Chelsea have pounced to sign center back Papy Djilobodji from Ligue 1 side Nantes on Deadline Day.
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Djilobodji, 26, joins the Blues on a four-year deal as the Senegalese international will bolster Jose Mourinho’s back line which has come under plenty of criticism so far this season after two defeats and just one win from their opening four games.
The commanding center back has been at Nantes since 2009 when he moved to France at the age of 21 from Senegalese club ASC Saloum. His meteoric has seen Djilobodji spend the last five years with the Ligue 1 club, and he proved pivotal in their promotion to the French top flight in 2013.
Speaking to Chelsea’s website about arriving in England for $4 million, here’s what Djilobodji had to say.
“I’m very happy to sign for a big club like Chelsea and I want to do my best to help the team win titles,” Djilobodji. “I want to thank the club for giving me this opportunity.”
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A player who can also play in the holding midfield role, Djilobodji certainly wasn’t Chelsea’s top central defensive target in the summer transfer window as Mourinho’s admiration for Everton’s John Stones was abundantly clear. However, with the Toffees rebuffing several bids from Chelsea for Stones, the last rumored to be around $60 million, the “Special One” has decided to instead sign a player who has a few more years under his belt and is likely to be more willing to spend time on the bench behind the likes of John Terry and Gary Cahill.
The market in France is obviously very interesting to Mourinho as he signed another imposing center back, Kurt Zouma, from St. Etienne in January 2014 for $20 million. That move has worked out well for Chelsea with Zouma seeming like a perfect replacement for Terry when the 35-year-old calls time on his career at Stamford Bridge.
Djilobodji’s arrival will give Chelsea depth in an area of the pitch where they needed it.