Chelsea Transfers: Analysis and Updates on 5 Players with Deadline Day Coming
Editor’s note: When given this assignment, the subject was “Chelsea Transfers: 5 Deals Fans Would Love to See On Transfer Deadline Day,” but with two of the possible deals reportedly going down in the last 36 hours—César Azpilicueta and Victor Moses—I’ve had to broaden the scope of the story.
To say Chelsea has done very well in this summer transfer window would be an understatement of epic proportions.
And it’s not even over.
With the transfer window closing on August 31, Chelsea have already acquired six very talented players in Marko Marin, Eden Hazard, Thorgan Hazard, Oscar, and now César Azpilicueta and Victor Moses as the club begins begins its metamorphosis into a more fluid, attacking team in the mold of Barcelona.
These moves to date have made Chelsea much younger and much deeper as a whole but adding so many players to its already fairly impressive roster means a couple of familiar names will likely be leaving the team via trade or loan in the not so distant future.
So has Uncle Roman bought Robby enough toys yet to make a run at the English Premier League crown and a shot at a repeat as European champions?
It seems Chelsea is now pretty deep at the defender and midfield positions but as manager Roberto Di Matteo said in a story in The Sun, “We’re probably a bit light in attacking positions.”
A week from now we’ll see how management handled this perceived weakness up front. For now, let’s analyze five players whose names have been bandied about and examine what the Blues are preparing to do, or have already done, to bring their services to Stamford Bridge.
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One position Chelsea has desperately been looking for some depth at this summer was at right-back after backup José Bosingwa—who signed a three-year deal with QPR—was released earlier this summer.
And management finally got the guy it wanted to backup Branislav Ivanović on Friday in César Azpilicueta, a 22-year-old Spaniard who was landed for a reported fee of around £7 million ($11.07 million) from Olympique Marseille in France’s Ligue 1, according to the Daily Mail.
Azpilicueta, who made 41 appearances for Les Phocéens last season was introduced to the crowd at Stamford Bridge before Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Newcastle United on Saturday.
He joined Marseille in 2010 after playing for Osasuna in Spain’s La Liga for three seasons. After suffering a serious knee injury in his first season with Los Rojillos, Azpilicueta earned a spot as the club’s first choice at right-back after starting out there as a midfielder.
Marseille confirmed the transfer on their official website, but there were no details as to the fee involved or the length of contract Azpilicueta signed with Chelsea, although all reports had the fee in the £7 million region and the Daily Mail reported his deal with the Blues was for five years.
Now with Ashley Cole, captain John Terry, David Luiz, Ivanović, Ryan Bertrand, Gary Cahill, Paulo Ferreira and Azpilicueta—a member of the Spanish Olympic team—Chelsea is now two-deep at all four defensive positions, giving Di Matteo the kind of versatility and depth he will need to effectively deal with the EPL season and coming tournaments, including the Champions League.
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Another player heavily pursued by the Blues this summer was Wigan Athletic’s winger Victor Moses, who was finally signed on the fifth attempt on Thursday evening in a £9m deal according to The Guardian.
Chelsea fans and management got a good look at the 21-year-old Moses last Sunday in the Blues' 2-0 win in their EPL opener at the DW Stadium where the young Nigerian looked very impressive.
Besides playing the wing, Chelsea also plans on using Moses at the striker-forward position along with Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge.
Before playing for the Latics, Moses played for Crystal Palace who sold him to Wigan for £2.5m in January 2010 and who will receive a portion of his transfer fee from the Blues.
Time will tell where Moses—who was also introduced to the Chelsea crowd on Saturday—will best fit in and get the most minutes on the pitch, but a year from now I think we’ll look back at this pick-up and end up seeing it as a very smart move.
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In getting Moses, Chelsea did something in terms of shoring up the lack of depth at the striker spot, but Moses has played more as a winger so the club is still reportedly looking at getting another pure striker.
A guy it has been looking at all summer is Napoli’s Edinson Cavani, a Uruguayan national who scored an impressive 23 goals for the Azzurri in Italy’s Serie A last season.
Reports indicate that Chelsea has offered £35 million for the 25-year-old striker, who could definitely push Torres for the starting spot. The club will reportedly hold talks with Napoli this coming Friday when management is in Monaco for the team’s Super Cup meeting with Atlético Madrid (Fox Soccer Channel, 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT).
Should the Blues somehow land Cavani, their striker options would then include Torres-Sturridge-Cavani-Moses and would put them closer in talent to defending league champions Manchester City who boast Sergio Agüero, Carlos Tévez, Mario Balotelli and Edin Džeko at the spot.
One psychological advantage Chelsea gains from landing Moses is bargaining power with Napoli and Porto (Hulk), who now know the Blues are under less pressure to sign someone and who may able to sign either Cavani or Hulk for a better price than they have previously been bargaining for.
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More rumor than real substance for most of the summer, Chelsea’s pursuit of Porto’s Givanildo Hulk may actually be just beginning, according to a recent report.
According to Russian press website Lifesports, Russian Premier League’s Zenit St. Petersburg have had a €50 million bid accepted for the Brazilian winger from Porto, but Hulk has made it very clear he wants to play in either the EPL or La Liga.
With the signing of Moses and the possibility of landing Cavani still a reality, fighting for and possibly overpaying for the 26-year-old Hulk—who has scored 57 goals and had 36 assists in 91 games for Porto over the last two seasons—may seem like a stretch, and getting both Cavani and Hulk likely won’t be in the cards for a club that has already spent over £70m in transfer market this summer.
Still, Chelsea is expected to talk to Porto brass about Hulk in Monaco this coming week and should the Blues add either Cavani or Hulk, one would have to say the club will have easily have had one of the best summer transfer windows in history.
Should Chelsea’s attempts to land either Cavani or Hulk fail, reports say the club could then make a surprise move for forward Taison from Metalist Kharkiv in the Ukrainian Premier League.
The 24-year-old Brazilian, at £12 million, would be a much cheaper alternative than Cavani or Hulk and has been compared to Shakhtar Donetsk’s Willian by some scouts and can play on either flank or just behind the main striker.
Ironically, Hulk’s Porto are also looking at acquiring the services of Taison should the Portistas lose Hulk to either Chelsea or Zenit St. Petersburg.
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After losing Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka, Salomon Kalou in the last year and loaning out Romelu Lukaku to West Brom and possibly Gael Kakuta in the near future, Chelsea definitely knows it will have to make at least one more move for an attacker, so expect another striker or winger to enter the fray before Sept. 1.
For me, the best fit and fairest price would be Cavani, but time will tell how far and how much Chelsea may try to pay to land the much-hyped Hulk, who would certainly create some big headlines in west London and worldwide should he finally end up signing with the Blues.
Chelsea’s next league game isn’t until Sept. 15 at QPR so the club has a little time in which to try to assimilate some of this new talent into the flow of things.
Years from now we will probably fondly look back at this summer transfer window as the period when the Blues made a distinct transition from a bigger, more powerful team into a smaller, more finesse-oriented club.
And no matter what ends up happening in the long run, this transition is certainly a fun thing to witness happening first-hand.
Let me know below what you think of Chelsea’s recent signings and where you think they’ll fit in and if you would rather have Cavani or Hulk onboard.
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