The Sun have today claimed that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is readying a £55 million January shopping spree to re-ignite Chelsea’s title challenge after a run of disappointing results. The shopping list is believed to contain several names, many of which are back-ups to his two main targets; Argentinean Sergio Aguero and Croatian Jerko Leko. Aguero’s is a name that all football fans will be familiar with. The Atlético Madrid man has been constantly linked with a move to England and has been one of the few Atlético players to impress in this seasons Champions League, but just who is Jerko Leko?
Jerko Leko is a midfielder who currently plays for the French Ligue 1 club AS Monaco. He is a versatile Croatian who can play anywhere in the midfield, however his best role is as a defensive midfielder. He began his career in his native Croatia with NK Dinamo Zagreb and became a key player for the club. The 29-year-old helped the club to victory in the 2001-02 Croatian Cup after scoring and being named Man of the Match in a final victory over NK Varteks.
Leko then moved to Ukrainian side Dynamo Kiev in 2002 in a deal worth €4 million. He once again proved an important member of the Kiev side, helping them to the league and cup double in his first season. Leko spent 4 years in Ukraine, making 61 league appearances for the club before moving to French side AS Monaco on a free transfer in 2006.
The midfielder has been previously linked with a move to the British Isles, having been linked with both Celtic and Wolves in the last few years. He is highly rated in France for his power and ability to strike the ball. Leko does not get on the score sheet often but when he does it is usually a goal of the highest quality. The midfielder has featured consistently for the Croatian national side having appeared 59 times since 2002. He has become part of the renaissance of Croatian football despite not always being first choice for manager Slaven Bilic.
Chelsea have highlighted Leko as a potential replacement for the injured Michael Essien as well as providing strength in depth to the defensive midfield position. It is common knowledge that John Obi Mikel has not been performing to the best of his ability this season and the arrival of Leko will provide competition in what is a key position for Chelsea given Carlo Ancelotti’s tactics. It is believed that Leko could cost Chelsea anything upwards of £10 million.
Leko in action for AS Monaco:
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