Jose Mourinho’s men having conceded 23 goals in 14 games this season - the sixth highest in the Premier League.

Stamford Bridge was once a fortress from which few opposition considered coming away with three points; now, the reality states otherwise. Even the minnows of the Premier League have the confidence of scoring and getting the job done upon travelling to west London.

Failed pursuits of Everton centre-back John Stones and an unsuccessful last-ditch effort to snatch Marquinhos from Paris Saint-Germain on summer deadline day have damaged the Blues' season so far.

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And with the January transfer window just around the corner, it is no doubt Mourinho will look to lure defensive reinforcements to the capital.

We look at eight options - not including the obvious Stones - that the Portuguese manager could consider to help save their season.

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8. Shkodran Mustafi (Valencia)

Many don’t know that German Shkodran Mustafi is already familiar with Premier League football given he came through the youth system at Everton, but failed to make a senior team appearance for the club.

He joined Italian side Sampdoria after leaving Goodison Park before moving to Valencia in 2014, where he made tremendous improvements and became a transfer target for many European heavyweights.

Manchester United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich are all monitoring his situation but it wouldn't be a surprise if Chelsea aren't also tracking him.

7. Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg)

Although full-back Cesar Azpilicueta has cemented his place as left-back in Mourinho’s squad, an addition like Ricardo Rodriguez would only add quality and depth. With Branislav Ivanovic struggling, Azpilicueta could move to his usual right-back position, making way for the 23-year-old.

The Swiss international has been an unsung hero for Bundesliga side Wolfsburg and has always performed to the best of his abilities. With an array of skills to showcase, Rodriguez’s key strengths are crossing, set-pieces, dribbling and passing.

Rodriguez can also play as a winger, mainly positioned on the left flank.

6. Samuel Umtiti (Olympique Lyonnais)

Mourinho has always favoured versatile players capable of playing in different positions and Olympique Lyon youngster Samuel Umtiti is one of such defenders, able to play centre-back and left-back.

Scouted by Chelsea in the summer, a deal for Umtiti never gained much momentum. Mourinho remains keen on the Frenchman and, being only 22-years-old, has time on his side to improve further.

5. Naldo (Wolfsburg)

Being in the bottom half of the league table is something new to Chelsea and many believe they need a quick-fix to solve their defensive woes.

Speaking of an instant solution, Wolfsburg defender Naldo could salvage the Blues' season. At 33, the Brazilian has been a stellar figure for the Bundesliga outfit and earlier at Werder Bremen. Apart from his defensive attributes, Naldo also has exceptional free-kick taking ability, likened to Roberto Carlos and former Blues defender Alex.

4. Marcano (FC Porto)

The Spanish defender is versatile and can not only play as a centre-half but also full-back and defensive midfield.

Mourinho is well aware of his qualities given that Marcano was playing for Villarreal whilst he was manager at Real Madrid. One of the mainstays at FC Porto, he has conceded only four goals in the league this term and has been brilliant for the Portuguese club.

Chelsea faced Marcano when they travelled to Portugal during their Champions League clash in September and will again come face-to-face in their final group game at Stamford Bridge.

3. Stefan de Vrij (Lazio)

The Dutch defender had a break-through season with Feyenoord in 2013/14 that earned him a call-up to the Netherlands squad for the 2014 World Cup. He has been a household name since and linked with several giants across Europe in recent transfer windows.

One of the highest-rated defenders playing in Serie A for Lazio, Stefan de Vrij has previously been rumoured with Premier League heavyweights Manchester United, but the Dutch international has time and time again reaffirmed his happiness in Italy.

2. Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain)

The Brazilian youngster moved from Roma to French giants Paris Saint-Germain in 2013 for a massive fee of €31 million but has largely failed to cement a first-team spot, with manager Laurent Blanc preferring Thiago Silva and David Luiz ahead of him.

Chelsea made a late enquiry for the 21-year-old on transfer deadline day which ultimately failed to materialise, but with Marquinhos seeking more game time, the Parisians could give in to his demands if Chelsea come calling in January.

1. Kostas Manolas (AS Roma)

An excellent all-round defender, Kostas Manolas’ speed and interceptions make him a dynamic centre-back bound for success.

Roma manager Rudi Garcia hails the defender as one of the most versatile centre-halves of the modern era and believes him to be one of the reasons behind the club's rise in recent seasons.

Chelsea have extensively scouted Manolas and could offer a substantial amount to lure the Greek international to Stamford Bridge in January, having failed with their other pursuits over the summer.

The 24-year-old could be the long term replacement for club veteran John Terry in the years to come.

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Topics:
Chelsea
Premier League
Football
Didier Drogba

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