Links between Chelsea and Raphinha have begun to gather pace once again which begs the question: Do the Blues really need to sign him?
Raphinha was linked heavily with Chelsea last summer after Leeds United escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth, with the Blues having a bid of £60million accepted by Leeds in late June last year, according to Fabrizio Romano, but as with their later deal for Jules Kounde, Barcelona came in two weeks later to scupper the deal and bring him to Nou Camp.
Last week, Felix Jonhston reported that the Blues still maintain an interest in Raphinha, and with Barcelona needing to sell players this summer to raise funds, they could be willing to facilitate a deal.
However, is the Brazilian the man they really need?
Chelsea went all out in the summer and winter on wide players, signing Raheem Sterling, Noni Madueke, Joao Felix and Mykhailo Mudryk, adding those names to what was an underwhelming duo of Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech.
The signing of Sterling marked the start of Todd Boehly’s era at Chelsea
Like with most of Chelsea’s players this season, they’ve failed to perform and it’s expected that Pulisic and Ziyech will depart this summer which would leave the newest signings from this season as the recognised widemen going forward.
Despite his struggles this year and rumours of a move, I find it hard to believe Sterling will depart considering the work that was put in to bring him in from Manchester City in the summer and the big contract he was handed upon arrival – a 5-year deal with a £325,000 p/week wage (per Capology) – making him the Blues’ highest-paid player
Felix has spoken of his desire to remain at Stamford Bridge beyond this season in spite of fans’ concerns over his lack of goals since arriving in the winter, but his ability on the ball and chance creation is cause for optimism [insert striker here to finish these chances and you have scary potential] while Madueke and Mudryk are going absolutely nowhere anytime soon.
That could leave four widemen playing for the Blues next season, enough for a backup pairing and with Felix able to play in a more central position, that leaves plenty of scope for flexibility.
Sterling will continue to offer experience in the squad and we know what he is capable of doing in a structured system, something Chelsea have lacked for all of this season.
Mudryk will only get better with a pre-season under his belt and regular minutes as he looks likely to be Chelsea’s starting left winger next season, while Madueke has shown in recent games that he has all the hallmarks to start for Chelsea himself on the right for years to come.
Despite registering just one assist since arriving in January, Mudryk has shown in recent games that he can provide the spark that Chelsea need going forward
For these reasons, I find it hard to understand why Chelsea would splash out on Raphinha, taking into account the price (Diario Sport report a fee of €80million) and also the fact that he decided on a move to Spain over remaining in the Premier League last summer.
Yes, depth is crucial in today’s game, but with the potential that Chelsea’s current wingers have and are showing, the club would be better off signing a cheaper player willing to accept a back-up role or even promoting a youth player.
Omari Hutchinson and Harvey Vale are two of the names that come to mind and with Mauricio Pochettino set to become the club’s new manager, he would be wise to show some faith in the club’s academy in regard to that position, especially when a defensive midfielder and striker are much more pertinent positions in need of an upgrade this summer.
The post OPINION: Is Raphinha the man Chelsea really need to add to their flanks? appeared first on CaughtOffside.