By, Navaneeth Ravichandran (Twitter: @navrav28)

It’s officially done, Alvaro Morata is now a Chelsea player. Although a transfer fee (club record 70 million pounds) with Real Madrid was officially reached last week, personal terms still had to be agreed upon. With that process now over, we can now proudly say Morata is a Chelsea player. My colleague, Lukonde Jr., penned an article on the transfer saga surrounding Morata (which you can find here). This article takes a closer look at the actual aspects of Morata’s game, and how exactly he benefits the blues.

Goals, Goals, and more Goals!

Morata is a proven, consistent scorer. He has played for two major European clubs, Juventus and his parent club Real Madrid, and he managed to find the back of the net on a regular basis despite irregular playing time. Last season was a particular achievement, as Morata scored 15 league goals, just second on Madrid behind Ronaldo, despite the fact that he only played 26 games, and only started 14 of them. As the following tweet shows, Morata can score with the best of the best.

All-Around Skill

Lukaku is a clinical finisher, Aubemeyang has incredible pace, Lewandowski is arguably the world’s best poacher; when it comes to strikers some of the world’s best have skills they are known for. It’s the first thing about their game that jumps out, and the first thing that opposing managers try to negate. With Morata, there is no single one skill that jumps out, because he can quite literally do it all. He can play the target man role, holding up the ball and battling in the air. He can play the through man, using his excellent movement and pace to get behind backlines. He rarely gets tired, even with his above average work rate. Morata is an extremely versatile striker, and at 24 years old will likely only get better.

Winning Mentality

Playing the game of football at the highest level isn’t just about having the physical skill to do it. Do be a winner, you have to have a winning mentality. When the game is late, and it’s crunch time, players must have the mental fortitude to not break down. Morata? He’s a proven winner. For a team like Chelsea that have just won the league, and will be looking to make a deep run in Champion’s League as well, Morata will have the opportunity to be a leader on the pitch.

Ambassador for the Community

A team like Chelsea shouldn’t just be focused on winning trophies, some effort has to be made to be great community ambassadors as well. Millions around the world look up to the team and its players as role models, and in Morata, Chelsea will be getting a fantastic role model. In 2014, Morata shaved his head completely bald, so children with cancer undergoing chemotherapy would be able to brag that they had the same hairstyle as their Real Madrid ideal. It may only be a small gesture, but such moves convey class and integrity.


Final Thoughts

What I find incredibly ironic is that Morata was actually Conte’s second choice striker. Romelu Lukaku was his first choice. Mourinho, the man who ended up getting Lukaku, admitted that Morata would have been his first choice, not Lukaku. Such is the way football can play out. The battle between Morata and Lukaku to see who will score more goals will be heavily publicized this season, and I have complete confidence in our Spanish striker.


Thumbnail image courtesy of: Chelsea FC

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By: Lukonde Jr. Davies (Twitter: @lukonde_jr)

In its formative days, the summer transfer window did look like a Chinese fire drill for the fans; City’s early assault on the market and the thought of the club repeating the same attitude/posture that has ensured every title winning campaign got to the hearts of many fans. The supposed ‘1st July’ cipher didn’t help either. In fact, the signing on that much raved about date was a free agent from our rivals, Manchester City, Willy Caballero.

After missing out on Romelu Lukaku, the club has expedited their transfer dealings with German defender Antonio Rudiger, and a standout in last season’s Monaco’s odyssey in Champions’ League and French Ligue 1, Tiemoue Bakayoko, both added to the roster. Latest in line to add to the new arrivals is Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata. The move is expected to smash the club record fee  paid to Liverpool for Fernando Torres in January 2011 thanks partly to the inflated market and lack of options after United gazumped us to the Lukaku deal. So, have we got the best man?


Best man for the job or a Conte frontier move? This should be the main question about this transfer.

There is no doubt whatsoever that Morata’s bromance with Conte is one that borders on mutual admiration, and the Italian’s belief in the talents of a player who he once signed without coaching him. In the past, and just recently after Madrid and Chelsea agreed terms for the striker, the Spaniard, 24, did allude to the confidence that Conte has in him and the length at which the club under Conte’s reign have gone to chase for his signature. As far back as February, the Spaniard did predict that he would play for Conte sooner or later.

