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Who is Nico Elvedi? The Swiss defender Chelsea are chasing to replace Reece James

Nico Elvedi

Nico Elvedi is a 27-year-old Swiss defender who can play either at centre-half or right-back, with his exploits at Borussia Monchengladbach seeing him touted as a potential replacement for the injury-prone Reece James.

Chelsea are looking to add Elvedi to their ranks to help replace captain James, who has recently suffered yet another injury setback. The injury could affect James’ chances of making the England squad for next summer’s Euros.

Elvedi has primarily operated as a centre-back for Gladbach this season under compatriot manager Gerardo Seoane, as the German side often switches formations each game depending on their available personnel and who they are against.

The defender has made 12 appearances so far for Gladbach this campaign as they sit 10th in the league table, suffering a difficult start to the campaign having hosted each of Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig, losing all three.

Recently though their form has picked up, with victories over Heidenheim, Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim seeing them rise up the table, with another victory over Wolfsburg in the DFB Pokal meaning they have made the quarter-finals stage. They will face third-tier side Saarbrucken in the next round, who knocked out Bayern Munich.

Elvedi’s career so far

Born in Zurich, Switzerland, Elvedi joined FC Zurich’s youth system in 2006 and progressed through the ranks to the first team, where he made his Swiss Super League debut in May 2014, coming in a 1-0 away win at Lausanne where he played the full ninety.

He would go on to make 18 first-team appearances for Zurich before joining his current side Gladbach in 2015 for a fee of around €4million (£3.4m).

Elvedi has been a mainstay for Gladbach ever since and has gone on to make 231 Bundesliga appearances and almost 300 appearances in all competitions for the German side so far, scoring 12 goals in that time. His first goal for the club came in a 1-0 victory over rivals 1. FC Koln.

He represented his country at U17, U18 and U19 levels before making his debut for the Swiss national team in May 2016 in a 2-1 friendly loss to Belgium.

The 27-year-old has represented his country at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the 2019 UEFA Nations League Finals,  the 2020 UEFA European Championship and the 2022 FIFA World Cup where in total he has amassed 47 appearances for his national side.

What is Elvedi like as a player?

Standing at 1.87m (6ft 2in), Elvedi is more than comfortable on the ball, able to step out of the defence before playing an accurate pass to a teammate.

Although he doesn’t play there, he is capable of stepping into the midfield on occasion, with his athleticism, technical ability and and ableness to read the game well meaning he can interchange will relative ease.

He can anticipate what is going to happen before it happens really well, placing himself in the right positions to either intercept a pass which has been attempted to break through the defensive line or to tackle an opposition player.

Comfortable at both centre-back and right-back, it is centre-back where Elevdi has played most prominently this campaign, playing as either the central or right centre-back in a back three or as the right centre-back in a back four.

He is much more of a defensive player than a forward-minded one, so would not be a like-for-like replacement for James. Instead, that role would fall to Malo Gusto, who Chelsea acquired from Lyon in January 2023 before sending him back to the French side on loan for the rest of last season.

Elvedi is more like Cesar Azpilicueta in that sense, who himself went on to make over 500 appearances in all competitions in West London.

Where will Elvedi go?

Elvedi signed a new four-year deal with the Foals in September 2023, which will take him through until the summer of 2027.

According to Transfermarkt, his current market value is €14m (£12m), though sources have confirmed to TEAMtalk that a fee of around £30m would tempt the German outfit into a sale.

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