Ryan Bertrand is still facing an uncertain future at Southampton, despite Manchester City ending their interest in the left-back, according to the Daily Mail. Pep Guardiola believes that the versatile Danilo will be able to offer cover for both full-back positions, which means that a move for the England international is no longer a priority.
However, he has entered on to Chelsea’s radar as they attempt to bring in additional wing-back options ahead of their return to the Champions League, with the Standard reporting that Bertrand and club team-mate Cedric Soares are two players the Blues are looking at.
Antonio Conte had wanted to sign Danilo himself, but he was beaten to the Brazilian by Guardiola and the Italian is now left searching for alternatives. Bertrand has established himself as a reliable Premier League full-back since his move to Southampton and his homegrown status makes him an appealing target for the Blues. He has improved immeasurably since leaving the club and he would be a good squad option to have around the squad.
The 27-year-old will believe in his ability to play at a higher level and his previous experience at Stamford Bridge should make it an easy transition if he was to return. Chelsea have shown in previous seasons that they are not afraid to bring ex-players back to the club and a move for Bertrand would improve the squad. He would offer a more athletic option at left wing-back, as he would look to overlap more often than Marcos Alonso does. Although the Spaniard offers an attacking threat, he isn’t the most dynamic when running with the ball.
Last season, Bertrand contributed two goals and four assists in the Premier League, which marks him as one of the best attacking full-backs in the division. He is excellent at getting up and down the flank to offer support in the final third. Chelsea opted for a more defensive-minded player during Conte’s first season, as it gave Eden Hazard freedom. However, the Belgian will miss the start of the season and a more attacking option could provide more balance to the team.
Should Bertrand move back to Chelsea?
It is easy to list the reasons why the left-back would be interested in a move back to Stamford Bridge. He will have a point to prove after being moved on by the club and he will now believe that he is good enough to play a more prominent role in the first team. The added exposure of playing in a top-six side and featuring in the Champions League adds further incentive for him to make the switch.
However, there is a risk that he would play only a supporting role to Marcos Alonso and that could be hugely damaging in a World Cup year. At things stand, the 27-year-old has a great chance of securing a place in the England squad next summer, but a bad decision made before the end of the current transfer window could jeopardise that.
It is yet to be seen how serious the interest is from Chelsea and whether they will choose to make a move this summer. They need to make reinforcements, but they could have more high-profile targets in mind than their former youth product. If they do make a move, it will be a difficult decision for Bertrand as there are good reasons both to accept and reject the transfer.