Chelsea Transfer Window Review

All the in’s and out’s and loans!

Incomings – 

Marcus Bettinelli

Bettinelli comes in as the 3rd choice goalkeeper. Appearances will be few and far between if everyone stays fit but he is a welcome addition and all he needs to do is train well and stay fit. 

Romelu Lukaku

Lukaku was the big name in this window and he was much needed. A top tier striker who will get you 20 odd goals per season is what Chelsea were lacking. A dominant performance against Arsenal on his debut in which he got his first goal. A very good outing against Liverpool where he probably could have got a couple of goals as well. The ability to bring in other players has vastly improved and it is turning out to be a great signing.

Saul Niguez (Loan)

Saul comes in from Atletico Madrid, as a highly rated midfielder who has just been going through some poor form recently. Change of scenery and hopefully a return to form for the Spaniard. Chelsea needed a 4th midfielder with Kante’s persistent injuries and Saul popped up as the perfect replacement for the season. All options open for next season and if Saul impresses we can keep him for a reasonable fee as well. Good signing. 

Outgoings

Olivier Giroud

Giroud headed to AC Milan and has already got two goals to his name in Serie A. Giroud has always deserved regular football and he still has much to offer even though he is in his 30’s. He left Chelsea as a hero and he’s another ex Arsenal player who made it at Chelsea.

Fikayo Tomori

Tomori was loaned out to AC Milan in January and Milan decided to use that option to buy on the defender. Tomori is already a starter at Milan and he is doing well. 

Victor Moses

Premier League winner Moses also left on a permanent this summer and joined Spartak Moscow. A good transfer for him and he’s playing regularly. 

Marc Guehi

The highly rated young defender came back from a successful loan at Swansea but decided that the line to make it as a defender at Chelsea was a lengthy one. Chelsea wanted to keep him but he decided to forge his own path and Chelsea got good money for him as he sealed a move to Crystal Palace. At Palace he has already started all 3 games and that’s what he wanted. Chelsea have a first refusal on Guehi so there is a gate open for a possible return one day.

Tammy Abraham

With Lukaku coming in Tammy was always going to head out and after not having played much over the last 6 months it was inevitable. Tammy seemed to want to stay in London and preferred a move to Arsenal but the Gunners never came in for him. Roma and Mourinho showed an interest and convinced him to join the Italian team. Tammy has already had a good start to life in Rome and hopefully he can continue to grow and develop. There is a buy back option in Tammy’s contract so maybe he does return one day but for now hopefully he dominates Serie A.

Davide Zappacosta

Zappacosta also sealed a permanent move away from the club as he joins Atalanta. A top team in Serie A and a top move for him. Zappa will always be remembered for that goal against Qarabag and as a player who always gave it his all for the club.

Kurt Zouma

With Chalobah coming in and Kounde having looked close Chelsea needed to sell a defender and Kurt Zouma was that one. This is probably the sale that hurt me the most because Zouma is such a likeable player and he just gives it his all. Zouma has been through a big journey at Chelsea and won mostly all there was to win as a player at the club. Zouma moved to West Ham which is a good move for him and he will be in Europe as well.

Ike Ugbo

Ugbo scored a pre-season goal and sealed a move to Genk this summer. Ugbo has been doing well in recent seasons and should have a good career ahead.

Marco van Ginkel

van Ginkel was one of those players who was just unlucky for the entirety of his time at the club. An injury when he joined under Mourinho in 2013 and then an injury laden career since. Multiple loans that didn’t pan out initially. There was a brilliant season at PSV where he captained the club and won the title but another injury meant that the move was not made permanent. Finally though after recovering from yet another injury he has returned to PSV and has been playing and doing well. Happy for him.

Danilo Pantic

Pantic has joined a club where he found success on loan previously in Partizan Belgrade. A good player that should have a good career.

Tino Livramento and Dynel Simeu

I stuck these two together because they both moved to Southampton this summer. Simeu is a young defender who similar to Guehi wanted to play. Not as promising probably and the fact that he hasn’t featured for Southampton yet shows that. Livramento on the other hand is the complete opposite. The right back/right wing back wanted regular game time and the young player of the season left to do that. Tino has already become a fan favourite at the Saints and has been showing why Chelsea hated to see him go. There is a buyback clause in his contract and I really hope Chelsea exercise it one day to bring him back to the Bridge. 

Lewis Bate

Bate is another highly rated Cobham grad who wanted game time and honestly as a midfielder and considering there are so many struggling to get minutes Bate made the right move to leave. Bate has joined Leeds United and has initially joined their U-23 team but he has been given a pathway to first team football. Top prospect, let’s see how it pans out. 

Marcel Lewis, Jonathan Russell, Jack Wakely, Pierre Ekwah Elimby, Izzy Brown, Luke McCormick, Myles Peart-Harris, Charlie Wiggett

The above players have also been released or sold by the club and all of them now have clubs to play for. 

