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Excited about Morata and Chelsea
I woke up with smile today and I’m not a morning person. Football transfer gossip and rumors, the billions bandied about are quite jading and reprehensible to be quite honest. So, I prefer to switch off during the summer and not be a fan for once. Get a bit of sun (not the paper), some good food and a few drinks, watch a few good films (Baby Driver was awesome. And Dunkirk is out, btw).
Yet, I woke up with a smile today because we signed Alvaro Morata last night. I do not remember being over the moon for a signing ( I think the last one was for Hazard). There has been a Morata overdose in the past couple of months and between Diego Costa leaving and other clubs bringing out the big bucks to sign forwards (Lacazette, Lukaku, Salah, Bernardo Silva), it was imperative that Chelsea sign a good striker.
By good striker, I mean someone who would plug the ’20-goal-hole’ left by Costa at the very least. And at the very best, it’d be someone who has proven himself at two top clubs, Juventus and Real Madrid, has played in two Champions League finals before the age of 24 and possesses all-round skills of a modern striker.
I read Matt Stead’s piece today and maybe he’s right in being a bit skeptical. Morata might be second choice for Chelsea, but he was always the first choice for Conte and for the fans (the latter, I can assure of). We tried to sign Morata last year too when Madrid bought him back, but it didn’t happen. Morata had expressed interest to work with Conte towards the end of the season and that was when I knew he would join us. It was real in my head then, now it’s real in real life.
Lukaku was Michael Eminalo’s first choice. It is understandable that the club and the sporting director would go for a safe choice: a guy who’s scored 20+ goals consistently in the premier league and knows it inside and out. Morata sounded more of a gamble. But Conte has backed Morata once again, as he once did at Juventus and it will bear fruits. Between Morata and Lukaku, I’d take Morata seven days a week.
No doubt, Lukaku is an excellent player: physical, strong, has a threatening presence and knack for goals, his finishing is top class. However, he hasn’t plied his trade in European waters yet, understandably, as Everton aren’t in the Champions League (no malice intended). Champions League is where true champions show what their made of. And Morata has done just that on more than one occasion.
While playing for Juventus, he scored twice against his former club in semis and even scored in the final they lost to Barca. Morata is way more agile and quick on the ball, he is a much better dribbler and his positioning sense is better. He is more suited to link-up play and fast counter attacks than Lukaku and he’s a monster in the air (don’t let the baby-face and mild demeanor fool you, he’s 6ft-3in and loves scoring with his head). He has an excellent attitude and work ethic, even Madrid praised him for the same in their goodbye presser. He has shown that he can play against and alongside the best in the world and hold his own.
At Chelsea, he now has the opportunity to establish himself as one of world’s finest strikers. He will have excellent support from the likes of Hazard, Willian, Fabregas and Pedro and he’ll have a manager who believes in him fully. I don’t think the United thing will bother him one bit. And it is hard to believe United was his first choice as it was his words that said he wanted to work with Conte and was sure he would one day. Last I checked, Conte is Chelsea boss. So united can have their Lukaku, thank you. I didn’t want him personally too because I don’t think his style of play gels with how we line up today and also it’s always a bad idea to hook up with your ex. But simply put, Morata is better.
Chelsea fans were a bit worried this summer as signings were not happening while other clubs were on a shopping spree. But Chelsea have once again shown shrewdness and smartness in the market. In fact, we have learnt a lot since the Torres debacle and have since avoided splurging on one player. If you consider by today’s standards, Hazard, Costa, Fabregas were all cheap buys in the region of 30-odd mil. Today, Kyle Walker is being sold for 50 and Swansea are asking 50 for Sigurdsson (no disrespect, but come on). Chelsea have not rushed to sign players in panic mode.
They’ve made a smart signing in Rudiger, a 24-yr-old German defender who’s made 50+ appearances for Roma and 17 senior squad appearances for his country. We got him for 34 million. If that isn’t a steal in this day and age, I don’t know what is. Bakayoko is again young and supremely talented, as he showed that last year with an excellent season for Monaco. He was a bit on the expensive side, but I’ve seen lesser players sold for more. His signing solidifies an already strong central midfield and gives us necessary squad depth going into the champions league.
The icing on the cake is of course Morata. I cannot be happy enough with him joining us and I’m sure he’ll exceed expectations. As someone who’s performed really well in Europe’s top competition against Europe’s top teams, Morata gives us the edge in champions league as well. We have fortified, the goal (caballero), defense, midfield and forward positions and I cannot wait for the new season to begin.
Time to switch off again for now, watch a few films and get a few drinks. I’ll definitely have one on account of the Spaniard joining us. Welcome to Chelsea, Alvaro. Cheers.
Manas (CFC), Mumbai
Morata vs Lukaku is a nonsense debate
Ten minutes after it is announced that Chelsea look like they will be signing Morata, we already have Chelsea and Man United fans arguing who got the better deal/player and who gazumped whom for their top target, etc. It’s tiring!
These comparisons about who is the better player are meaningless. It all depends on the system the managers are deploying! Case in point: There can be little doubt that Le Tessier [insert any other brilliant, but lazy player’s name here] was one of the finest players in the English game, but it’s probably safe to say that he would never have come anywhere near a starting position in a Conte, Mourinho, Pep, Pochettino or Klopp managed team.
