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All You Need To Know About Badiashile | Who is Benoit Badiashile ? The Chelsea New Signing From Monaco



When David Ornstein broke the news at the weekend that Chelsea were chasing another LCB, a year after the pursuit of Josko Gvardiol, it sent Blues fans up in arms.

For one, on the face of it, Badiashile represented a completely different type of profile to the Croatian.

One is a shorter, agile defender who played at Dinamo Zagreb as a LB, and a LCB at RB Leipzig in a back three, whilst the other is a towering, slower defender who has near-exclusively played in a back four at Monaco.

Another reason for controversy was the fact in pre-season, Chelsea had sanctioned the loan of highly promising defender Levi Colwill to Graham Potter’s Brighton.

It appeared the coach wanted to use the 19-year-old as Brighton looked to have a strong 22/23 campaign, but now after moving to Chelsea, the potential addition of another player thrown into the pecking order implies Potter is less keen on Colwill than some fans possibly hoped.

With these preconceptions combined with the normal levels of trepidation that Chelsea fans quickly stir on social media whenever anything remotely noteworthy happens to the team, it’s a relatively poisonous environment to move into.

At 21-years-old and having never moved club let alone country before, there must be great care taken by Potter and the club to make sure Badiashile, should he join, gets off to the right start.

Still, the questions have to be asked: Why have Chelsea seemingly switched their focus towards the profile of defender they want to target, and what has brought them to chasing a defender they’ve only had brief links with before?

One thinks it might have been a suggestion from newly appointed Lawrence Stewart who joins from Monaco in February and will have a seat on the Chelsea board as technical director with a focus on Global Football, though this is just a thought and has not been reported yet by top sources.

So, Who is Benoit Badiashile?

Born in France, Badiashile is one of the more famous young talents that have come through Ligue 1 in recent years. The Monaco defender stands out amongst the likes of Jean-Clair Todibo and even Chelsea’s Wesley Fofana, as Badiashile has actually been capped for the French senior team.

His two caps in September 2022, on top of over 30 appearances for the U19 and U21 sides, and an incredible 100 appearances for Monaco before his 21st birthday, showcase a uniquely experienced young player.

A reason behind this sharp rise to the top is his character. The Athletic recently focused on the youngster’s calm self-assurance, but what has gone under the radar is his work ethic.

When asked by Ligue 1 reporter Matt Spiro if his impressive reading of the game and positioning is something that comes naturally, Badiashile said: “No, I have to work at it all the time in training. 

As you said, since I started with the senior team, I’ve been improving.

 I’ve learned something new with every coach I have had.”

That line about learning something new under every coach should be examined more closely, as the Frenchman has had a gallery of coaches to work with.

From breaking through during the calamitous spell of Thierry Henry, then Leo Jardim to Roberto Moreno, to Niko Kovac and more recently Philippe Clement, Badiashile has had been tutored by a range of coaches both in style and in quality since debuting in November 2018.

That quality of coaching can clearly be linked with his form too. Badiashile started his career in tough fashion when Monaco were at fear of relegation under Henry, and it took until Kovac came in as coach for things to improve in 2020 to 2021.

Even then, Badiashile was much more error prone, suffering lapses in concentration and positioning, as Monaco suffered some inconsistency at the beginning and end of Kovac’s 18 month reign.

His best form has come since the beginning of 2022, since the arrival of Clement in January, where he’s played more often than not in a back four, and has become a threat at the other end of the pitch.

Injury record :

Considering Badiashile debuted in 2018, the injury record data headed up by Transfermarkt is not bad, but it is also not squeaky clean, with 2 injuries already this season. With Chelsea’s constant injury woes, should the blues sanction anymore deals for players who have had recent injuries? especially for those who have already had some injury troubles at a young age. Well, I guess Chelsea will have to decide on that front.

Benoit Badiashile Injury record. Credit : Transfermarkt

What does Badiashile offer defensively?

The thing that stands out more than anything else about Badiashile is his absolutely towering physique. At 6ft4, taller than some websites weirdly suggest, Badiashile is a giant on the pitch, and he uses this to his advantage.

When he first broke through at Monaco, it could be tempting for him to try and forcefully battle with opposing defenders in the box to head towards goal. Now though, he’s refined his attacking movement, and has become a genuine danger on corners and free kicks – three goals in his last 12 league games go to show for it.