Loans

Conor Gallagher

Gallagher has joined Crystal Palace on loan for the season and he has hit the ground running. Gallagher has been the club’s best player over the last two games after having not been allowed to play against Chelsea in the opening game. Palace have scored two goals and both of those goals have been scored by Gallagher. It should be a very good year for him and I do see him joining the team next season. 

Armando Broja

The young striker sealed a loan move to Southampton for the season after having impressed in pre-season. Broja hasn’t started in the Premier League yet but he has scored a goal in the Carabao Cup and looks good. The starts should come and I see him coming back next season and maybe getting a back up role to Lukaku. 

Billy Gilmour

Gilmour was the first one out on loan having sealed a move to Norwich under Farke who Tuchel knows. Gilmour has been a mainstay from day one in the team and should get that 38 game season under his belt which is key for him. Another one who is primed to come in at Chelsea.

Nathan Baxter

Baxter the goalkeeper has joined Hull City on loan as he continues to get better and better loans. Baxter hasn’t started for Hull in the Championship yet but has played a Carabao Cup game. 

Juan Castillo

Castillo has joined Birmingham City, the left back has played 2 full games in the Carabao Cup and has featured off the bench in the Championship. 

Levi Colwill

This is the player that is probably primed to make it at Chelsea as we speak. Colwill signed a long term contract and joined Huddersfield on loan. The centre back is dominant and he has hit the ground running on his loan. The 18 year old has started every single game and has a game winning goal to his name. A big season ahead for him. 

Dujon Sterling

Sterling looked like he might stay at Chelsea and probably could have but he has signed a contract and been loaned out to Blackpool. Chalobah has shown that anyone can return and stay and the key for Sterling is to be a regular for Blackpool this season. 

Danny Drinkwater, Baba Rahman

The midfielder and left back have joined Reading on loan and for them they will want to play every single game this season.

Jake Clarke-Salter, Ian Maatsen

Both players have joined Coventry City on loan for the season. Maatsen has been starting regularly for Coventry while Clarke-Salter has also begun to feature more consistently. 

Jamie Cumming

The goalkeeper has left on loan for Gillingham this season. Cumming has started every single game so far.

Henry Lawrence

Lawrence has joined Wimbledon on loan for the season. Lawrence as a right back has also been playing regularly for Wimbledon.

Emerson

Emerson sealed a loan move to Lyon for the season. It has been long overdue and he needs to play regularly at this point in his career. A good loan and he has already started a couple of games. 

Michy Batshuayi

Michy’s loan journey continues with a move to Besiktas for the season. Michy should get plenty of game time for a good club in Turkey along with European football.

Tiemoue Bakayoko

Bakayoko has signed a 3 year contract and sealed a 2 year loan to AC Milan with an obligation to buy. A top move by Marina and hopefully Bakayoko can kick on at Milan like he has done previously. 

Matt Miazga

Miazga got a loan to Alaves in La Liga for the season. 

Kenedy

Kenedy has got a loan to Flamengo for the season.

Karlo Ziger

The goalkeeper has got a loan at Slovenian club Rudar Velenje.

Thierno Ballo

Ballo has joined Rapid Vienna on loan.

Ethan Ampadu

Ampadu was being kept on standby incase Chelsea did not seal the transfer of Saul but with that happening a move to Venezia in Serie A was sealed for Ampadu. Not the best of clubs in terms of ambition but they are a trendy one. Newly promoted with a fight to prove people wrong and Venice is a great city. Ampadu should provide them with a leader and I think it could be a good loan for him. 

Tino Anjorin

Anjorin should have stuck around but with our attackers and midfield packed at the moment Chelsea decided to loan him out. Anjorin has got his first loan at Lokomotiv Moscow and they have an option to buy him as well. Chelsea also have buy back clause in place if Lokomotiv decide to exercise the option. Anjorin is going to be great success and hopefully he does make it at Chelsea. 

A lot of deals and Barkley along with Sarr are still without clubs. Loan deals could happen for them.

Saul Signs For Chelsea On Loan

A season long loan with an option to buy!

As deadline day began Chelsea had to objectives to complete. One objective though began to take precedence over the other in the week leading up to deadline day. Kante’s injury at Liverpool meant that we were down to two midfielders again and needed another one. Kounde was the other target although Sevilla broke a verbal agreement on a fee and decided to raise the price and Chelsea decided to not match it. With that the midfield target took centre stage.

The long term target has always been Declan Rice but West Ham slapped a 100 million fee on him no club was going to pay that this summer. Next up was Tchouameni but Chelsea had reservations on whether the 21 year old was ready for the Premier League and so we decided to avoid him. Saul then became available and it was a rollercoaster ride of a final day for him. 

