At the end of July, Chelsea sold left-back Filipe Luis back to Atletico Madrid after being with the reigning Premier League champions for one season. Moving the Brazilian international caused the Blues to have a lack of depth at the full-back position and it seems like they plan to fill that void by signing Baba Rahman.
Last week, Rahman’s agent, Sascha Empacher, told German newspaper Sports Bild that his client had already agreed to a deal with the 2011-12 Champions League winners but the clubs still needed to agree on a transfer fee. A compromise is likely to have transpired since Empacher’s quotes because Rahman is currently rumored to be in London and already passed his medical exam. Baba’s rapid rise from being in Ghana to arguably the best league in the world in three years is a testament to his talent.
As a child, the Tamale native played for Ghanaian second-division side Dreams FC. When he turned 17, Rahman was loaned to his country’s biggest team in Asante Kotoko. Baba’s impressive play put him on the radar among European squads and in 2012, he decided to sign with Greuther Furth, a second-division Bundesliga team. After standing out among the competition for two seasons, Augsburg signed the Ghana international for €2 million last year. He immediately became a starter and made an impact by having two assists against Borussia Dortmund in a 3-2 loss, which also happened to be his home debut. His form kept improving and Rahman carried that into the African Cup of Nations where he helped the Black Stars make the final. But they ended up losing to Ivory Coast in penalties.
The heart-breaking defeat may have crushed his nation but the 21-year-old kept his composure. Rahman is a two-footed player who uses his pace, dribbling ability and crossing skills to create chances and add width to his team. He’s no slouch defensively either as he led the Bundesliga in tackles with 91, winning 68 percent of his aerial duels. He has a high work rate that allows him to make an impact constantly.
SEE MORE: Read Chelsea’s 2015/16 season preview.
Chelsea currently only has five defenders on their senior team after Nathan Ake went on a season-long loan to Watford, so Baba’s presence will be needed. The Blues are also after Everton youngster John Stones but the clubs can’t seem to agree on his fee. With all the news of defenders joining the team, Kurt Zouma reportedly told manager Jose Mourinho that he didn’t need to sign anyone because he was good enough to fill his team’s defensive issues. Zouma recently told his team’s website “Because I’m right-footed I have never played at left-back. It was different for me positionally so I had to learn quickly and adapt to it. It’s really not a problem because the boss needed me in that position and I have to give everything for the team. We all have to think about the team first of all so I always do that. They were good experiences for me because I played the games and I always want to be on the pitch enjoying myself and helping the team.”
Multiple reports are stating that Baba’s fee ranges from €25-30 million, including all add-ons. That’s a lot for a young player but Baba’s skills dictate that he can live up to the price if given a chance to play. Last week, Swansea City’s winger Jefferson Montero used his pace to expose Branislav Ivanovic in a 2-2 draw. The vice-captain will be difficult to replace but Baba is talented enough to do it and adds another dimension to Mourinho’s pragmatic powerhouse.
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