Denis Zakaria to Chelsea: Juventus loan deal has more potential than a stop in the middle of Thomas Tuchel | Football news

The signing of Denis Zakaria on Chelsea’s final day received relatively little attention. As a loan with one option, it’s low risk with low expectations – one remembers Saul Niguez’s dismal season. But it would be a mistake to underestimate Zakaria.

While this could be a short-term solution for Chelsea before pursuing bigger goals in midfield next summer, those who have followed the player’s career closely would not be surprised if he could seize this opportunity to impress in the Premier League.

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Zakaria’s progress has faltered but the Swiss international is only 25 years old. Before staying at Juventus, before his injury at Borussia Monchengladbach, he was one of the most promising midfielders in Europe. Liverpool still retain a spot this summer.

Adam Owen was part of the coaching staff at Servette when Zakaria first broke through. “Even then, he’s still a standout,” Owen said Sports sky. “Kevin Cooper is the manager who gave him his debut at the age of 17. He came on and that’s it. He’s been on the team ever since.”

Talent is hard to miss. “I think everyone knows that throughout the academy. The initial disappointment was that he felt he should have played earlier than he did. We kept him because of the timing. must be suitable.”

Switzerland Denis Zakaria, left, competes for the ball with David Markvart of Hungary during the 2018 World Cup qualifying soccer match between Switzerland and Hungary at St.  Jakob-Park in Basel, Switzerland, on Saturday, October 7, 2017.
Denis Zakaria’s ability to dribble from midfield is a useful asset

Owen and Zakaria communicate in French, not English, and he remembers a “great guy” who he wants to work with longer. “He left because the club was in financial trouble and he went to Young Boys.” From there, his career exploded.

“Physically he was an absolute machine even then. Good with the ball. I’m not surprised he has continued to do very well. He can drive with the ball, defend well. , solid. As a teenager, he had all those traits. He probably reminds you of Patrick Vieira.”

James Rodriguez (R) of Bayern and Denis Zakaria of Gladbach compete for the ball during the German Bundesliga football match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and Bayern Munich at Borussia Park in Moenchengladbach, Germany, November 25, 2017.
Denis Zakaria is the player who can cut the midfield play

Those comparisons to Vieira have been throughout his career and they make sense – his long legs and large stride can be very striking when fully active. But other names were mentioned. Gladbach legend Lothar Matthaus once likened him to Toni Kroos.

In fact, Zakaria’s pass is safer than spectacular, but he is one of only seven players in the Bundesliga to have a pass accuracy rate above 90% last season. He can also break up the play with his interceptions and defend the defence.

Denis Zakaria's defensive areas for Juventus

Fabian Otte is the goalkeeping coach at Gladbach and has had a close look at this cherry’s ability. “He’s an incredible box-to-box player who’s great at winning the ball defensively and has great power going forward,” said Otte. Sports sky.

“I can only say great things about Zaki. He is a very humble person. He had a major injury for some time before his collision with Yann Sommer, so he would have left sooner if he had. healthy and he would have been given an easy £30m transfer if his contract had not gone through.

“I hope he does the incredible thing because he deserves it.”

The injury Otte mentioned is why there wasn’t more fanfare. Can a player who has failed to convince Juventus of his worth in 11 Serie A appearances there, can really play a key role in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge?

Denis Zakaria's heat and transmission map at Juventus

Owen is currently an assistant manager at Hibs but holds a doctorate in exercise science and coaching, has been a performance director for Rangers and a fitness coach for the Wales national team. He believes that there is still time for Zakaria to reach the next level.

“He’s young enough to get through it. It’s always important to make sure he gets the right rehabilitation and training. The growth is still there. Just because you’re a senior international player, so the players can still improve and develop. .

“You have to take chances with a guy like that. The experience he has, he’s handled every step up to every level he’s reached. For me, if he can give I’m back where he needs to be physically, surely he can step up again.

“The potential for him to go on and do more is substantial.”

If Zakaria can fulfill that potential then Chelsea will have a midfielder that can be more than just a short-term contract.

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