Going into the 31st of August many reputed journalists had said that Saul would probably be staying at Atletico. Chelsea kept a channel open though and around midday news broke that talks had begun again. The negotiations started and Saul’s insistence to move to London meant that Chelsea could get a deal with Atletico. Atletico would go on to use the free wages on getting Griezmann back. Two minutes before the deadline Saul signed the contract and became a Chelsea player. Chelsea are paying 5 million Euros as the loan fee with an option to buy for around 40 million pounds. It is a very good deal for a 26 year old midfielder who 2 years ago was one of the best midfielders in Europe.

Saul’s career over the last two seasons had left him frustrated in Madrid. Simeone had begun to play Saul in various positions and while the player pulled a shift it impacted his form and saw him eventually drop out of contention. Saul is a combative midfielder who can defend but also progress the ball. Long range passing might not be his strong suit but he likes to play out from the midfield and also likes arriving late in the box. Saul is a perfect addition to the midfield and I think he might be able to allow Chelsea to play with a 2-3-1 pivot if Tuchel wants to. I will write more on what Saul can bring to Chelsea and what he could potentially do better than Kante, Kovacic, and Jorginho. 

A top signing, welcome to Chelsea!!!

Tammy Abraham signs for AS Roma

Tammy leaves the club on a permanent. 

Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham signed for AS Roma on Tuesday in what is a permanent deal for around 40 million Euros. Chelsea have inserted a buy back clause for around 80 million Euros that comes into play in the summer of 2023. It was an emotional farewell by the club with Marina herself making a statement that Tammy would always be welcomed back with open arms. Tammy himself posted a video and a message wishing the team good luck and cheering them to win more trophies.

Tammy Abraham joined the club as a child and rose through the ranks. Tammy’s first loan was at Bristol City in the 16/17 season during which he made 48 appearances for the club scoring 26 goals in the process. 17/18 saw Tammy get a loan in the Premier League with Swansea during which he made 39 appearances scoring 8 and assisting 5. It wasn’t the best of loans but Swansea had several problems in their team that season and no service. The 18/19 season saw a return on loan to the Championship but this time with Villa. Tammy made 42 appearances for the club scoring 26 goals and assisting 3 as Villa were promoted to the Premier League. 

19/20 was a great summer for several Chelsea loanees with the transfer ban and Lampard’s arrival creating a nexus event in which quite a few youngsters came in. Tammy was one of them and took up the no 9 shirt at Chelsea. Tammy went on to make 47 appearances for the club with 18 goals and 6 assists. It was a blistering start to the season but Tammy tailed off during the 2nd half as Giroud got minutes. 15 goals in the league was not a bad return though and he broke the no 9 shirt curse. 20/21 saw Tammy make 32 appearances for the club with 12 goals and 6 assists. It was a tough season. The first 6 months saw plenty of appearances but only 6 goals. The 2nd half under Tuchel saw little to no appearances with Tuchel putting faith in others. The reduced game time along with a deadlock in discussions over a contract extension meant that a sale was going to happen. 

Marina went to work and wove an elaborate transfer circle with Chelsea getting Lukaku from Inter, Inter getting Dzeko from Roma, and Roma getting Tammy from Chelsea. Tammy was Roma’s primary target though but it’s good how things worked out. Tammy has great potential and he is a goalscorer who I think could do very well under Mourinho and in the Serie A. The league is also physical which should help him develop on that front. For me what is missing from Tammy’s game is the consistency. Too many a times over the last two seasons Tammy was either in front or behind the final ball. The finishing wasn’t great as well. The goals and stats do show a player just needing to refine his game.

It’s safe to say Chelsea fans will keep an eye on Roma along with Milan now and it will be a interesting to see how Tammy develops over the next few seasons. A total professional and character in the dressing room it will be a loss but our replacement is a leader in ways that Tammy was not. Tammy can take encouragement from Lukaku and hopefully develops along the same lines.

Good luck, Tammy Abraham, once a blue always a blue!

Romelu Lukaku Signs for Chelsea

He’s back! Big Rom is back!

Chelsea’s striker chase has been well documented this summer with the main target at least according to the papers being Dortmund’s Erling Haaland. My personal opinion was that Haaland was not the right choice and that the right choice was playing at Inter and for Belgium in the Euro’s in the form of Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku of course nipped the bud of any transfer to Chelsea when he said that he was happy to stay at Inter and for around a month all hope died down as the Euro’s began. Post Euro’s Lukaku again reiterated that he was happy to stay at Inter as he returned to training. It looked like Chelsea would look elsewhere but behind the scenes Chelsea were resilient and once a small crack opened up in the form of financial instability at Inter, Marina Granovskaia barged through and got the deal for Lukaku done. Last week the deal was passed through and last night Lukaku’s return was officially announced by Chelsea.

