Both Chelsea and Arsenal have a lot to play for this term in order to clinch a place in next season’s Champions League football. Yet both the London rivals are already chasing new names for the upcoming campaign and Atalanta’s Bryan Cristante is reportedly a major transfer target who will be pursued during the summer window.
Chelsea, the Premier League champions of last season, had a disappointing run this time under Antonio Conte but their recent resurgence has not ruled them out entirely from a ‘top four’ race. They have also progressed through to the final of Emirates FA Cup where they will be encountering Manchester United with a hope to achieve one silverware from an ordinary campaign. They had some unimpressive signings during the last two transfer windows, particularly in midfield, as the likes of Tiemoue Bakayoko, Danny Drinkwater, and Ross Barkley all failed to impress. The Blues, therefore, will require reinforcements in the middle of the park and the young Italian has been identified as a quality addition alongside N’Golo Kante and Cesc Fabregas.
Arsenal, on the other hand, will be parting ways with veteran Arsene Wenger at the end of this campaign after a few years of disappointment of late. Their poor league run has already ruled them out from a ‘top four’ place but still hold an outside chance to make a backdoor entry to next season’s Champions League football via winning the Europa League contest. They are getting prepared for the semi-final return leg tie against Atletico Madrid at Wanda Metropolitano following a 1-1 draw at Emirates and will have an uphill task to defeat Diego Simeone’s men in their own backyard. They, too, lack quality in midfield as Granit Xhaka has been a massive disappointment whereas Jack Wilshere’s contract situation seems to be far from settled in North London. Cruel injury nightmares have sent Santi Cazorla to the twilight of his career, therefore, the Gunners’ need new recruits to strengthen the midfield alongside Aaron Ramsey and Mohamed ElNeny.
Cristante, 23, progressed through the academy ranks of A.C. Milan before being captured by Benfica back in the summer of 2014 in a five-year contract. He played little for the Portuguese giants and mostly spent his time in Italy on loan at Palermo and Pescara before joining Atalanta during last year’s winter window. The central midfielder played a huge part in their ‘top four’ finish last season and also impressed this term with his regular presence in the middle of the park. He is capable of featuring as a deep-lying playmaker, box-to-box, and also fits in properly in an attacking midfield role. With one year remaining in his current deal to run out, parent club Benfica will be forced to let him leave for a much lower transfer fee and the clubs are likely to battle it out for the youngster who has recently represented the Azzurri at a senior level.