Antonio Conte wants to add a few more players to his squad before the transfer window closes and The Mirror report that they are tracking Nicolae Stanciu. The Steaua Bucharest midfielder scored all three goals as he helped his club overcome Sparta Prague in the Champions League qualifying round. Given that Chelsea already have lots of options in attacking midfield, it would be an odd move, but there is no doubting that Stanciu is a very talented player.
During Euro 2016, Stanciu played twice for Romania and looked dangerous in both matches. In the opening game of the tournament against France, he won the penalty that gave Romania the opportunity to equalise. Against the hosts, Stanciu showed the threat he poses in the final third and caused a lot of problems.
He is already widely recognised as the best player in the Romanian top flight and it is only a matter of time until he earns a transfer to a bigger league. Stanciu is an interesting target for Chelsea as they are well stocked in the attacking areas. It may suggest that there are going to be players sold, with Oscar and Juan Cuadrado the most likely to leave this summer.
Last season, Stanciu showed his ability by contributing 14 goals and 11 assists for Steaua, which shows how he has grown to be too big for the Romanian league. The start of his career in the international arena is equally impressive netting four in his first seven caps for Romania. He is certainly capable of moving to a higher level, but the jury is out on whether he would improve Chelsea.
The Romanian is direct and likes to run with the ball. He is a powerful runner, with a quick turn of acceleration and possesses the skill to beat defenders. Stanciu has a clean strike from range and is a composed finisher if he is one-on-one with the goalkeeper. His set pieces are excellent and he has scored several free kicks for Steaua over the years. Although he likes to run with the ball and pose a threat in the final third, Stanciu can also drop deeper and has a good passing range that allows him to create openings from his own half.
Stanciu would bring versatility to the Chelsea squad, as he can play in centre midfield and on the right wing, but he is best in the advanced midfield role behind the striker. At Steaua, he has a free role and is allowed to roam across the pitch. This wouldn’t be the case at Chelsea and he would have to learn to play in one role. In terms of an adjusting period, it would be unfair to expect him to take his Steaua form to Chelsea immediately. He would need to be given time to adjust and get used to the physicality of the Premier League.
Antonio Conte demands that his players are committed and carry out his specific tactical instructions to the letter. Nicolae Stanciu isn’t a big name in Europe and would represent an underwhelming piece of business if he does come in. However, he could fit Conte perfectly, as he has the right amount of attacking flair and desire to work hard on the pitch. He would also provide another set piece option, with Willian being the only current established option.
At the rumoured £6m fee, Stanciu would be a bargain and could grow into a player worth four times that over the next year. Chelsea are well stocked for attacking midfield options and have other areas that need strengthening, but signing the Steaua midfielder would carry little risk. He has already shown, in both the Champions League and on the International stage, that he is a very good player. Stanciu has never done it in a big league, but he hasn’t been given the opportunity to do so. If Chelsea do move for Stanciu, it could be a shrewd move by Conte.
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