Lukaku began his career at Anderlecht and began to break into news in the 10/11 season. That season he made 50 appearances for Anderlecht contributing 27 goals and assists. That caught Chelsea’s attention and the clubs signed him in 11/12. As with young Chelsea players at that time it was very hard for them to break into the squad. Lukaku played some reserve games but apart from that not much. Big Rom did manage to get 7 goals in 9 reserve league games. The young Lukaku was left frustrated and he wanted a loan which he got in the 12/13 season to West Brom. At the club he made 38 appearances with 24 goals and assists. I still remember his final day hat trick against Manchester United which ended 3-3 and also happened to be Ferguson’s last game as manager. Lukaku thought he had done enough but Mourinho came in and bought Eto’o which dampened Rom’s spirits and after missing the penalty in the Super Cup he decided to leave on loan again to Everton. At Everton in the 12/13 season he made 36 appearances with 24 goals and assists. Chelsea then bought Costa and Lukaku sealed a permanent transfer to Everton. In 14/15 Big Rom made 48 appearances with 27 goals and assists. 15/16 was a big season for Big Rom as he made 46 appearances for Everton with 32 goals and assists. 16/17 Lukaku reached even higher heights making 39 appearances for Everton with 33 goals and assists. 

Then comes the summer of 2017. I remember it like it was yesterday. Conte wanted a top striker to replace Diego Costa and the main target was Romelu Lukaku. It all looked like it was done. Chelsea were so close to getting him back but at the time Lukaku was represented by Mino Raiola and Raiola got a late offer from Manchester United who were ready to pay Raiola’s exorbitant agent fees. Lukaku in LA released a video with Pogba and the transfer was done as Chelsea went for Morata. It’s safe to say neither transfer worked out but Lukaku still was decent. Lukaku made 51 appearances for Mourinho at United in 17/18 with 36 goals and assists. The 18/19 season was tough for Lukaku as he suffered weight issues and along with the pressure at United he had a poor season. Lukaku made 45 appearances with 19 goals and assists. Lukaku needed a change and once again Antonio Conte came calling this time as Inter manager. 

At Inter Conte made Lukaku a machine. The Belgian got a new diet he got fit, he learned how to play with his back to goal and became a proper Conte forward. In 19/20 Lukaku made 51 appearances for Inter with 40 goals and assists. In 20/21 as Inter won the Scudetto Lukaku made 44 appearances for Inter with 40 goals and assists. Lukaku’s full potential was unlocked by Conte and it looked like he had found a consistency in life. A club that has Conte as manager is never far from mischief though but this time Conte was not at fault. This summer it came out that Inter were suffering financially and Conte decided he didn’t want to play second fiddle so he left. Hakimi then also left for PSG. With Inter still needing cash Chelsea got the deal done and signed Lukaku for 97.5 million pounds. Chelsea’s most expensive signing ever and he will also be the club’s highest earner. 

Chelsea have been crying out for a proper centre forward since Costa left. A bully in the box someone who can terrorise defenders and we finally have that in Lukaku. At 28 years old Lukaku is at the perfect age to see out his career at Chelsea and win trophies doing it at the club he loves. Lukaku will be a dead cert to start up front but the headache Tuchel will have is to figure out who starts up front with him. I think that will depend on the opposition. For low blocks I expect players like Mount and Havertz to start while for teams with a high line you can expect Werner to have great joy playing alongside Lukaku. At Inter Conte made Lukaku into a complete striker he got him involved in the play and the Belgian has become a creator as well as a goal scorer. The fact that Lukaku had the most goal creation chances in Serie A last season is no small feat. 

Tuchel has got his man and Chelsea have a world class striker. As fans we wanted Tuchel backed and he has been backed although the summer signings might not be done yet. It still remains to be seen whether Lukaku can feature against Palace but the Belgian is all but certain to play against Arsenal next weekend which should be very fun. A good time to be a Chelsea fan it really feels like it did in that summer of 2014 although Chelsea are arguably a better team. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Kai Havertz Signs For Chelsea!

IT’S FINALLY DONE!!

70 something days ago a person on twitter wrote “Announce Havertz” and one Kai Havertz liked the tweet throwing all Chelsea fans into frenzy. Chelsea had signed Ziyech and Werner so was Kai Havertz still a possible deal? It’s been a long journey since that fateful day and after many rumours, agreements, delays and distances being reduced Chelsea announced Kai Havertz at 12:30 am IST or 8:00 pm UK on Friday. The 21 year old German midfielder signs for Chelsea from Bayer Leverkusen where he has spent a decade of his career up till now.

