Chelsea Women: What to know about center half transfer target Maelle Lakrar

The January transfer window is open, and despite being in a good position domestically, and in Europe, Chelsea Women still have ways in which it can improve the squad. Here's a look at one of the club's rumored targets.

Portugal v France - UEFA Womens Nations League
Portugal v France - UEFA Womens Nations League / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages
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It is no secret that Chelsea Women are slim in the center back department. The latest Women's Super League match at Bristol City pretty much sums up the situation. Sjoeke Nusken, who is without question best as a versatile midfielder was pushed into the back four due to Maren Mjelde and Kadeisha Buchanan being unfit for selection. With it unclear when the injury (or sickness) bug will strike again, insurance is needed.

No Millie Bright for who knows how long. Same goes with Dutch defender Aniek Nouwen. That leaves just three natural center halves. According to a recent report from the BBC, the west London outfit is "pursing" French international defender Maelle Lakrar. Here's what you need to know about her as the January window gets underway.

Who is the 5-foot-7 defender Maelle Lakrar?

The current 23-year-old who plays club football at Montpellier has started in 46 of the 48 league contests in which she has competing in over the last three campaigns per FBref. In her eight fixtures at the club level so far this season, Lakrar has accumulated an 81 percent pass accuracy, third-best on the team. Prior to spending the past five and a half campaigns in southern France, MHSC's current No. 20 competed for Olympique de Marseille Feminin, winning the Division 2 Féminine title in 2015/16.

In 2019, Lakrar had a coming out party, making a name for herself as a quality defender in the UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship. She led France to its fifth title, netting a goal in the final while earning a spot on the Team of the Tournament alongside Ajax's current standout goal-scorer Romee Leuchter, and Eintracht Frankfurt's star Sophia Kleinherne.

As this past summer's World Cup, the former Marseille defender was tied with center back partner Wendie Renard for the fourth most minutes played for Herve Renard's French outfit. That took a lot of people by surprise, but despite her youth the introduction of the new manager allowed Lakrar to serve an important role in France's success.

Of the individuals who played for the European side in the quarterfinal against Australia, Montpellier's No. 20 was the third youngest. Imagine her in a few years. Les Bleues' No. 2 will only have taken even more steps forward in her game. Who better to play alongside at that age than one of the best to ever do it, Renard. Grace Geyoro, a midfielder that has been linked with the Blues in the past was the only teammate that managed to match her in total tackles plus interceptions down in Australia and New Zealand.