Last summer, despite Roman Abramovich clearly being uncomfortable with Roberto Di Matteo being charge at Chelsea although if he had won the Champions League and the FA Cup, the Russian bankrolled a lavish spending spree that saw players like Eden Hazard and Oscar come to Stamford Bridge.
With Victor Moses also coming to the Blues for around £10million, it is fair to say that Cesar Azpilicueta’s £7million move from Marseille went by largely unnoticed. There was even slight confusion about what could be expected from the right back, given that Branislav Ivanovic had been one of the club’s most impressive performers in that position for several seasons.
However as the season as gone on, Azpilicueta has become an important part of Chelsea’s first team, with Ivanovic moving into the centre of defence. With John Terry struggling with injuries and then not trusted by Rafa Benitez to start every game at the back, the Serbian defender has formed a formidable partnership alongside David Luiz.
Whilst Ivanovic was hardly slack going forward, Azpilicueta has added more pace and dynamism to Chelsea’s attack, with the width he provides key to the team when their attacking midfielders cut inside. The 23 year old has also looked the part at the back, and Chelsea might well have found a player who can replicate Ashley Cole’s calm effectiveness at left back.
Chelsea have, for once, done this without spending a vast amount of money. Azpilicueta, at £7million, was still not a bargain of Michu’s standard, but considering that his age and how well he has started at Stamford Bridge, the Blues will almost certainly get their money’s worth.
While Hazard and Oscar, as tremendously exciting players, will continue to take much of the focus at Chelsea, Azpilicueta looks like an excellent piece of business for the Blues in a summer of transfers that could be key to the side for many years to come.
image: © Crystian Cruz