Havertz joined the Leverkusen academy Kurtekotten at the age of 11 and has worked his way up into the first team since then. Kai first broke into the Leverkusen 1st team in the 16/17 season when he was 17 and he managed to play 20 games getting 4 goals and 6 assists. 17/18 Havertz played 35 games for the club getting 4 goals and 9 assists. The 18/19 season really saw him step into another level as he played 42 games in all comps scoring 20 goals and getting 7 assists. Last season Kai Havertz continued that trend with 45 appearances in all comps getting 18 goals and 9 assists. Havertz has broken quite a few German scoring records in his early years and is for sure one of the brightest prospects in world football.

The transfer itself felt like it was stuck at 90% for a few weeks now but this week saw a breakthrough. Havertz was allowed to leave the German national team camp in Stuttgart to seal the deal on Friday morning. The British press say that the deal is around 71.4 million pounds with add-ons and so Havertz does not become Chelsea’s record signing. Havertz does though become the most expensive German transfer ever. Havertz first went to Stamford Bridge where he signed the deal and finished all the paper work along with an interview in which he spoke near perfect English. The midfielder also met Lampard who was around for the signing of the contract etc. Kai then went to Cobham and will probably be involved in training as Chelsea get ready for next Monday’s game.

We will delve into where Kai fits in etc in our season preview but without a doubt this is our most hyped signing since Eden Hazard. Pulisic has impressed everyone but he wasn’t necessarily chased by the likes or Real Madrid and Bayern Munich while the likes of Hazard and Havertz were. Havertz is a statement signing and it is an exciting time to be a Chelsea fan. Signing no 6 and maybe a couple more to come?!.

Thiago Silva Signs For Chelsea On A Free

Ohhh Thiago Silva!!

Chelsea announced their 5th signing of the transfer window on Friday as veteran Brazilian centre back Thiago Silva joined the Blues after seeing out his contract at Paris Saint Germain. The now 36 year old centre back signed to Chelsea on a 1 year contract with a choice to extend it to 2. Thiago Silva is still one of the best defenders in the world and only a week ago showed it in the Champions League final as PSG sadly lost to Bayern. 

Thiago Silva first rose to prominence at AC Milan when he joined the club in 2009 having had a successful time at Brazilian club Fluminense. Silva would go on to win a Serie A title in his time which would attract interest from the newly rich PSG. PSG signed Silva in 2012 as he made 204 appearances for the club during his time in the French capital. The Brazilian was seeking a new challenge and so refused the chance to extend his contract and decided to test himself in the Premier League as he feels he is still in great physical condition. 

Thiago Silva will be an important part of Chelsea’s squad for next season as he provides much needed leadership and experience to our backline. Our defence wasn’t particularly bad last season but it lacked was leadership as it was very disorganised at times. Playing alongside Silva the likes of Reece, Zouma, Tomori, Christensen, Chilwell etc will all develop their game and learn from him while the goalkeeper whether Kepa or otherwise will also gain confidence. Silva might not have the pace these days but he is still a great reader of the game and so finds himself in the best positions to make tackles etc. Aerially he is dominant and he defends with his whole body something that we have missed since Cahill left. 

Thiago Silva is now under quarantine in London as per reports and will only be available to start training with the squad from the 11th of September. In the meantime I’m sure individual work will be done and he will probably be learning a bit of English to add to his Portuguese and French. I can’t wait to see this legend in Chelsea blue for next season a world class addition to the team! COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Malang Sarr Signs For Chelsea On A Free

Highly rated 21 year old centre back from France joins on a free. 

Chelsea’s transfer palooza summer 2020 rolled on with 21 year old French centre back being announced as our 4th signing of the season. Sarr sings on a 5 year contract and will be heading straight out on loan for the coming season. 

Sarr broke out on the scene in the 16/17 season as he made 32 appearances for his home town club Nice. Sarr gradually kept on getting more and more game time and eventually made 38 appearances for Nice in the 18/19 season. The 19/20 season was slightly poor for Sarr as he was forced to play out of position and Covid impacted the league as a whole. 119 appearances at the age of 21 is not a joking matter and Sarr has shown himself to be a good passer of the ball and adept with his left foot as well. 

Malang Sarr is highly rated in France, a left footed centre back is a highly sought after player in current windows and while Sarr will be heading out on loan the coming seasons might prove this transfer to be an absolute steal for Chelsea. It is rumoured that Sarr is sought after by many Bundesliga teams and Germany does help many defenders improve their game. Sarr will be one to keep an eye on for sure in the coming season. Welcome to Chelsea and hopefully you have a brilliant loan season ahead. 

Chilwell Signs For Chelsea From Leicester

Let the fun begin!

