While Chelsea’s season could still be considered a success should they finish in the Top 4, Thomas Tuchel has a big job on his hands next season and Chelsea will be competing for the Premier League title next season while the Champions League will also be on their wishlist. Thus, this requires a deep squad, and with Tuchel operating with center-backs, that is an area where Chelsea lacks young players, and Tuchel is keen on adding one in the summer. This has led to an interest in 21-year-old Wolfsburg defender Maxence Lacroix, who has been impressive with the German outfit this season.
WHY MAXENCE LACROIX?
A youth product of the Sochaux academy in France, Maxence Lacroix joined Wolfsburg in August 2020, and there were big hopes for the youngster, and it is safe to say that Lacroix has more than justified his £4.50 million transfer fee.
With a good understanding of the game and an excellent interceptor, Maxence Lacroix has signified every ability a modern-day defender needs to make it to the top. While the pace is an important attribute, reading the game is far more important in today’s game, and the youngster has learnt that lesson quickly.
Lacroix has been part of a Wolfsburg defence that have conceded the 2nd fewest goals in the Bundesliga this season, only behind 2nd placed RB Leipzig. This has led to Wolfsburg getting into the Top 4, a feat they last achieved in the 2014-15 season. Lacroix has played 29 out of a possible 33 Bundesliga games for the club this season, and the defender’s numbers are supreme for somebody so young and into his first season in Germany.
The 21-year-old currently averages 2 interceptions per 90 mins while also achieving 2 successful tackles per game this season. What is more impressive is that the defender is giving away less than 1 foul, a statistic not many defenders in Europe can boast about this season. The Frenchman is also averaging 5 clearances a game while he is also dribbled past only 0.6 times per 90 mins this season.
Strength; concentration; tenacity are some of the key factors of Maxence Lacroix’s game and thus, it is no surprise that a club like Chelsea are interested in the defender.
WHY DOES CHELSEA NEED MAXENCE LACROIX?
With Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta not getting any younger, Chelsea needs a young defender in the ranks to carry on the mantel and become a leader. Additionally, it looks like Fikayo Tomori might move to AC Milan permanently, leaving Chelsea’s youngest defender to be 22-year-old Malang Sarr, who is currently on loan at FC Porto.
While Chelsea does have a lot of young defenders in their academy like Marc Guehi (on loan at Swansea) and Xavier Mbuyamba (Chelsea development squad), Maxence Lacroix provides a different skill set as compared to others. It is also highly likely that Lacroix’s potential could be far more than any of the players mentioned above, making it a sensible transfer for Chelsea.
Lacroix’s current contract with Wolfsburg ends on June 2024, however, the Frenchman did recently refuse a contract extension at the club, indicating a move might be on the cards sooner rather than later. The defender is currently valued at £30 million and, if Chelsea do secure Champions League football next season, they will try to get in a young defender, and currently, there are few better than 21-year-old Maxence Lacroix.