French striker Loïc Remy has completed a £10.5 million move to Chelsea, signing a four year deal. After Fernando Torres moved to AC Milan on a 2 year loan deal, José Mourinho was keen to return to his compliment of three strikers, which he maintains is the perfect number for his squad. Remy was on the verge to a move to Liverpool only a few weeks ago, but rumours suggest a heart problem discovered in his medical scuppered the move. With the transfer deadline approaching fast and the market not exactly flooded with quality strikers, Chelsea have taken somewhat of a gamble on the 27 year old, although have seen he has Premier League pedigree which is so valuable.
The big question for Chelsea fans is where Remy fits into the squad. Every signing so far this summer seems to have been well thought out as players have blended seamlessly into the squad. There are some doubts as to whether Remy has the qualities to do the same. Particular attention is drawn to Manchester City, who have four top class strikers on their books. However, Chelsea operate mainly with a lone striker and with the versatile André Schürrle in the squad, the acquisition of Remy in my eyes gives us the perfect balance.
The first system in which Remy will be used is a straight replacement for Diego Costa, who has set the bar high for Chelsea’s strike force. Rotation or injury will give Remy a chance to lead the line on his own in a 4-2-3-1 set up that Mourinho favours against the majority of opponents. Remy certainly offers a different skillset to Costa, in that he will often favour the ball in front of him to run onto, whereas Costa’s hold up play means he prefers it into feet. Fortunately, Chelsea’s creative players in midfield are more than capable of adjusting their support play. Against weaker teams and in cup competitions Remy’s pace as a lone striker ought to cause problems. On his finishing is lethal and if he is given chance he will finish them.
Over the last season Chelsea opted for a more defence minded 4-3-3 against rougher opponents, especially in tricky away games. We saw the same against Everton on the weekend. Goodison Park has always been a difficult place to visit and so Mourinho moved Ramires into the side to strengthen the middle of the park. In these scenarios lasts season it wasn’t uncommon for Fernando Torres to be deployed on the wings. The main purpose of this is to compensate for the lack of a central attacking midfielder with a goal scorer on the wings. Unfortunately Torres’ inability to score those goals made this tactic quite ineffective, but I can see Mourinho trying Remy out wide in a similar fashion. The Frenchman is more accustomed to being pushed out wide from his season with Newcastle and could offer something new in attack.
Chelsea very rarely start a game with a pair of strikers playing up front together. If this were to happen, a partnership of Remy and Costa or even Remy and Drogba is Costa is being rested looks to have a nice balance to it. The most likely scenario in which we will move to this system, however, is when we are chasing a game. Mourinho continually makes the point that he uses his substitutions to replace offensive minded players and rarely substitutes defenders. Remy could well come on, alongside Costa, if Chelsea are pushing for a breakthrough going into the last 30 minutes of a game. This is when I get most excited by the purchase of Remy. It gives us a Plan B that is so essential over the course of the season. Playing off of Costa, who can utilise his strength to hold the ball up, will be a nightmare for teams to adapt to.
With all things said about Remy, of which there are an awful lot of positives when you consider his price tag is only just over £10 million, there is one crucial aspect that is possibly the most valuable. That is Remy’s mind-set. His ambition leaves a lot to be desired. You might be thinking that is a ludicrous statement given he has just moved to one of the biggest clubs in the world, but he knows he will be second choice to Diego Costa. He will be content with being second choice. Romelu Lukaku left Chelsea because he was unwilling to fill this role and it is very difficult to find a top striker who, would be willing to do this. In Remy, Chelsea may just have found that player.
Let me know what you think of the signing of Loïc Remy. Would you have preferred another striker? Will Remy be a success with the Blues? Should we have kept Torres? The answer to the last question is a definite no, but I’d like to hear what you think on the other topics.
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