Chelsea, under Maurizio Sarri, have had a mixed season. While Sarriball hasn’t been as effective as it was in Serie A, the Italian manager has guided the Blues to a European final where the London club will face off against domestic rivals Arsenal in the Europa League final. They also pipped another London club, Tottenham, to the third spot in the Premier League.
But with Eden Hazard looking set to leave for Real Madrid in the summer, Sarri needs a world-class player to replace their star Belgian player in the team, and have shortlisted Barcelona’s, Philippe Coutinho. The former Liverpool man has had a disappointing season at the Catalan club, scoring 11 goals and notching up 7 assists this season, but not having the kind of impact that the fans and management would have wanted.
Coutinho was recently linked with a move to Manchester United, but this latest report states that Chelsea are the only side interested in the Brazilian. If Hazard is sold in the summer, Chelsea will have the financial power to table a big bid for the former Liverpool man, but the Blues currently have a ban on signing new players for two transfer windows, which they have appealed to overturn.
Is it a wise move by Chelsea to target Coutinho?
The Brazilian is a player who excelled in the Premier League for Liverpool, becoming their talisman in the five years he spent on Merseyside. While he may not have the pace, trickery, or the goal-scoring ability at the level of Hazard, Coutinho is a world-class player in his own right.
Coutinho can play as a wide attacker on the left, cutting inside to provide crosses and passes, and even pose a goal threat, while he can also play in a midfield three, linking the midfield and attack with his dribbling and through balls. His versatility could be one of the reasons why Chelsea could make a move for him, while also being a like-for-like replacement for Hazard in terms of playing style and position.
At 26 years of age, the Brazilian still has a lot to offer and can be a key player for Chelsea for years to come. The Blues need to add a few players in the summer to compete against the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City, with the acquisition of a wide player being of paramount importance if Hazard does leave the club in the summer.