Just like most summers, Chelsea will have to make new signings again. The need to get new signings this time stems from the fact that Chelsea need to make the team significantly strong to push for honours next season.
Chelsea have been in a rebuilding mode since last summer. Jose Mourinho was brought in specifically to create a team that will last the club for another decade at least. Mourinho did that in his first stint. Even though success then was almost instantaneous, Mourinho’s blueprint pushed Chelsea towards more trophies even after he left in 2007. This time things are a little bit different.
It’s a new era with new approach to everything. Big clubs make targeted signings now unlike before when a club can just buy because the financial ability is there. Chelsea have been rebuilding and resetting the team gradually. The rebuilding has seen major players leave. Players like Juan Mata, Kevin De Bruyne and recently Ashley Cole and David Luiz have been shown the way out because they don’t fit into scheme of things at Stamford Bridge any more.
The Chelsea squad that competed in the just concluded season gained a lot – especially the young players that joined either at the start of the season or during the season. Slowly the fairly young team learnt the way things are done and almost nicked one or two trophies along the way. The evolution has been great. To take it a step further, to a stage where the team can rub shoulders with teams like Manchester City – the team has to be strengthened. This means addition of new players to affected areas.
The areas affected either by recent departures or shortage of quality players are the left back position, the midfield [especially the pivot] and finally the striking position. It is imperative that Chelsea get the right players – players that will fit into the philosophy and system of the manager. Below are a few suggestions of players that fit that description.
Ashley Cole’s departure is definitely not the major reason why Chelsea must get a new left back. This has been obvious since last season. With signs of Ashley Cole’s seemingly decline, Cesar Azpilicueta made the position his own in the just concluded season.
Azpilicueta was truly a revelation in that position last season but at the end of the day he is not a left back and should return to his normal position. Players that Chelsea can sign in the left back position are Southampton’s Luke Shaw and Sevilla’s Alberto Moreno.
Luke Shaw perfected his performances in the just concluded season as compared with other seasons. He was so consistent and spectacular that he kept the great Ashley Cole out of the world cup squad.
Shaw will probably cost Chelsea more than the other fullbacks under consideration owing to the fact that he is English and homegrown. A self-confessed Chelsea fan, Shaw will be perfect for Chelsea. It will be like signing a young Ashley Cole. Just 18-years-old, It won’t be a surprise if Shaw becomes one of the best and most consistent players in the years to come.
Statistics [Premier League]
Matches Played: 35, Minutes Played: 2992, Yellow Cards: 4, Interceptions: 37, Duels won: 232, Aerial Duels won: 61, Tackles: 72, Tackles won: 61, Clearances: 122, Blocked Shots: 4, Total Passes: 1402, Pass Accuracy: 79%, Total Crosses: 142, Successful crosses: 29, Fouls Conceded: 27, Assists: 1, Total Shots: 17, Shots on Target: 10
Alberto Moreno is another viable option. The young Spanish fullback has been very key and reliable to the cause of Sevilla. Moreno came through the youth ranks at Sevilla but didn’t become a regular until last year. Since then he has gradually made himself almost indispensible to Unai Emery’s side.
At 21, He is quite young with a great future ahead of him. While his performances have been fantastic, it also suggests that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg at the moment. His major strength lies in attack – not surprising for a fullback. He is comfortable with the ball at his feet, pacey and good reader of the game.
Defensively he’s not has good as Luke Shaw but he’s still young, that part of his game can be improved especially by a great tactician like Jose Mourinho. His value is rumored to be between £15m and £20m quite low to what the media are quoting for Shaw (£25m+).
Statistics [La Liga]
Matches Played: 29 [Sub: 2], Minutes Played: 2414, Yellow Cards: 5, Red Cards: 1, Interceptions: 72, Duels won: 141, Aerial Duels won: 26, Tackles: 52, Tackles won: 38, Clearances: 44, Blocked Shots: 8, Total Passes: 847, Pass Accuracy: 79%, Total Crosses: 44, Successful crosses: 14, Fouls Conceded: 30, Assists: 1, Total Shots: 14, Shots on Target: 4, Goals: 3.
Verdict: Moreno will cost less compared to Shaw. His defensive game can be improved. But shaw looks like the real deal. He is 3 years younger than Moreno and appears to be the whole package at such a young age. The fact that Shaw is homegrown makes it even better.
The next part of this article will feature the midfield and striking options Chelsea can sign this summer.
[Statistics via OneFootball]