Antonio Conte needs to reinforce the right back position at Chelsea

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Over the past decade or so, the right-back role has been the weakest link at Chelsea

On several occasions, the Blues had to deploy part-time right-backs to strengthen the position, something they have done for the past two seasons with Branislav Ivanovic.

The club have never really been able to fill that position with a suitable candidate. Even now, it is highly debatable who Chelsea's first choice right-back is. 


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History of failed right-backs

Most of the players that have served in that role at Stamford Bridge over the years have either been too defensive or too attack-minded.

Back when Claudio Ranieri was in charge at the Bridge, Mario Melchiot was the first choice right-back at the club. The Dutchman was Chelsea's primary right-back for over four years and had made several telling contributions for the club.

Jose Mourinho's arrival at the Bridge in 2004 saw the departure of Melchiot and the arrival of former Porto colleague Paulo Ferreira.

The Portuguese right-back was adept at the defensive aspects of the game but provided very little when it came to the attack, making him unconvincing as a right-back.

Often, the likes of Michael Essien and Geremi would put in a shift at right-back during important games due to the lack of options at the position.

In later seasons, the likes of Juliano Belletti and Jose Bosingwa arrived at the Bridge. The Brazilian Belletti served the Blues between 2007 and 2010, whereas Bosingwa stayed at the club from 2008-2012.

Despite being great in supporting the attack from the flanks, they would often fall short on their defensive responsibilities, making them fairly unreliable, especially during big games.

Even in the Champions League final against Manchester United in 2008, Essien was picked in the starting eleven as a right-back despite the availability of Belletti. What made that situation even more unfortunate was the fact that the Ghanaian would otherwise be an automatic pick in the team's midfield, providing a massive presence.

The club's decision to move Branislav Ivanovic to right-back after the 2011-2012 season has provided much-needed stability to the position. 

Current situation

Ivanovic, who has been serving as a right-back for the past three seasons was formerly a centre-back. As suggested by the Serbian's style, Ivanovic is more suited for a central role than a wide one which requires supporting the attack down the right flank as well as tracking back to defend. 

Despite fulfilling that role to a great extent, age has finally caught up with the 32-year-old and he is no longer a safe option as a full-back. 

Cesar Azpillicueta is probably the most suited for the position, having initially joined the club in 2013 as a right-back.

However, Ivanovic's prominence as a right-back at the time meant that the Spanish international had to adapt to life on the left-hand side of the back four, a position that he has now made his own.

Transfer targets 

Antonio Conte is reportedly interested in signing promising Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos.

The versatile Brazilian has the ability to play as a centre-back and as a full-back, having done so for the French champions on multiple occasions during the seasons. 

However, Chelsea might have to accept defeat in their pursuit of the PSG star after they were snubbed twice ahead of this season. 

Fortunately for the west London club, Stephan Lichtsteiner of Juventus could be a suitable option for the right-back position, and someone who might want to move to Chelsea given his previous with Antonio Conte.

The Swiss international could become Chelsea's first signing of the summer following Conte's appointment as manager. 

The 32-year-old still possesses a great deal of pace and tenacity despite his age and is capable of performing both offensive and defensive roles, having served as both a right-back and a wing-back in Turin. 

Having won five Serie A titles with the Old Lady, Lichtsteiner could be the long-needed answer to Chelsea's right-back problem.

Who should Chelsea try to sign to strengthen the right-back position? Let us know YOUR suggestions in the comment section below!

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