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Who is new £34m Chelsea defender Benoit Badiashile & why did they sign him?

1:10 PM GMT 15/01/2023
Benoit Badiashile Chelsea 2022-23
The Blues completed the signing of the French centre-back on January 5 after he emerged as a target late in 2022 - but who is he?

Chelsea have bolstered their defensive ranks with the addition of promising formerMonaco centre-back Benoit Badiashile .

The Blues' new ownership invested heavily in the backline in the summer, although the arrivals of Kalidou Koulibaly, Wesley Fofana and Marc Cucurella were to compensate for the losses of Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Marcos Alonso.

Now, head coach Graham Potter has added further strength in depth - a priority given Chelsea's tendency to play with a back-three system - and he has turned to 21-year-old Badiashile, who only emerged as a potential transfer target in late December.

But who is the Frenchman, who was handed his Premier League debut against Crystal Palace on January 15, and why have the Blues decided to make an approach in January? GOAL has you covered...

  • Badiashile 2022-23

    What position does Badiashile play?

    In case you weren't paying attention, Badiashile is a centre-back.

    When you consider his towering 6'4 frame, that's hardly surprising - but there's far more to his game than bulldozing attackers and winning aerial duels.

  • Badiashile Henry

    Badiashile's club career to date

    Born in Limoges in 2001, Badiashile began his career with Limoges FC and then joined SC Malesherbes at the age of 12.

    He was spotted by Luc Cerrajero, a scout for Monaco in the Centre region of France, who directed him to the Pole Espoirs in Chateauroux, an academy system supported by the French Football Federation (FFF).

    At 16, Badiashile signed his first professional contract with Monaco, and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry was the first coach to give him a chance in the senior team.

    A clip of the pair went viral in 2018 when Henry gave his player evils after he failed to tuck in his chair after a press conference.

  • Badiashile Mbappe 2022-23

    Badiashile's style of play

    In his defensive work, Badiashile is a physically-imposing presence who is prepared to put his body on the line for the cause, and he also boasts the kind of pace that comes in very handy when making recoveries.

    Ball-playing ability is a prerequisite for any centre-back who wants to play for an elite club, and Badiashile ticks that box too.

    In his time at Monaco the defender has demonstrated he is adept at carrying the ball out from the back, but rather than just marauding forward, his passing ability ensures he also keeps possession and progresses play.

    Badiashile even has a trademark pass: a sweeping diagonal ball from deep on the left flank out to the right wing.

  • Benoit Badiashile Monaco 2022-23

    Why did Chelsea want Badiashile?

    The Frenchman was earmarked by Chelsea because they were searching for a specialist left-sided centre-back, capable of slotting into their back three as and when required, but also with age on their side.

    RB Leipzig and Croatia defender Josko Gvardiol had been a long-term target for the role, but his rising value after starring at the World Cup led Chelsea to seek alternatives of a similar profile.

    According to The Athletic, the Blues honed in on Badiashile following an extensive scouting process of left-sided centre-backs under the age of 25, with new owner Todd Boehly keen to build a squad that can compete for years to come.

  • France Autriche Benoît Badiashile

    Is Badiashile an international?

    Despite being just 21 years of age, Badiashile is already a full France international.

    Having risen through Les Bleus youth sides from Under-16 to Under-21, the centre-back was called up to Didier Deschamps' senior squad for Nations League games against Austria and Denmark in September and started both matches.

    He was even scored a lofty mark of seven out of 10 by the notoriously hyper-critical French publication L'Equipe for his performance against Austria.

    However, as a result of stiff competition the youngster did not make the cut for France's 26-man 2022 World Cup squad.