After what felt like ages of rumours and small steps in the right direction Chelsea finally unveiled their 3rd signing of the summer on Wednesday. Ben Chilwell signed for Chelsea from Leicester City in what is a rumoured to be a 50 million deal as he becomes our new first choice left back at 23. Chelsea have needed a new left back for quite some time now after Alonso having performed poorly as he is mostly a wing back while Emerson never really cut it. Azpilicueta has deputised there but it was always a stop gap. Through all the rumours though Chelsea always seemed clear on who they wanted or at least Lampard did and that was Ben Chilwell. 

Now I have already written about my preferences for the left back position and Chilwell was not my first choice by a long shot. At the time the price was rumoured to be around 80 million and considering the amount there were better options in the market. Tagliafico, Reguilon, Telles, Sandro etc are all left backs who are available in the market this summer and all cheaper than 50 million. One can ask then why Chelsea went in for Chilwell. Chilwell broke onto the scene in the 16/17 season and has been Leicester’s first choice left back since. The 19/20 season was not the greatest as he started really well similar to the Leicester team as a whole but along with the team he also dropped off in the 2nd half of the season as well as getting injured. Chilwell made 33 appearances for Leicester in all comps last season getting 3 goals and 4 assists. 

The biggest positive that I can take form Chelsea signing Chilwell is that he is Lampard’s first choice for the left back position. Lampard wanted Chilwell over all the other options and Chelsea actually went and got him his player rather than going for the cheaper options. Lampard rates Chilwell, and so does Ashley Cole who would know a thing or two about what it takes to be a world class left-back. Chilwell was of course delighted to join the club and talked about how Frank Lampard convinced him about his role at Chelsea and the way he would fit into the system.

Chilwell statistically isn’t far off the likes of Trent or Robertson. Chilwell is great going forward but it is defensively where he needs to improve the most. The young Englishman will have his fair share of skeptics amongst Chelsea fans but it’s up to him to prove them wrong. Chilwell is currently recovering from a heel injury but should be back within 2 weeks but probably will miss the first 1-2 games of the season. Welcome Ben Chilwell to Chelsea Football Club and as I do for very signing I hope you make a positive impact for many years to come. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!

Willian and Pedro Leave Chelsea

End of an era…

Sunday night was a quiet one for news about players coming in to Chelsea but Pedro and Willian announced that they will be leaving the club. Pedro has been around for 5 seasons now while Willian has been around for 7 and the two have won many trophies at the club over that period of time. 

Pedro 

Pedro joined Chelsea in 15/16 from Barcelona after Chelsea had won the league the previous season. That season Chelsea finished 10th in the league as Pedro made 43 appearances for the club adding 9 goals and 3 assists in the process. 16/17 saw Pedro win the Premier League title with Conte and probably have his best season at the club, he made 43 appearances scoring 13 goals and adding 12 assists. 17/18 was another poor season from Chelsea’s point of view as we finished 5th in the league but we won the FA Cup as Pedro made 48 appearances but only managed 7 goals and 5 assists. 18/19 saw Sarri join the club and Pedro had a bit of a resurgence as he made 52 appearances for the club and scored 13 goals with 5 assists while adding the Europa League to his cabinet. This season Pedro didn’t feature much under Lampard only making 23 appearances for the club scoring 2 goals and getting 3 assists. Pedro dislocated his shoulder in his final appearance for the club against Arsenal in the FA Cup final. Pedro is one of the most decorated football players in world football having won every single trophy available to him as a player. I will remember Pedro fondly an extremely nice player who was professional throughout his time at the club. The Spaniards energy on the pitch was infectious and there was some brilliant moments throughout the seasons, whether he was tracking back and making tackles then carrying the ball forward or scoring left foot curlers. The legend now joins Roma and will want to add further trophies to his cabinet.

Willian

Willian joined the club in 13/14 as Mourinho returned to the club for his 2nd stint in charge. The Happy One gave Willian 42 appearances in his first season as he scored 4 goals and provided 7 assists in all competitions. The Brazilian won no trophies in his first season at club. 14/15 saw Chelsea win the league and the Carabao Cup under Mourinho as Willian made 49 appearances but only managed 4 goals and 5 assists for the club. 15/16 saw Mourinho sacked and Chelsea finish 10th but Willian had his 2nd best season with the club as he made 49 appearances for the club scoring 11 goals and providing 10 assists. 16/17 saw Willian win his 2nd Premier League title as he made 41 appearances scoring 12 goals and making 5 assists. Willian won the FA cup in 17/18 as he made 55 appearances for the club scoring 13 goals and providing 12 assists. This was the season though that I lost my respect for him after he blocked Conte off with footballs in his title winning post showcasing an extreme lack of professionalism. Sarri would boost Willian’s mood once again as he would make 56 appearances for the club in 18/19 scoring 8 goals and providing 14 assists as Chelsea went on to win the Europa League. This season Willian was a favourite under Lampard as he made 47 appearances for the club scoring 11 goals and providing 9 assists. All I know is that as a fan I found Willian extremely frustrating, the potential was clearly there but it only came in flashes. The Brazilian was lauded for his work rate and his ability to track back and defend etc but then he was nothing more than a glorified Ramires. Whenever Willian had the ball you knew he was just going to feint and then run down the flank. In the end Willian leaves the club as a blue, part of the successes of the last decade although its debatable how much he contributed to those titles. Willian is odds on to join Chelsea’s retirement home in London Arsenal, and hopefully he can provide that same head scratching frustration to Arsenal fans while consistently playing at the Emirates. 

