Champions Chelsea capture Senegal defender Papy Djilobodji from Nantes
With Everton defender John Stones, unlikely to sign before the end of the transfer window, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea have reinforced their rearguard options by luring Nantes centre back Papy Djilobodji to Stamford Bridge instead, after agreeing a reported £2.7m switch and penning a four-year contract.
The reigning Premier League champions had several bids for Toffees starlet Stones rejected this summer but have managed to tie-up a bargain deal for 26-year-old defender Djilobodji, boosting the Blues backline in their bid to retain their domestic crown.
Djilobodji was entering into the final year of his contract with Nantes, who currently sit eighth in the French league table, the reason behind such a modest fee paid by the Londoners.
— FC Nantes (@FCNantes) September 1, 2015
Mourinho’s latest arrival stands at a towering 6ft 4in and will provide his new club with a much-needed defensive uplift, having made a stuttering start to the new season, tasting defeat twice already in their opening four clashes, including a recent 2-1 loss at the hands of Crystal Palace.
The Blues are 11/2 with Coral to retain their Premier League title this term, but will be helped massively by their new Senegal international acquisition Djilobodji, who was sublime over the course of five years.
Chelsea’s new defender made more than 160 appearances for former employers Nantes in Ligue 1, having joined them in 2010, and was rated as one of the most consistent defenders in France last season, with only five teams conceding less goals over the season.
The astute African centre back will now compete with Blues skipper John Terry, Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma for a starting place in the Chelsea backline, but could feature heavily with the club having conceded nine goals in their first four league outings.
Mourinho will hope his new centre back signing can address the defensive concerns that have been evident so far this campaign and help plug the eight-point gap on league leaders Manchester City before the Sky Blues dominantly storm beyond reach.
He is well regarded in Ligue 1 and was part of a stubborn Nantes defence last season, though perhaps not quite at the elite standard of PSG’s Thiago Silva or Nicolas N’Koulou at Marseille.
Djilobodji should provide the Blues with a calm and composed figure in the Stamford Bridge last line, with the left-footed Senegal star blessed with capable ball-playing skills from deep, and could help sure-up that faltering Chelsea defence.