Gonzalo Higuain. Photo Credit: Binged.itSSC Napoli v Juventus FC - Serie A

As we prepare for the confirmation of a consecutive January transfer domino by Chelsea in their quest for a new striker, we take a look at the man rumored  (yeah I know) to be the new leading front man at SW6.

This deal has divided opinion amongst the Chelsea fan base. As a result, let’s take a look at the positives and negatives of this transfer should it go through.

POSITIVES

Familiarity with the coach and the system

Maurizio Sarri and Higuain spent one glorious season together at Napoli in 2015/16 in which the Argentine scored a record breaking 36 Serie A goals. In Sarri’s first season with the club, Higuain was one of those to quickly master “Sarri-ball” and couldn’t seem to stop scoring. If this partnership reaps similar rewards at Chelsea, it could finally be the answer to the club’s goal problems.

Higuain’s goal history

Regardless of his recent records, Higuain remains one the biggest names in modern football. His goal scoring feat only matched by few footballers in Europe. In fact, according to opta stats, only four players, Messi, Ronaldo, Zlatan and Cavani (not a bad company to be in) have scored more goals than the Milan front man. Higuain has scored 224 goals since 2007 and has scored a minimum of 20 goals in all competitions in each of his last 5 seasons (38 goals in THAT season). These are really impressive numbers and gives reasons to be optimistic about him potentially leading the line for the club

Beggars can’t be choosers

Chelsea are so desperate for a goal scorer right now, that even the weirdest of names are enough to get fans excited. Having seen the club struggle for goals this season, despite the brand of “attacking” football being played, can we really afford to be too picky? Eden Hazard once again remains our leading man, but unlike our most successful seasons since he joined, we are starting to look to him to be our main goal scorer. In our title winning seasons of 2014/15 and 2016/17, despite being the best player at the club, Hazard wasn’t burdened with being the main (or only) goal scorer at the club. That early season patch of form was fun while it lasted, but I think we all knew he was never going to be able to keep the goals flowing. We need a proven goal scorer at the club and Higuain is one of the best names available in the market right now.

End of “false 9”

We’ve been here before haven’t we? We’ve been in desperate need of anyone not named Morata (good luck in Madrid ) or Giroud to lead the line at Chelsea that we have resulted in playing our best player out of position. While it looked to have been working early on, it has been one of the major causes of our struggles in recent times and it seems it’s time Hazard moved back to a familiar position. His influence in games has diminished massively and our play has become too predictable. Chelsea need a capable focal point and we need our best player to work his magic all over the pitch without leaving us short in the box.

…………… Now let me play Devil’s advocate…………………….

NEGATIVES

Age

Higuain will be 32 at the end of this year and there is a concern that this deal could affect the long term planning of the club. With Morata leaving and Hudson-Odoi also in a transfer scramble, all our remaining attackers except Hazard are in their 30s. The club needs to plan long term to get younger and better players in and this Higuain deal isn’t a step in that direction.

Recent records

There is a question of age being directly proportional to quality but there have been examples of players who have retained their quality in their 30s, Messi, Ronaldo, Zlatan and Cavani (remember this list?). While these players have continued scoring at extra-ordinary levels since turning 30, Higuain has noticeably declined. His first season at Juventus was special, his second season wasn’t. Since 2017/18, Higuain’s goals per minutes stands at 185:1 (Morata in comparison is 177:1 in the same period). These are worrying stats for a player than spent more than half that period playing with better players in a supposedly easier environment.

Chelsea’s history with similar signings

Chelsea sure do have an history of signing players that used to be world beaters at the wrong times. Pato, Eto’o, Falcao and Torres would have been names Chelsea fans would have killed to get 5 years earlier than the club did. If history is anything to go by, this deal could be similar to those 4 but hey, judge him when he leaves, as a certain Portuguese would say.

So there you have it, whether you are for or against this deal, it is better to judge the deal from both angles. Curious to read what you think, so please leave a comment below. Also follow me on twitter HERE.

Abdulwakeel Raji

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