Did Chelsea make a mistake buying Kepa? What are the alternatives going forward?

Kepa has never shown that he can cut it at the top…

All stats were taken from https://fbref.com/en/ which is a great sight for stats from various leagues around the world.  

I would like to start this by saying I this is purely an analysis, many players join big clubs and can’t cut it Chelsea should know when it comes to strikers that you can expect something and get the complete opposite. I have been a supporter of Kepa through much of the season but yesterday was an eye opener. I wouldn’t say Kepa was largely at fault for most of the goals but there was no urgency from him, he seemed like he was doing his best impression of the mannequin challenge. Most goalkeeper will still attempt to dive even if they will miss and the fact that he didn’t move at all was alarming. The corner towards the end where he was a virtual spectator was particularly alarming. I wanted to see why Kepa has been so poor, is it a defensive issue or did we just buy a goalkeeper who can’t save. 

Essentials – 

The essentials of any goalkeeper is that they have to know how to keep the ball out of the net as in save shots etc. Last season Kepa’s goals against per 90 was 1.08 4th best in the league. Though when it came to save percentage where the likes of Ederson, Alisson, and Lloris stayed in the top 3 Kepa plummeted to 15th in the table with a save percentage of .675. 117 shots on target out of which 78 were saved. 

The situation got no better for Kepa this season as the goals against per 90 went up to 1.42 which sits 12th in the table. That coupled with Kepa’s save percentage meant that he dropped even further in that category as he currently sits 20th with a save percentage of .545. Kepa has faced less shots this season 99 but only saved 55. 

I decided to see if Kepa’s showed any exceptional promise in his seasons at Bilbao and the answer I got was not really. In the 17/18 season Kepa was 11th in goals against per 90 with a rate of 1.43. Kepa was 13th in save percentage with a rate of .689 with a 135 shots on target and saving 96 of them. In context Oblak took 126 shots and saved a 106. Bilbao weren’t great that season finishing 16th in La Liga. 

In the 16/17 season Kepa really had his breakout season for Bilbao playing 23 games. Bilbao themselves finished in 7th in the table, which shows in Kepa’s goal against per 90 as he sits 4th in the table at 0.98. The save percentage though is what matters and Kepa came in 19th facing just 67 shots but saving only 45 with a percentage of .672.

What I understand from these stats is that Kepa while showing promise and being only 24 hasn’t ever performed well when it comes to the basics. The save percentage is poor when he faces several shots and when he faces fewer shots. The defence being poor does have an impact on a goalkeepers stats but whether Kepa faces more or less shots he still seems to have a poor save percentage. In my view Sarri needed a goalkeeper who was good with his feet and Kepa is that, if one looks at his passing statistics and overall play from the back he is up there with Alisson and Ederson. Although when it comes to actually making the saves he falls well short. The price tag gets thrown around but it’s not his fault that he cost that much, the release clause was put on him by Bilbao. It’s Chelsea who had no plan at the time and under pressure had to buy a goalkeeper. The fact remains that Chelsea clearly did no extensive scouting on him. 

Comparison to other goalkeepers –

Petr Cech

Cech never dropped below a .70 save percentage and we went through some tough seasons during the first half of the last decade. We won the league in 9/10 with Cech coming in 9th with a save percentage of .742 saving 69 of 93 shots. 10/11 was a better year for Cech as he came in 3rd with a save percentage of .777 saving 115 of 148 shots. Everyone remembers the 11/12 season and how crucial Cech was in our biggest achievement but Cech also did well overall sitting 7th with a percentage of .721 saving 101 of 140 shots. 12/13 saw the emergence of De Gea in the Premier League but Cech still through his weight around with a save percentage of .766 saving 116 of 154 shots and sitting 2nd. 13/14 was Cech’s final full season at Chelsea with Mourinho returning to the club and he played great once again having a save percentage of .767 sitting 2nd having saved 79 of a 103 shots. Cech is one of the greatest goalkeepers in Premier League history but that is what Kepa is having to compete it and currently he is no where near that level. Throughout that time Cech did have a more consistent and solid defence in front of him but the save is ultimately down to the goalkeeper.

