For fans who were wary about bringing in a 24-year-old Slovakian to bolster the attack, they were shown why a week ago, as Marek Hamsik was as impressive a player as any in Chelsea’s 3-1 defeat to Napoli.
Though Hemsik did not get on the score sheet, his 76-percent passing accuracy was best of the forward three, and with only one turnover, he is sure-footed with the ball.
Chelsea have been extremely lacking on the wings all season. Juan Mata has done a decent job on the left but is better in the middle, and Daniel Sturridge has been awful by a winger’s standard on the right. In this 4-3-3 system Villas-Boas wants to run, it wholly depends on wing play to create chances.
Hamsik has all the versatility and depth you would want in a wing player. According to whoscored.com, Hamsik’s strengths are exactly in line with the kind of winger Villas-Boas is looking for—fast, short passing and always running toward goal.
Chelsea were looking at the Slovakian, who can also play midfield, this past summer for an estimated £30 million. Money and optimism were almost definitely factors in not making a deal then.
By the time winter came around, things were more bleak at Stamford Bridge, and it was obvious they needed to make some moves. Naturally, Hamsik’s name popped up again, this time courtesy of his agent, who “encouraged” Chelsea to make a bid.
But it was too little reward for both sides, as Chelsea would not want to invest that much then in a cup-tied player and Napoli would basically be selling away their secrets to the enemy, as the two were scheduled to meet in the Champions League knockout round a month and a half later.
Come summer, things will not change much on the Chelsea flanks. They will still be in desperate need of a winger who can hold his own out wide. While Hamsik will be expensive, Chelsea does have the potential advantage of offering Hamsik Champions League play.
Napoli are currently five points out of Italy’s last Champions League spot, and considering their poor performance in Serie A this year, Chelsea have the better odds of making it than the Italians.