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Who is Chelsea target Juan Musso?

Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso, with Chelsea reportedly weighing up a move for the Argentine.

The goalkeeping spot at Stamford Bridge has been firmly up in the air throughout the 2019-20 season, after error-strewn performances from Kepa Arrizabalaga led to the Spaniard being benched by 38-year-old Willy Caballero in January.

Kepa, who became the world's most expensive goalkeeper when he joined Chelsea from Athletic Bilbao in 2018, produced a string of fine saves in Chelsea's 2-0 win over Liverpool in their FA Cup fifth-round clash following six games on the sidelines.

However, the 25-year-old's future with Frank Lampard's side is still uncertain, and the Blues have reportedly set their sights on Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso as a potential replacement.

Here, Sports Mole provides the lowdown on Musso, exploring how the Argentine could benefit Frank Lampard's side should he make the switch to the Premier League.

Background

Born in San Nicolas, Argentina, the 6ft 3in goalkeeper began his professional career with Primera Division side Racing Club in 2012. Musso chalked up one league appearance in Racing's 2-1 win over San Lorenzo in the 2016-17 campaign and played the full 90 minutes in two games as Racing reached the 2017 Copa Sudamericana quarter finals.

Musso followed this up with 22 appearances in the 2017-18 Superliga Argentina, keeping three clean sheets as Racing finished seventh in the league. The 25-year-old also started all of Racing's 2018 Copa Libertadores group stage matches alongside Barcelona target Lautaro Martinez but was left out of the quarter-final stage as Racing were knocked out by River Plate.

The Argentine's stellar performances for La Academia landed him a £3.6m transfer to Udinese in the summer of 2018, where he has chalked up a total of 50 Serie A appearances for the Italian outfit. He started 29 of Udinese's league fixtures last season, keeping seven clean sheets as his side finished 12th.

How has he fared this season?

Argentina goalkeeper Juan Musso pictured in June 2019© Reuters

Musso has firmly established himself as Udinese's first-choice goalkeeper during the 2019-20 campaign, playing every single minute of the Serie A season prior to the coronavirus postponement.

The Argentine has kept nine clean sheets from 26 league matches, conceding 37 goals in that time. However, he was on the receiving end of Atalanta's 7-1 rout of Udinese back in October, during which he conceded two penalties from Luis Muriel.

Musso can boast one penalty save to his name this season, keeping out Andrea Petagna's spot kick in a goalless draw with SPAL. According to WhoScored, the goalkeeper has made 86 saves in Serie A this season, averaging 3.3 a game.

International experience?

Interestingly, Musso made his debut for the Argentine national side a year ago today, replacing fellow debutant Esteban Andrada for the final 32 minutes of Argentina's 1-0 friendly win over Morocco.

Andrada was due to travel with Argentina to Brazil for the 2019 Copa America, but in a mirror image of the goalkeeper's debut, he was forced to withdraw through injury and was replaced by Musso.

Argentina took third place at the tournament, but the experienced Franco Armani was preferred to the Udinese shot-stopper, and Musso did not play a single minute of the competition.

Is he likely to feature in the starting lineup?

Throughout the season, Musso has garnered plenty of praise from fans and critics alike, and it would be difficult to see how Kepa or Caballero would keep him out of the first XI given their form during the 2019-20 campaign.

Nevertheless, Kepa produced flashes of brilliance in his return as Lampard's side comfortably saw off Liverpool, and if the Spaniard can replicate performances like that in the future, Musso may face some stiff competition for the number one spot at Stamford Bridge.

The 25-year-old's current deal with Udinese is set to expire in 2023, meaning that Chelsea could have to fork out a hefty fee to add the Argentine to their ranks.

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