Sidibe: Rio Ferdinand compares Monaco star and Chelsea target with Brazilian legend

Djibril Sidibe of AS Monaco challenges Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match at Etihad Stadium on February 21, 2017 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Djibril Sidibe of AS Monaco challenges Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match at Etihad Stadium on February 21, 2017 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) /

AS Monaco’s impressive display against Manchester City on Wednesday drew some praise for full-backs Djibril Sidibe and Benjamin Mendy.

Sidibe is one of Europe’s most wanted full-backs right now after his impressive displays in the Champions League and Ligue 1. His attacking performance against Manchester City drew praise from Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand.

"‘The two Monaco full backs [Sidibe and Mendy] were like Roberto Carlos and Cafu. Frantic football.’"

Rio Ferdinand is of course referring to the way the Monaco full-backs played such attacking football… much like how the famous Brazilian full-backs played in previous world cups. Although defensively, Sidibe suffered throughout the intense match against City, he is still a highly sought after prospect.

Chelsea sent scouts to watch three players from Monaco including Djibril Sidibe, Bernardo Silva and Tiemoue Bakayoko.

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It’s likely that Chelsea will make Sidibe one of their primary targets.

While Chelsea’s Victor Moses has played well as a right wing-back, it’s clear from recent displays that he needs some rest after playing every game for Chelsea since their formation change to a back three.

Signed from Lille in 2016 for €15m euros, his impressive displays earned him a call up to the French International side as a stand-by player. Arsenal also just missed out on signing him reportedly which they must regret now.

He has also spoken (back in October 2016) of rejecting Arsenal and has admitted that he will likely go to the Premier League next season.

"“…so, I preferred to stay in Ligue 1 to get a maximum of experience and leave for the Premier League next year, because it’s a league that I’m really attracted to.”"

Djibril Sidibe is one of Europe’s top full-backs and can either play on the right or the left. He would provide crucial cover and competition for Chelsea’s fullbacks Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses. He would also be an ideal wing-back in Chelsea’s system as it allows the wing-backs to get forward a lot while the two defensive midfielders N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic provide cover.

Monaco are one of the best young attacking teams in Europe with a similarly young and talented manager Leonardo Jardim. They have been one of Europe’s best attacking teams after scoring 76 goals in 26 matches. They are also currently top of the Ligue 1, three points ahead of PSG.

It’s easy to understand why. Monaco’s attacking quintet of Falcao, Kylian Mbappé  Bernardo Silva and another Chelsea target Thomas Lemar have been deadly. While, the full-backs Sidibe and Mendy, comforted by the defensive reassurance of Tiemoue Bakayoko, are able to get forward a lot.

If Sidibe does come to Chelsea, he would arguably become of the top fullbacks in the world. Chelsea have been searching for a world-class full-back ever since Ashley Cole left the club. Experiments in Filipe Luis and Baba Rahman have failed and Marcos Alonso has his weaknesses too.

The 24-year-old defender has an average of 4.3 tackles per game in the Champions League from six appearances (per whoscored). While in the Ligue 1, he has averaged 2.7 tackles per game from 21 appearances. Crucially, it’s his Champions League performances that will have impressed Chelsea’s scouts. It shows that he can play in big games which Chelsea need. His attacking stats of two goals and four assists in the Ligue 1 is also promising.

Although, due to the high intensity of the game against City, he did fade out near the end of the game  of the game. Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero beat him on numerous times in the second half. Chelsea could fix this. Manager Antonio Conte demands high levels of fitness and physicality from his players. I firmly believe Conte could mould Sidibe into one of Chelsea’s best ever wing-backs.

It seems almost all of Europe’s top clubs will be after half of Monaco’s team given their young age (they are the third youngest squad in the Ligue 1), and their impressive displays in the Champions League. They beat Tottenham and they almost embarrassed Manchester City in the 5-3 thriller.

Monaco play at home in the second leg at their modest 20,000 capacity stadium.

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Chelsea still need to replace Ashley Cole and Branislav Ivanovic and their full-back department is looking seriously thin. Chelsea could sign Sidibe for around £20m. Although his price may rise after his impressive displays.