Defensively, his style of play is a little more reserved to Gvardiol or Colwill. Badiashile has spoken about how his family and coaches encourage him to be more aggressive but stylistically, there’s something calm about the way he applies pressure.

FBREF stats show that Badiashile averages less tackles and interceptions p90 than Gvardiol, but made more clearances (3.33) p90 last season than the Leipzig man (2.31).

This would paint Badiashile as someone who is more of a defender of his own box. But it’s not to say the defender can’t defend in a one vs one, or is a slow, lumbersome player.

He’s actually quite eager and comfortable stepping out of his defensive line, something that both Kovac and Clement encouraged their side to do as they pressed to win the ball back.

While Badiashile is generally a clean tackler, he still needs to work on his timing at stepping out. He commits 1.15 fouls p90, putting him in the bottom 32% of defenders in Europe for that metric, while the more aggressive Gvardiol averages just 0.93 fouls p90.

Again, it should be noted that the defender is almost insanely young to have started over 20 games in a league season two years running and to have established himself as a starter for a regular in European competitions.

With age comes experience, and with that comes improvements, and while it’s clearly not a gigantic departure of profile than Gvardiol, there may be a clear reason why Potter might want Badiashile over the Leipzig defender or even Colwill.

At Brighton, Potter operated with Dan Burn, one of the tallest players in the Premier League. Lewis Dunk next to him also stands close to 6ft 4, and Adam Webster is over 6ft too. Clearly, Potter has previously favoured height in his defence, and the potential transfer of Badiashile may be driven by that too.

Can Badiashile help Chelsea in possession?

When Spiro asked the defender if he thought his height was his biggest asset, Badiashile disagreed for the second time in the interview by stating : “I’d say my strong point is the quality of my distribution, that’s my main strength, and that’s what sets me apart from certain other defenders.”

The statistics would appear to back that up, as last season the young defender averaged more progressive passes p90 than any other centre back in the Monaco squad.

What’s grown as a part of his passing is his range of technique used. Badiashile has consistently driven long diagonal switches to Monaco wingers, lifting it over the opposition block.

More recently, he’s started to attempt more risky line-breaking direct passes under Clement. Monaco this season in particular have had little care for possession, which may surprise some who perceive them as a ball-dominant team. They actually hold 45.4% of the ball on average, lower than 15 other teams in the league.

Credit : Monaco Tribune

It’s meant though, that there’s a greater urgency from the team to get the ball forward along the ground in a quicker fashion. Badiashile’s long-raking passes may be eye-catching, but they can give the opposition time to get back into position. Playing more vertical passes benefits the team more, and we are beginning to see that creep into his game.

When PSG hosted Monaco in August for example, Badiashile started in a back three. This did help create more angles for passes to the midfield, but he did stand out in this game for moving the ball quickly, and helped get Monaco to a 1-1 draw.

Perhaps it’s a reason to leave this transfer to the summer, to give him more time under Clement as the coach looks to embed his own style of play with 12 months now in the job.

Should Chelsea sanction the transfer?

Badiashile is clearly established as a solid talent, with remarkable experience and good qualities to take him far in the game. There’s also clear reasons why Graham Potter would want him in his XI.

Transferring in the defender will definitely send a message out from Todd Boehly and Potter, that they are willing to spend big to drive their youth-recruitment programme and squad makeover.

Furthermore, it also sends the message both men are not satisfied with Kalidou Koulibaly or Marc Cucurella at LCB, nor trust Colwill to make the position his own in the short term.

I am not usually a fan of giving a straight yes or no, I believe every player has pro’s and con’s and with a coach like Graham Potter, it is worth considering the amount of players he developed into much better players such as Alexis Mac Allister, Robert Sanchez, Leandro Trossard and more.

What I will say is that I think Badiashile will be yet another plaster over the wound caused by Antonio Rudiger’s exit in the Chelsea defence. Whether he will be the one who heals it depends heavily on how exposed he is in the Premier League, and if his more glaring weaknesses can be transformed sooner rather than later which might just prove to be why a January move is a less than favourable option considering Chelsea need instant impact with their position in the premier league table

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