Chelsea Focus – Imminent Willian signing indicates squad rethink

Every day, an abundance of articles just like this constantly drop onto the online world like confetti at a white wedding. The Premier League attracts continuous analysis, with salivating supporters wanting to know the whats, hows and whys when it comes to issues at their football club. We crave logic. But the imminent transfer of Willian to Chelsea is a head butt to the cranium of common sense. It’s a reminder that, for all the considered scrutiny in the world, sometimes football doesn’t seem to make any sense at all.

Subject to gaining a work permit, the Brazilian playmaker is expected to sign early this week after the Blues snatched him from the grasp of Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs had been expected to recruit the Anzhi Makhachkala man as part of their strategy to replace Madrid-bound Gareth Bale and have understandably been left furious by Chelsea’s transfer burglary.

The very fact that two of England’s top teams are chasing Willian’s services is testament to his abilities. He is indeed a fantastic player; his adroit touches and nimble nature set him apart as the current chic type of footballer – that is, a Coutinho or a Mario Gotze. But to many Chelsea fans, it’s a case of great player, wrong club.

The deal is touted to be worth around £30m. Even with the market as disgustingly bloated as it currently is, that is a sizeable amount of cash for any player. Seeing as the squad is already crammed with agile, creative attacking midfielders, would the money not be better spent elsewhere?

With John Terry aging and Jose Mourinho preferring Branislav Ivanovic as a full-back, central defence is under stocked. In midfield, the inconsistent John Obi Mikel remains the club’s only out-and-out defensive option. Meanwhile, there is confusion up front – floundering duo Fernando Torres and Demba Ba have both started a game each this season while the raw Romelu Lukaku waits to be given a chance from the first whistle.

It’s interesting to consider strikers. This summer, Chelsea baulked at paying around £50m for Edinson Cavani, who eventually signed for Paris Saint-Germain. Cavani is a world class frontman who would have essentially completed Mourinho’s squad and the club should have dug deep to drag him to Stamford Bridge.

Instead, over half of that amount has been spent on adding another playmaker to the current crop. If Chelsea’s pursuit of Wayne Rooney is still on, that bill could, if the Blues have their way, eventually surpass Cavani’s summer asking price. The Uruguayan being a more prolific option than Rooney when playing as a lone striker, Chelsea could have been more tactical with their pennies.

However, Willian could be instead of, rather than as well as, a forward. One way of crow-barring most of the club’s luminaries into the team would be to use Andre Schurrle as a centre forward, probably with Ba – who was only signed as a short-term solution to Torres’ mis-firings, anyway – being shipped out.

That would leave only Willian, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Oscar, Kevin de Bruyne, Victor Moses and Marco Van Ginkel to fight it out for the three starting places off the striker. Even to the master tinkerer, Mourinho’s predecessor Rafael Benitez, rotating those players whilst keeping them happy would be difficult. In football, logic can be at a premium.

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