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At this point, it seems inevitable that Bayer Leverkusen forward Andre Schurrle will be joining Chelsea over the summer in a transfer that could cost the Blues something in the range of £25 million. The question is, where exactly will Schurrle fit in on this Chelsea team?
But we'll start with the latest over the probable transfer of Schurrle, as Bayer Leverkusen's general manager, Wolfgang Holzhauser, revealed the following to Kicker magazine (via Richard Arrowsmith of the Mirror):
"Andre Schurrle has probably signed a pre-contract deal with Chelsea," Holzhauser is quoted as saying by Kicker magazine.
"It all depends on whether we let him go. We have received a concrete offer for a fee which we are considering.
"But the price alone is not decisive. We must also have alternatives, which we don't have yet."
It sounds as though Schurrle's move is more a question of when, not if. So let's break down how he might fit on Chelsea's roster.
At the moment, it feels like an odd fit, to be honest.
Schurrle traditionally plays as a left winger that often drifts into the center of the pitch. He can also play as a center forward or second striker, though playing him as the lone striker atop a five-midfielder formation might be taking a leap of faith for Chelsea, as he's never scored more than 15 goals in a season.
Plus, one of Schurrle's biggest strengths is his work rate and pace, which make him a devastating force pushing the counter-attack forward. It remains to be seen if he would be as strong holding up play for the midfield, though he would be an asset defensively when the team pressures the opposition high up the pitch.
Chelsea have plenty of options in attacking midfielder roles. Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Oscar and Victor Moses have all proven their worth, while Marko Marin was added last year but has yet to make a mark on the team.
Chelsea fans may see Schurrle as surplus, as there appear to be bigger needs at striker, holding midfielder and perhaps even a need to bolster the defense. While Demba Ba is likely sticking around, the Fernando Torres Disappointment Tour has continued playing its sad little tune this season.
One would think the team would be knocking down Radamel Falcao and Edinson Cavani's door.
But Schurrle is a talented player and Chelsea would be better with him on the roster. His combination of size and speed makes him a dangerous attacking force, and he has a dangerous shot from distance. Were he on the wing, he would provide something we haven't always seen from Hazard, Mata or Oscar—defensive responsibility.
And if he were to play as a second striker, he would certainly give the Blues another long-range threat.
The question is, can he provide an elite option as a long striker? Would Chelsea even consider playing him in such a role? And if the answer to both questions is no, is he really worth the cash when he comes as surplus?
Questions, so many questions. Schurrle is an elite talent and the sort of hard-working, versatile option that any team would crave. But with other needs to address if the team is to compete for a Premier League title next season, Schurrle may not be the wisest way for Chelsea to spend a boatload of cash.