Lots of questions will be asked about Chelsea’s transfers when the harvest is in and comparisons with other teams’ acquisitions are to be made.
Chelsea has gone head-first into the transfer market this summer with the approval and approbation of fans, this writer included. The Blues—led by Roman Abramovich—have spent hundreds of millions of pounds while looking to revolutionize the squad under second-year manager Frank Lampard. It has been, and may still become, more of an enormous investment. Lampard has surely gotten the guys he wants and he will certainly be judged as a result further down the line.
Nobody knows what to expect from this season, but here is a deeper look at the Blues’ acquisitions and what they’ll bring to the table:
Hakim Ziyech (Winger)
Ziyech is a dynamic artist with the ball at his feet, able to deliver pin-point passes to his teammates. He demonstrated the same before being injured in a pre-season friendly with Brighton, a game in which he recorder a sensational pass leading to Timo Werner’s goal. There seems to be no doubt that Ziyech will star when he returns and the hope is that his return will be speedy. The Blues’ attack has been rather lethargic to date and his influence will be hugely felt upon recovery. Any prolonged absence due to injury will be a serious drawback to the team.
Timo Werner (Striker)
Werner came to Chelsea amid rumors that the Premier League champion, Liverpool, was his favored club—or at least he was favored by the Reds. Somewhat surprisingly, the Leipzig scoring whiz signed for Chelsea. Expectations were sky high, though the fee in actuality was rather modest for a talent such as he due to a release clause. Werner immediately delivered dividends when he scored against Brighton in the preseason friendly. In his first two regular season games, he has been acknowledged as outstanding, drawing two penalties in the process. Yet, he has yet to break his duck in the Premier League. As his scoring drought continues, if it does, how long will the faithful be patient? Hopefully, that won’t be an issue and he will get on the scoresheet shortly.
Ben Chilwell (Left back)
Chilwell has been clearly portrayed as a key signing as he plugs a hole in a position of need. Lampard wanted him all along and he got him. Troubled with an already acknowledged balky heel, it seems that Chilwell is getting closer to being fit for the Blues. That’s good news since he was acquired at a high cost. All eyes will be on Chilwell to see if he justifies the faith that both Lampard and the club have placed on him. It’s big time pressure, but after a sumptuous assist in his debut, I think he can withstand it and excel.
Kai Havertz (Central midfielder)
Havertz had been dubbed a generational talent by some prior to his high-priced transfer to Chelsea. His success at Bayer Leverkusen certainly seemed to bear that label out. In his first two games for the Blues, however, reviews have been less than stellar. He was uninspiring, though observers acknowledge he had his moments. His third match was the complete opposite. Havertz bagged his first goal and ended up with a hat-trick en route to a 6-0 drubbing of Barnsley in the Carabao Cup. This transfer is to be the most watched perhaps of all of Chelsea’s’ numerous acquisitions. It will be interesting to see if he continues to live up to the expectations as he gets more acclimated to the Premier League.
Thiago Silva (Centerback)
Silva joined Chelsea on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain following the Champions League final. His team lost, but he is a championship signing for the Blues nonetheless. Silva is not the youngest, nor the tallest, but he is still among the best central defenders in the world. Anything other than his making the Blues central defense monumentally better will be a surprise if not a shock. Silva starts all day long—especially if he continues showings like his debut.
Malang Sarr & Xavier Mbuyamba (Centerbacks)
Both Malang Sarr and Xavier Mbuyamba were acquired on free transfers and are seen as the future of Chelsea Football Club. Other than Mbuyamba’s recent knee surgery, reportedly from an ACL injury, both of these moves can be appraised in the not-so-distant future. Yet, in Sarr’s case, maybe the future should be very, very soon. Mbuyamba—when fit—will spend the season with the development squad and Sarr is still waiting on his loan destination.
Edouard Mendy (Goalkeeper)
Edouard Mendy’s cost is far lesser than his attacking counterparts, but his importance to the club and the expectations are far in excess of that fee. He is expected to immediately replace the most expensive keeper in history, and far exceed his performance. It’s a challenge for the young Senegalese keeper from Rennes, but Mendy has the physical talents and instincts necessary to meet that challenge. How he performs will certainly have a great bearing on how the club fares this season if he is immediately installed as the club’s No. 1 keeper.
Those are moves the Blues have made this summer. For the most part, Chelsea is done for all but potentially one more signing, West Ham defensive midfielder Declan Rice. The outcome of that business is yet to be determined. It could be a major acquisition if completed, providing another building block for the Blues both now and in the future. As other clubs extend their own spending, the top of the Premier League is getting more and more challenging— it will certainly be a nail-biting viewing.