Chelsea bought Marko Marin, Eden Hazard, Oscar, Cesar Azpilicueta, and Victor Moses last summer followed by Demba Ba in January but who has been their best signing overall?
Roberto Di Matteo’s purchases in last summer were certainly inspired. After winning the Champions League last season, the Blues manager was intent on changing the system and style that had been the residual of the Mourinho-era.
Marko Marin transferred from Werder Bremen for £6.5 million where he had been raved about for his exciting and exceptional potential. The attacking midfielder is technically gifted with the ball at his feet and has remarkable vision to pick out a pass.
Unfortunately for the 24-year-old Yugoslavian he has not made himself a favourite at Stamford Bridge. He has not been granted the opportunity to demonstrate his talent for one reason or another.
He has made just 16 appearances, 10 as a substitute, scored 2 goals and made 1 assist. He has signed a five-year contract with the Blues and lets hope over that period of time we get more of an opportunity to see what he can do.
Eden Hazard is perhaps just one of the reasons Marin doesn’t get much of a look in. The Belgian transferred from Lille for £32 million and was hailed as the one of the most promising talents of his generation.
Aged just 22 he is undoubtedly one of the continent’s finest attacking midfielders – he’s versatile, he tricky, he’s fast, he’s intelligent, and he’s determined. He is one of the most dangerous players in the league on the ball. His finishing is superb and his passing is simply exquisite. We knew it would be.
He’s made 50 appearances, scored 12 goals and made 21 assists – that is a pretty sensational tally. That is almost an assist every two game. That’s almost a goal every 4 games from midfield.
Any player that makes 50 appearances before a season is even finished deserves commendation but to play the way he has is simply stunning. If it wasn’t for a ball boy in Wales, he’d have had the perfect debut season. He’s been worth every penny of his price-tag, unlike some others I could mention.
Oscar transferred from Internacional for £25 million. The 21-year-old Brazilian is an exceptionally gifted footballer as one would expect given his price-tag and his nationality. Many Brazilian youngsters are dubbed ‘the next Kaka’ but this one might actually be as close as I’ve seen in a long time.
His flair and skill is ridiculous and his ability and tenacity to shoot from distance demonstrates his confidence and understanding of the game. His finishing is sublime and his work rate is of the highest level.
Where he has struggled is consistency which is the curse word of many a young player. Sometimes he goes missing in games but more often than not he is one of those players that is completely unpredictable. Within that he’s made 49 appearances, scored 9 goals and made 11 assists.
He was something of an unknown quantity when he arrived and he still is now, in many ways. One thing’s for sure, this boy is very very special.
Cesar Azpilicueta transferred from Marseille for £7 million. The 23-year-old Spaniard has struggled to really find consistency in his debut Premier League season.
There have been days when he’s looked the real day but they’ve few and far between. He’s often caught out of position or in possession – his crossing needs a few more hours on the training ground but at least he works hard.
He’s made 36 appearances and made 6 assists. He has, however, been part of a Chelsea back four that have kept 10 clean sheets with him on the field and that bodes very well indeed for the young man.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way but as things stand, there is plenty of room for improvement.
Victor Moses transferred from Wigan for £9 million. The 22-year-old Nigerian was already a rising star in the Premier League.
He started off a little overwhelmed at Chelsea but, once he settled into his surroundings, he seemed to transform into a super-sub or sorts.
He’s made 32 appearances, 12 as a substitute and scored 6 goals, making 4 assists. He’s been substituted off exactly the same amount of times, interestingly.
He has spent much of this season lost in rotation but there have been games where he has come on to really liven things up. He works very hard when he gets his chance to impress the boss but unfortunately sometimes he tries too hard.
I think if he got a longer run in the team, he might develop more confidence and his football would be more self-assured as it was at Wigan. He just needs a little bit of time, perhaps.
Demba Ba transferred from Newcastle in January for £7.5 million and hit the ground running immediately. However, after being regarded as one of the most dangerous strikers in the land on Tyneside, he lost his edge a little bit recently.
In 14 appearances so far he’s scored 4 goals and made just 1 assist. That is not what Chelsea drafted him in for. They already have a striker who sometimes scores goals; they wanted a striker who always scores goals.
Perhaps it’s the manager perhaps it’s the move but his overall contribution this season has been disappointing for Chelsea. I’m not faulting his effort or his hunger but he was in January one of the top scorers in the league for the Magpies.
Chelsea bought, albeit at cut-price, a top scorer and they’ve seen only glimmers of him since.
Winner: Eden Hazard
image: © Ben Sutherland