Solely on that account, the Zeitgeist is that finally, the Italian has gotten his man after the club flirted with the idea of bringing him to the club last summer. And a sign of relief for some of the Chelsea votaries who thought the deal was going to slip through especially after United; Chelsea’s fate-mate this summer received some ludicrous demands from Madrid when they tried alluring the 24 year old.


What does he bring to the club?

In Morata’s rollercoaster career where he has already played for two of best performing European teams, he’s not exalted himself as a talisman or the fulcrum of a team in that time. His best goal return up to now has been the 15 goals last season that aw him finish as Madrid’s second top-scorer behind Ronaldo in a season where Morata was sparingly used.

But its Morata’s other side of the game that should enthral the fans more. Unlike Diego, Morata is the technical striker the club has been looking for to complement the technicians behind him and take the club to the next level. Yes his goals have not come with the same volume as the leading strikers or forwards, but if last season is to go by, we are getting a player who’s only improved with time and more likely to improve further.

Thumbnail image courtesy of: The Metro

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By, Navaneeth Ravichandran (Twitter: @navrav28)

The most drawn out saga of this summer’s transfer window has finally come to a conclusion, as Chelsea have confirmed the signing of French midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco for a fee believed to be around 40 million pounds. Bakayoko has signed a 5 year deal with the club, and should step right into the starting lineup besides fellow Frenchman N’golo Kante. Here is a scouting report on the 22-year old that many are comparing to a young Yaya Toure.

Defensive Ability

Interceptions and tackles, that is Bakayoko’s bread and butter. His tackle success rate was an astounding 81% in the French top tier last year. Kante, the reigning PFA player of the year and well known tackle machine, had a 69% success rate. Clearly, Bakayoko is extremely capable of disrupting possession in the midfield. He also recording 56 interceptions last season, displaying the ability to break up passing plays with relative ease. Seeing Bakayoko and Kante team up in the Chelsea midfield will be an indubitable nightmare for opposing teams.

Support Man

In the Monaco setup last season, Bakayoko teamed up with Fabinho in the center of the midfield. Bakayoko played a little more forward, while Fabinho would act as the man directly in front of the center-backs, essentially playing as a sweeping midfielder picking up the remains of any balls Bakayoko may have missed up front. This positioning not only worked wonders for Jardim’s side, but it gave Bakayoko license to head up the pitch if he desires. This meant the Frenchmen was a key linkup man, providing support with weighted balls through to the likes of Bernardo Silva, Mbappe, and Falcao. Bakayoko registered 7 assists last season, which for a player whom is known for his defence first is a very good number. If Conte chooses to play his two midfielders the same way, with Kante acting as a Fabinho, then Bakayoko will have license to play the support man that he has proven he can.


Like I mentioned earlier, Bakayoko is a very good support man. This is not only because of his technical skills, but because of his physical assets as well. Like fellow Chelsea signing Antonio Rudiger, Bakayoko is extremely physical, and surprisingly fast as well for a supposed defensive midfielder. Whether he’s sprinting to support the attack or tracking back to shore up the defence, Bakayoko can get there using his physical ability. The following video encapsulates his ability as a support man, utilizing both technical and physical aspects of the game.

Flexibility for Conte

Adding a player of Bakayoko’s skillset means Antonio Conte has a little more depth and room to experiment. Of course, Bakayoko can be immediately plugged into the current 3-4-3 formation without any issues. However, should Conte choose to adopt a 3-5-2, Bakayoko can fit right into that as well. The latter midfield would conceivable include the French duo in Kante and Bakayoko, and will likely include Cesc Fabregas as a creator. This way Fabregas will not have any defensive duties whatsoever, and will only have to focus on the long balls he is so well known for. Another formation, although it may be a bit of a stretch, is a 4-2-4. This setup relies heavily on the two in midfield, but if there are any two midfielders in Europe that can make that formation work, it’s Kante and Bakayoko.

Final Thoughts

One of the reasons I love being a Chelsea fan is because of how they conduct their business. Although their signings are not the most expensive, they are almost always smart and improve the team immensely. We saw that last year with the additions of Luiz, Alonso, and Kante. I believe the trend will continue this year with Rudiger and Bakayoko. We don’t need a world record Paul Pogba, what we need is a talented box-to-box midfielder that complements Kante in the midfield, and Bakayoko fits the bill perfectly.

Cover photo courtesy of: Express Sport

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