The august 31st deadline has come and gone, the premier league has again broken its transfer spend record with a combined 1.4 Billion spent. Chelsea came into the summer in a strong position having just been crowned champions, excitement was high among fans as ex-Chelsea man Ruud Gullit, went on record proclaiming whispers of a grand plan at Chelsea for the summer. So did the summer live up to expectations ?
Alvaro Morata 55.8m + add ons
The signing of Alvaro Morata is an interesting one, considering the summer began with rumours of a move to the red half of Manchester. A powerful forward blessed with technical ability Morata impressed from the bench scoring 15 league goals for Real Madrid last season. The spaniard represents a good signing for Chelsea, but it remains to be seen whether he can carry the goal scoring burden for a top team. With 6 premier league goals and 2 assists in 7 games he’s not off to a bad start.
Antonio Rüdiger 31.5M
The German international centre half enjoyed a fruitful summer winning the confederations cup. Signed from AS Roma for 31.5m, Rüdiger is a ball playing centre back with excellent distribution and a willingness to play out from the back, he can play at right back in a back four, as a right wing back, or any of the central back 3 positions. Rüdiger recovered from a shaky start against Tottenham to show he could be a good signing.
Willy Caballero Free
The argentine shot stopper was signed from Manchester City on a free contract, to provide cover for Thibaut Courtois, and that’s exactly what he will do. At 35 years old he brings experience, and barring injury to Courtois, expect to see him make the odd appearance in the cup games.
Davide Zappacosta 28M + add ons
The first of our deadline day signings Zappacosta adds depth to our right wing back position. He provides competition for Moses in the starting XI. An accomplised crosser, he was only second to Alex Sandro for crosses completed last season. Zappacosta will add pace and productivity to the Chelsea attack.
Danny Drinkwater 35M
The second of two deadline day signings, Drinkwater’s contribution to the Leicester City title winning team of two seasons ago, hasn’t been forgotten and rightly so. Joining Kanté at Chelsea the two ex-foxes reunite, and Drinkwater will be hoping to make the step up to a higher level as seamlessly as Ngolo Kanté. Drinkwater brings tenacity and and eye for a forward pass, aswell as much needed depth to Chelsea’s midfield.
Tiemoue Bakayoko 40M
The French powerhouse joins Chelsea on the back of an impressive breakout season. Bakayoko was part of an exuberant free scoring Monaco team, storming to the French league title. A very good ball carrier, calm and assertive under pressure Bakayoko brings much needed mobility to partner french national teammate Kanté in the middle.
Total Value of arrivals : £179.91m
Chelsea had the usual flurry of players leaving on loan, notably :
- Kasey Palmer – Huddersfield Town
- Lewis Baker – Middlesborough
- Tammy Abraham – Swansea
- Ruben Loftus Cheek – Crystal Palace
- Jeremie Boga – Birmingham City
- Kurt Zouma – Stoke
The were also major permanent transfers including
- Oscar ( January) – Shanghai SIPG
- Nemanja Matic – Manchester United
- Nathan Aké – Bournemouth
- Nathaniel Chalobah – Watford
- Diego Costa – Athletico Madrid
- John Terry – Aston Villa
Save for Tiemoue Bakayoko there is one disturbing thing about Chelsea’s transfer market. In the last three seasons Chelsea’s transfer business has all seemed to be reactionary, there seems to be no plan of action when coming into the summer, or the club consistently fails to secure moves for reported 1st choice targets. Whilst the transfer market is a complex and misunderstood entity to football fans, few teams have the consistent problems Chelsea have every summer.
The signing of Pedro was last minute and rushed we appeared to only move for him after Manchester United were close to agreeing a move, the same goes for the infamous signing of Willian In all of the last 3 summer deadline days we have had players moving to Chelsea. In my opinion any club which does business on deadline day can be accused of poor planning. In my opinion, deadline day moves for players should only be justifiable in certain instances, for example bringing a player in to cover for a long term injury. It is surprising for a club of Chelsea’s stature to be signing players consistently on deadline day.
There are many who proclaim our board as one of the most well run and successful in the premier league. Winning 2 titles in 3 years as well as Chelsea’s remarkable abillity to sell players for far above their market value, backs up that claim, however the fact that Chelsea spent almost spent 200m and didn’t upgrade anywhere across the pitch is disturbing, coupled with the fact they let promising youth players leave the club permanently and on loan despite Chelsea going into the season with a thin squad, and the addition of Champions League football. For the Community Shield it is hard to believe Chelsea had 2 fit senior midfielders. These are just examples of poor planning and execution. Many fans struggled to understand the departure of Nemanja Matic, and many more looked at the excellent performances of Loftus Cheek at Palace, and wondered why he wasn’t given more of a chance in our already thin midfield. Add this to the Diego Costa fiasco and its clear not all areas of Chelsea are in sync.
The argument can be made that Chelsea haven’t pushed on from that first premier league title of the José era. When a club becomes a new power in its respective league, we expect them to match the biggest clubs in the league and then work towards dominance of the league. Im not posturing that Chelsea should win the league every year especially with the injection of TV money into the league, nonetheless every year after a dominant title winning season the blues enter the new season not even among the discussion for title favourites.
It seems there is a failure to identify targets that not only are willing to come to the club but are at clubs willing to sell. Every year we pursue a target for the entirety of the summer only for us to admit defeat in the final weeks of august. Think John Stones, Kalidou Koulibaly and most recently Alex Sandro. I admit I am not privy to the happenings behind the scene but the evidence is there for all to see. Conte’s proclaimed falling out with the board, and the uncertainty that dogged Chelsea coming into the season couldn’t have been beneficial to the team, and drew parallels to the beginning of the disastrous 2015/16 season. Should Chelsea wish to progress and join the European elite there must be a change.