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Napoli full-back Elseid Hysaj would have ‘probably gone to Chelsea’ if not for club president Aurelio de Laurentiis, according to the player’s agent.

Hysaj played 49 games for Napoli in all competitions, under now-Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, and established himself as one of the most consistent full-backs in Europe as the side pushed Juventus close for the 2017/18 Scudetto.

This season, however, the 24-year-old Albanian’s form has taken a dip, with Hysaj coming in for a lot of criticism from sections of the media and Napoli’s support in view of the fact the Partenopei have conceded more goals than any team in Serie A’s top six (10).

But had it not been for a clause which meant that Chelsea could not go back in for any Napoli players or staff other than Sarri and Jorginho, Hysaj would “probably” not even be plying his trade in Naples anymore.

“Those who criticise him probably never make mistakes, but the rest of us are mere mortals,” Mario Giuffredi said on Naples-based radio, according to Football Italia.

“Without that clause, he probably would have gone to Chelsea this summer, people forget that he was one of the best two or three full-backs in Europe last season. Then it just takes two or three matches for him to become a donkey…

“I always say to let everyone talk and then respond on the pitch.”

Who is Elseid Hysaj?

Hysaj, 24, has spent his entire professional career playing in Italy, first with Empoli and then, after completing a £5.25m move, Napoli – that fee is also the second-biggest fee for an Albanian footballer ever, after Lorik Cana.

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Elseid has been a mainstay in the Albanian national team since 2013, being capped 42 times so far, and has forged himself as one of the most consistent right-backs in European football since moving to Napoli in 2015, picking up two Serie A runner-up medals during that time.

Despite an apparent drop-off in form, Hysaj doesn’t fare too badly when compared to current Chelsea right-back Cesar Azpilicueta this season.

The Spaniard (1.88) has made a lot more blocks per 90 minutes than Hysaj (0.67), but the Albanian comfortably leads the way with clearances (2.55 to 1.41 per 90 minutes), while the two are quite closely matched in terms of their attacking threat – Hysaj and Azpilicueta have averaged 0.13 and 0.12 assists (from open play) per 90 minutes this term.

This is not the first time the Napoli defender’s agent has linked his client with Premier League. Giuffredi claimed in September of last year that Liverpool and Arsenal made their interest in Hysaj known.

The post Elseid Hysaj saw Chelsea transfer scuppered by a contract “clause” – so who is the Napoli defender? appeared first on Squawka News.

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