Chelsea appears to be on the verge of signing another Ligue 1 defender in AS Monaco star Axel Disasi, but his top running speed is causing a bit of a stir among the fans. The 25-year-old has been a talked-about name in the summer transfer window due to links to multiple sides.
Indeed, he was initially linked to a potential move to Manchester United but now seems to be on the verge of joining the London giants. Chelsea are a bit short-staffed in the centre-back position after a lot of changes in the summer. They sold Kalidou Koulibaly to Saudi Arabia side Al Hilal, while Cesar Azpilicueta (who could play as a centre-back too) got sold as well.
Why are Chelsea signing Axel Disasi?
Things went from bad to worse for Mauricio Pochettino’s side when they lost Wesley Fofana to a nasty knee injury too, with the Frenchman set to miss the majority of the 2023/24 season under the Argentine gaffer. As a result, the Blues have been forced to look at potential replacements for him and players to add more options to their centre-back depth.
Disasi has a reputation for being an efficient, hard-working centre-back who can add more steel to their backline. With Pochettino moving away from the three-man backline to encourage a traditional four-man defensive line, Disasi will need to work hard to either replace Thiago Silva or be his permanent partner at the club.
Chelsea are reportedly going to pay a £38 million fee for the 25-year-old and the deal should be over the line before their Premier League season begins in under two weeks. Amid anticipation on his potential arrival, some fans did a little bit of digging to see if Disasi is sharp and quick enough to thrive in the Premier League.
Fans discover Axel Disasi speed concern and why it shouldn’t be an issue
The results showed that his highest top speed reached in a single game last season was around 28.35 KM/H. This was actually slower than what Harry Maguire, often ridiculed for his lack of pace at Manchester United, achieved. Even Wout Weghorst, who was mocked for not having the speed needed for a top-class Premier League striker, achieved a 30.60 KM/H top speed last season.
Chelsea fans are being heavily mocked after this, with rival supporters hinting that he will flop due to his lack of speed and be tormented by the quicker forwards. However, Disasi’s ‘low’ speed levels is unlikely to cause him major trouble at Chelsea.
A few clips of his defending last season for Monaco shows him being extremely reactive to dangerous situations and having impressive reflexes to keep up with quick players as well as cover short distances pretty well. WhoScored lists his biggest strengths as being able to win aerial duels, block shots and maintain high concentration levels to make key challenges.
The ‘top speed’ metric in this case might not actually even give the perfect understanding of his pace levels either. Soon after his discovery, fans also discovered that inbound Manchester United signing Rasmus Hojlund had a top speed reach of 27.45 KM/H last season – which was even slower than Disasi.
On the other hand, Hojlund is renowned for his speed and Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini even claimed last season that the Danish striker is easily able to cover 100 metres in under 11 seconds, which is something professional runners strive to achieve.
As a result, it’d be unfair to assume that Disasi will flop in the Premier League just based on some top-speed metric recorded by a statistic machine. The 25-year-old will definitely find it challenging to transition from Ligue 1 to the much more intense Premier League games, but all the major clubs’ interest in him indicates that has the quality to thrive in England.