Thibaut Courtois 

For Courtois I thought we should start with his loan spell at Atletico Madrid, he was loaned out to the Spanish side for 3 years beginning with the 11/12 season. The then 19 year old Courtois made 37 appearances for Atletico finishing 19th in save percentage having saved 94 of 135 shots. That season Atletico finished 5th in the league it also happened to be the season Mourinho won the La Liga title with a 100 points. Not bad for a debut season in a tough league. 12/13 saw Simeone in his 2nd season in charge as Atletico finished a respectable 3rd with Courtois rocketing to the top of the save percentage at .758 saving 91 of a 120 shots. 13/14 was Courtois final season loan at Atletico and they managed to win the title with Courtois having a save percentage of .750 making 72 saves from 96 shots sitting 3rd. Kepa would return to Chelsea the following season and under Mourinho he would win his first Premier League title with a save percentage of .709 making 73 saves from 103 shots this was also the 7th best save percentage. 15/16 was a calamitous season for Chelsea one in which we finished 10th but Courtois had a decent enough season with a save percentage of .688 making 64 saves from 93 shots which put him 9th in the ranking. Cech was still around at Arsenal as well reaching 2nd save percentage with .754. 16/17 was a title winning season as Courtois sat 7th in save percentage with .737 while Cech topped the table with .813 saving 113 of 150 shots. Courtois last season at Chelsea also coincided with a poor second season under Conte as Courtois managed a save percentage of .689 as he ranked 8th. 

Courtois consistently put in good performances although his final season at Chelsea did coincide with him having his legs open for some very poor goals. Still the promise was there since the Atletico days and this season at Real Madrid he has been the best goalkeeper in the league as they won the title although last season he was far from great and was being made fun off at after literally every game. Last season does seem like an outlier in the larger scheme of things for Courtois. 

Andre Onana

One goalkeeper heavily rumoured to be a potential replacement for Kepa if the Spaniard does leave this summer is Andre Onana from Ajax. Ajax have had some very good seasons recently and Onana has been crucial to their success both domestically and in Europe. 

Onana is the same age as Kepa both are 24 year olds and basically babies in terms of goalkeeping. Onana’s first season as the Ajax goalkeeper came in 16/17 as he finished 3rd in save percentages with a percentage of .784 making 68 saves from 88 shots. 17/18 saw a similar season where he again finished 3rd in the league in terms of save percentages with .769 making 98 saves from 130 shots. This season Onana only played 24 games before the lockdown in which he had a save percentage of .725. The Eredivise might not be the most competitive league but when it comes to the actual basic stat of saving goals it doesn’t really matter where you are playing. Onana has put up promising stats for the last four seasons and seems like a good option. Playing out from the back though would be something that Onana would need to improve in as sweeper keepers are always susceptible to a misplaced pass. 

Jan Oblak

Oblak is arguably the best goalkeeper in the world he plays for Atletico Madrid and has been their goalkeeper since the 15/16 season. Atletico have a pedigree of producing world class goalkeepers with De Gea being followed by Courtois and then Moya came in who didn’t really fill the Beglian’s void. Atletico went and got Oblak who has reached world class levels. 

Atletico are a solid defensive unit and Oblak wouldn’t really need to face many shots but his save percentages from pretty small numbers is outrageous. In his debut season he came in 1st with a save percentage of .818 making 81 saves from 99 shots. The following season in 16/17 Oblak came in 2nd with a .80 save percentages making 69 saves from 90 shots. 17/18 Oblak bounced back from dropping off as he came in 1st with a save percentage of .833 making 106 saves from 126 shots. 18/19 Oblak 1st again with a percentage of .821 with 103 saves from 123 shots. This season Atletico didn’t have the greatest starts and they clawed their way back into 3rd as Oblak finished 2nd behind Courtois with a save percentage of .771 making 82 saves from 105 shots. Oblak is the golden standard he has a 112 million Euro release clause but Chelsea have been rumoured to be interested in him. Oblak would bring the aura of confidence back into the Chelsea back line and that reliability would return as well. Oblak is still only 26 as well and that is still 4 years from when goalkeeper reach their peak. A premium to pay for the best in the world. 

A big of a deep dive on save percentages but I felt that is the biggest factor people hold against Kepa and so it might be interesting to look at. Kepa didn’t ask to be the world’s most expensive goalkeeper and Chelsea probably made a snap decision when buying him. Fact is that at 24 Kepa still has many years to go in terms of his career but do Chelsea have the time to keep faith him in? Probably not. Chelsea have a vision for the future but the fact that things have been so bad at the back this season might mean that Kepa could be moved on if some team puts faith him in. The potential is there and with a solid defence in front of him he could become a very good goalkeeper Chelsea though might not have that patience. The summer will be interesting, I hold nothing against Kepa I still think he had some great moments at Chelsea up till now and his tenure at the club has coincided with one of worst defences in our history, but he has not painted himself in great colours either.