Chelsea would “crave” a signing like Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips this summer, according to Alex McLeish.
The former Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the 25-year-old could be an alternative to long-time Blues target Declan Rice.
Chelsea made numerous attempts to sign the West Ham enforcer last summer and still had their sights set on him in January.
Thomas Tuchel currently has the likes of Ngolo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic as his senior deep-lying midfielders.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Billy Gilmour is also on the fringes of the Blues’ first team.
McLeish suggested Chelsea lacked a proper enforcer in the mould of Phillips or Rice.
As such, he suggested they could consider the Leeds man as an alternative to the Irons’ star.
Asked which clubs he thought would be sniffing around Phillips, McLeish told Football Insider‘s Russell Edge: “Chelsea don’t really have that. It’s more of the Brazilians and other nationalities that are playing in their midfield, such as Croatians.
“I would think that Chelsea would crave somebody like that. Don’t forget, they’ve got a brilliant young Scot coming through in Billy Gilmour.
“He could perhaps do that same job when his manager feels he’s ready and strong enough to cope with the Premier League.
“Also, when you think of Rice who’s been linked with Chelsea for a long time. You would say Phillips and Rice are that kind of player who would suit Chelsea.
“They’re a wee bit different styles but primarily the same type of position.”
Jamie Carragher was left raving over the “outstanding” midfielder earlier this season.
He told Sky Sports Phillips’ display against Everton was one of the best individual performances of the campaign.