My view is that both Chelsea and Manchester United got the ideal player to fit their system (Probably why their managers get truckloads of money for doing their jobs). Chelsea like to move forward fast, with plenty of tricky players in and around the box, doing quick 1-2’s, etc. in a very fluid attacking system. Morata fits that system much better than Lukaku would.
United under Mourinho, on the other hand, play a more, shall we say “aerial” system, moving the ball forward in a slower, more elaborate system with a higher focus on safety first and with many crosses and high balls into the penalty area for Zlatan (Now Lukaku), Pogba and Fellaini to either head on goal or knock down. Lukaku is clearly much better suited for this system than Morata would have been.
Horses for courses – both teams got the best player!
Letting Szczesny leave is a big mistake
Szczesny is not the only one that has regrets about how he left Arsenal. I believe that he would have stayed had he been given a chance to do so as Cech’s heir and I’m surprised that we didn’t take the opportunity to keep the best keeper on Series A.
I can’t be the only Arsenal fan that thinks this could be a big mistake. He is destined for great things at Juventus.
Adonis Stevenson, AFC
An idea to change the Champions League qualifiers
Can someone tell me why we got three rounds of qualifiers + a playoff for just 10 champions league spots no one who isn’t involved cares actual champions don’t qualify which annoys the purists and you still end up with a boring first round .
I guess I’m gripping about this because next year there are going to be guaranteed spots for the top 4 from the top 4 nations thereby alienating everyone further and reducing the chances of the likes of porto having a run.
Why not just have one playoff round increase the number of teams to 64 and add an additional knockout round?
The benefits are:
1. More pan european interest in the first round as more countries have representatives and less meaningless qualifiers
2 Less fatigue for players from smaller countries as they aren’t starting their seasons earlier for a futile qualification bid.
3 Qualification becomes easier so the big clubs qualify earlier and use their squads thereby resting players. Qualification also become less predictable as after the top 20 teams the quality of the teams in the draw may vary unlike now where you can predict 15 of the 16 teams that will make it most years
4 Purists get to see more actual champions in the main draw.More players will be discovered
5 An extra round of knockouts
Can anyone see any issues with this it can’t be worse than the way the first round is now although admittedly there could be a few more tonkings especially in the first few years and saturation won’t be an issue as they already plan to play matches at two different times from next season.
The exodus begins
Adetayo’s email inspired me to write in about something that seems to be happening this summer that isn’t getting much notice. A number of young English players are leaving England for a chance to play football in Europe.
I first pricked up my ears when I saw Chris Willock move from Arsenal to Benfica, but there seems to be quite a few more going on. Reece Oxford had moved on loan to Gladbach, joining young English player Mandela Egbo who moved their from Crystal Palace last summer. Arsenal’s Kaylen Hinds has also moved to Germany, joining Wolfsburg on a free. George Dobson has left West Ham for Sparta Rotterdam and Chelsea’s Mukhtar Ali has made a permanent move to Vitesse.
Aside from Reece Oxford, I’d never heard of any of these players prior to this summer so I don’t know how highly they were rated by their clubs, but from the news stories about the transfers its obvious that at least some of them were still wanted by their English clubs but moved on thinking their chances would be better overseas. Are we seeing the start of a new movement, something a lot of us have been hoping for for years? It may not be big name English players moving abroad, but young talented players are trying their luck and I for one am delighted. Maybe they’ll succeed, maybe they won’t, but this can only be a good thing for England’s future.
Why is nobody trying to sign Sami Khedira?
A realistic transfer thought: Where is Sami Khedira hiding and why is his name not in any significant rumor this summer?
75 million for Naby Keita… or 60 million for Dier… or 50 million for Matic (after having tremendously p***ed off Chelsea) or Fabinho… or an upgrade on/cover for Xhaka/Coquelin/Wanyama/Dembele… how the hell is Khedira going through this summer without being linked to the PL?
A full team of ex-Chelsea
So started looking at the fantasy football and started putting a team together… as a joke thought oh let me see how many Chelsea loan and ex-Chelsea players i can get into this team…
Answer: quite a lot: Cech, Bertrand, Ake, Huth, Loftus-Cheek, Salah, De Bruyne, Solanke, Sturridge, Abraham and one more.
Pretty sure another team won’t be able to make a whole team. Goes to show our loan and youth system is thriving (or not)…
T, CFC, London.
He’s just fine. Solid. Happy to help.
I have been watching a little of the USA team in this summers Gold Cup, CONCACAF’s answer to intra-fed footy, and was pleasantly surprised to see Lichaj representing the states again. As a yank and former college (Div. III don’t get too excited) player around the same age, I followed Lichaj’s career, through his move to Aston Villa and then lost him amidst the loans out.
My question to Forest supporters and the 365 towers, how is Eric Lichaj as a player for you in the Championship? I know he’s made quite a few appearances, but that’s about it. I’m genuinely curious.
Thanks so much for the input,
Patrick, Colorado, (happily anticipating Lacazette and Ozil linking up)