IT WOULD be fair to say that our transfer dealings this summer have been slow, steady and sensible, as opposed to some of our rivals who appear to be acting like a lottery winner on their first day out shopping at Harrods.
It was clear that with the long expected departure of JT, the ongoing departure of Diego Costa, the sales of Ake, Chalobah and of course, Chelsea legend Juan Cuadrado, plus the further loaning out of players such as Loftus-Cheek and Kurt Zouma, that our squad would be a little thin on the ground.
While I can get my head around the end of the ‘Captain, Leader, Legend’ era, and also justify Conte’s decision with regards to our fiery Brazilian/Spanish/alien from another world striker, and although my heart shatters to see Cuadrado leave, I’m struggling to see the sense in sales and loans of players that a) came through our academy, b) actually seem quite good, and c) also seem to be players that fit the holes we now need to fill in our squad.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m over the moon with the signings we’ve made so far.
Morata is just the kind of striker we need and should fit our system better than Lukaku ever would have done, and for less than United paid for our former player too.
Bakayoko is a fine midfielder, and the pairing with Kante is something that no midfielder is going to enjoy facing either.
Rudiger also is a proven quantity in both a tough domestic league and the Champions League, and his strength and versatility across our back line will give Conte more options than we had last season.
Add to that the return of Christensen from two seasons in the Bundesliga, and our defensive grouping does look relatively well equipped for the season ahead.
Yet rumours persist about further signings with Saints Virgil van Dijk’s name never far from the back pages, but at a reported £70 million, do we need him? Wouldn’t developing Ake, or retaining Zouma have been the better option?
What of the midfield? Yes we’ve strengthened with a quality player in Bakayoko, but at what cost? No Loftus-Cheek, no Chalobah, no Cuadrado… and if Matic is off too as he’s believed to be, then again we’re looking relatively light in a midfield that may need to play an 10-15 games more than last season, and given the intensity we play with, that’s unsustainable.
I think Matic is a useful player, but if we sell him for the reported £40 million then who can we get in place for that price, and that’s better? Knows our system, young…. English. Oh yeah, we’ve just loaned him to Palace and sold another one to Watford.
I can’t think of any other transfer windows where the players I wish we’d signed, are the ones we’d let go… although there is one player I would be more than happy to see at Chelsea, and that’s Moussa Dembélé, and I don’t even need to explain myself on that one…
Make no mistake, Morata is a quality signing and one we’ve been after since returned to Real from Juventus, and he will offer us a lot this season but with a far more media friendly face and play than Costa did. Batshuayi showed at the end of last season, and this pre-season, that he’s an able deputy, but then we have Remy….
No disrespect to the player, he’s hardly set the world on fire and if he is to be our third choice striker, I, like I expect many others, would have preferred to have given Bertrand Traoré or Tammy Abraham a chance instead?
Conte though it seems, has other ideas. With a reported four more players in his wish list, and Roman allegedly willing to back it up with another £150 million, it seems none of us really know how this squad will look come August 31st.
As exciting as that is, I can’t help but feel a little sad for the departures of players many of us had high hopes for.
Oh…. and Cuadrado.
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