Hoffenheim defender Niklas Sule has been linked with a move to Chelsea in the January transfer window after the 21-year-old has impressed Blues boss Antonio Conte this season in his performances in the Bundesliga.
Despite his young age Sule has already gone to make 95 appearances for Hoffenheim since he made his debut back in 2013 in a 1-4 defeat to Hamburger SV.
Hoffenheim have made an excellent start to their 2016/17 Bundesliga campaign where they are third in the table, six points behind leaders and defending champions Bayern Munich. They are the only side in the league that have yet to lose as they have won six of their games and drawn the other nine.
Sule made his debut for the German senior national team back in August, starting against Finland. Germany manager Joachim Low is thought to be a big fan of the central defender so he is likely to play a huge role for his country in the future.
At the time of writing, Chelsea had only conceded 11 goals in the Premier League in 16 games. That record has been immensely improved since Conte switched to a 3-4-3 formation. The back three of David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta have done extremely well. They have also been helped by the summer signing of N’Golo Konte from Premier League champions Leicester. The Frenchman sits in front of the defensive line to offer them some protection, just like he did for the Foxes last season.
The signing of Sule would allow Conte to rotate his back three in the second half of the campaign. Although the west London club have no Champions League football to worry about in the early New Year, it is still a long schedule to expect his three defenders to play every game. There is also the FA Cup which gets underway next month. Conte will be very keen on a good run in that competition given they went out of the EFL Cup at an early stage.
Sule has been estimated at around £30 million. That fee is unlikely to put Chelsea off who will see the player as a great investment. The signing of the German could lead to John Terry leaving the club. The former England international has hardly featured under Conte this season. He is being linked with a move to the MLS in 2017.
Chelsea will have to be weary of other clubs who could also be interested in a swoop for Sule in January. That is one of the reasons as to why they need to complete the deal next month, rather than waiting until the summer. If they don’t act now, somebody might just do so.
Hoffenheim turned down offers for their talented defender last summer. Sule was part of the Germany under-23 team which won gold in Rio at the Olympics. A number of scouts were impressed with his performances at the tournament, including Conte who would love to make the youngster a Chelsea player.