Chelsea are largely renowned for buying their way to the top, with their promising youth system often overlooked for those with higher-profile names. This is perhaps highlighted by the loan signing of Gonzalo Higuain, a move which has arguably backfired.
Higuain was brought to Chelsea for a number of reasons. Primarily, because they simply didn’t possess a genuine goalscorer within their ranks. Yes, they have Oliver Giroud, a World Cup winner who never gives an ounce less than 100%. But Giroud is certainly not the type to strike fear in an opponent.
Under the leadership of Maurizio Sarri, Higuain became one of Europe’s most frightening attackers while at Napoli, a key reason behind his signing. However, perhaps the factor that trumped all was the reputation Higuain brought with him, one of scoring wherever he has played. As it turns out, this doesn’t always equate to a successful signing.
A quick glance at rival options demonstrate the importance on youth they place in their squads and transfer objectives. Where Higuain is no spring chicken at the age of 31, Giroud is even older at 32. And where is Tammy Abraham? The 21-year-old currently on loan at Aston Villa has knocked in an impressive 23 goals and lies joint second in the race for the golden boot.
So what about Arsenal? They brought in both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, both renowned striker in the prime of their careers, aged 27 and 29 respectively.
Manchester City splashed out £27m on Gabriel Jesus from Palmeiras who was just 19-years-old at the time. Largely unheard of by the masses, the striker certainly represented a risk for City. However, they were willing to spend the money to invest in the future.
Liverpool also embarked into the unknown in signing Roberto Firmino, a player that has since developed into one of the best forwards in world football. They acquired a player that would specifically fit a system, rather than a name that would appease the fans.
Moving on to Manchester United they also splashed out on a young attacker with plenty of Premier League experience in £70m Romelu Lukaku. Although perhaps not reaching the standards they may have hoped, this is partially down to the emergence of Marcus Rashford. The forward has become a recognised first team member and England international at only 21-years-old.
Finally, we have Tottenham, who of course have Harry Kane at the centre of their attack. Kane was indeed brought in through the academy, but their policy of prioritising youth in transfers is there for all to see. The likes of Eric Dier, Davinson Sanchez and the rise of Harry Winks highlight this.
Essentially, it’s clear that Chelsea operate in a different way from their rival teams. Callum Hudson-Odoi, who has emerged as one of Europe’s most exciting prospects, only broke into the team after a £30m bid from Bayern Munich showed the youngster he had options. Ruben Loftus-Cheek has also had to fight tooth and nail for his opportunities at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have appealed against the transfer ban placed against them, ironically for rule breaches in the signings of u-18 players. However, if this fails to be overturned they will be forced into changing their approach. As it stands currently, they are operating in a different way from their rivals, one which doesn’t seem to be working.
Chelsea fans, how disappointed have you been with Gonzalo Higuain? He’s reportedly (as per the Daily Star) on £270kp/w and looks to have added pretty much nothing! Join the discussion by commenting below…