Chelsea shows how buying a player at £115m is inferior to selling one at £115m…


You have to hand it to Chelsea. They’ve gazumphed Liverpool to not one but two signings even after those players agreed personal terms with Klopp’s cohort. Both Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia, highly coveted DM-types, were all but ready for an announcement at Anfield only to switch at the last to Stamford Bridge. For the Arsenal, we were lampooned and lambasted for signing Declan Rice on a fee said to rise to £115m. Meanwhile, Chelsea were lauded for signing Caicedo on the same fee, if not higher. Shrewd business, that. On Sunday, we got to see a study in contrasts. West Ham, seller of Declan Rice, bested Chelsea, buyer of Moises Caicedo.

Over the last few windows, it seemed the Chelsea’s recruitment strategy consisted largely of watching players linked to Arsenal, waiting until that player was just about to sign, and swooping in to snatch him away. Well, if current trends continue, I say, let that recruitment strategy stand. Prior to Caicedo, the highest-profile swoop was for Mykhalo Mudryk, who ended up signing for a fee approaching £89m. He’s collected just as many yellow cards as he has assists (two) and hasn’t scored in nineteen appearances. That’s exhibit A.

Exhibit B is Caicedo. Having also flirted with a move to the Arsenal dating back to January, the Ecuadorian teased Liverpool before committing to Chelsea. So much for wanting to play on the European stage, I guess. He made his debut on Sunday against West Ham, and, like Mudryk, failed to bathe himself in glory. In his 37-minute appearance, he lost possession eight times, committed two fouls, put one shot woefully off-target, conceded carelessly and was bailed out by his keeper, and committed a rash foul in stoppage time to gift West Ham a penalty.

None of this is meant to heap blame on either player. They’re young and susceptible to unscrupulous types waving piles of money under their noses. I’m a well-wisher, in that I don’t wish them any…specific harm. Think of them as pawns in a much, much larger game of chess. There’s still time for one or both to prove their worth, but I’ll leave by saying that neither one would be the first to make an expensive move to the wrong London club and then flounder. Hold on. I’m getting calls from a Lukaku, or Torres, a Shevchenko, a Morata, a—you know what? I’m putting the phone in airplane mode.

By contrast, our signing of Declan Rice—the one for which we’ve been rather roundly criticised—seems to be working out rather well. That may be part of what you get when you pay for a player who’s actually played in the Prem for more than season. While Rice has hardly set the world on fire, he’s been cool, calm, and collected, and he’s made important contributions. After just one outing, he’s put three shots on target after putting just nine on target all of last season. His progressive passing and ball-winning were solid if not spectacular. I’ll come clean: I was originally more excited about Caicedo, thinking of him as more-versatile, capable of playing at RB as well as DM, but the early returns suggest that Arteta and Edu made the right move.

Keeping in mind that the returns are, again, early, it’s notable to see how quickly Rice has slotted in and how out of depth Caicedo seemed against ten-man West Ham. What’s also notable is how we set the price-point for DMs and can now sit back and reap the rewards. Chelsea had to plump down a fee almost identical to the one we paid for Rice, and we were getting a player with seven seasons of Prem experience to Caicedo’s one. As Chelsea are prone to do, they’ve doubled down by signing Romeo Lavia for another £53m. Oh, it would be remiss of me to omit Enzo Fernández, whom Chelsea signed back in January for £107m. I’ve lost count, but that starts to sound like they’ve spent £275m on three players who play the same position or role—and they still lost to the club that sold us just one player in that same position or role.

This is all short-term gloating, of course. As I mentioned already, there is still plenty of time for Mudryk, Caicedo, and Fernández to prove that they’ll be worth the fees and wages Chelsea are shelling out. There are not many managers better than Pochettino when it comes to nurturing young players. Sooner rather than later, he’ll bring out the best in the countless young players Boehly has bought over the last 18 months. For now, though, I think we can let ourselves have a laugh at his expense.

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11 thoughts on “Chelsea shows how buying a player at £115m is inferior to selling one at £115m…

  1. billy

    I have to come to the Chav’s defence here. They can’t help being dumb half-witted morons. Latest out of Chelsea is Boehly is looking at a keeper named Earps? as sanches doesn’t seem to be working out. So expect Boehly to be making a bid for Wyatt Earps before the end of the month.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      half-hearted defense at best there. This will be a bigger challenge to Pochettino than managing the asylum at PSG. He at least has a young squad that can be molded, but dealing with Boehly’s capriciousness, not to mention the expectations that come with that kind of spending, will demand Poch’s best.

      As for Earps, I’d suggest Arsenal mount a very public campaign to buy him at, say 80m, all the better to urge Boehly to take the plunge.

  2. Palladio43

    Whoa!!!! Jon, have you you been outdone by Billy? I suspect strongly the reference, which I thought was a clever dig at Todd’s method of scouting, was for Mary Earp’s 😂😂😂

  3. Howard

    It was Arteta who decided to bring in Rice and it was left with Edu arrange the purchase. Rice came to Arsenal because of Arteta gave the call. The disrespect for Arteta is too much; always some fans sharing Arteta’s positive work with Edu. Edu can’t buy or bring in any player without Arteta saying yes. Arteta is the Manager not a Head Coach like Emery.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      Yeah, I’m probably guilty of playing it a little too loose with which fees I used (many of them have a starting point that could rise to a higher level depending on the contract’s structure, add-ons, etc.).

  4. Howard

    Poch., a good coach?
    Never won a trophy in England after many years and can’t win any bar Carabao Cup.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      He did bring Tottenham to the brink of winning the Champions League. Beyond that, he’s shown that he is a good coach. It would be risky to underestimate him…

  5. A Simple Truth

    “early returns”??? you mean one average outing against a basement dweller in the friendliest of confines versus 20+ minutes in a hostile environment, already a goal down, with little to no in-squad training…I swear we just had the whole roll slowing chat late last evening…let’s just stick a pin in this one until season’s end…for me personally I would have prioritized Caicedo over Rice, which certainly isn’t a slight on the latter…as I stated in a previous thread, Chelsea was dominant on the day, but lacked the required guile at both ends of the pitch…sound familiar?!?

    on a side note, I was encouraged by Rice’s attempts from distance, but I certainly hope this wasn’t the primary impetus behind his acquisition

  6. A Simple Truth

    Jon, I dare you to write a positive article about that underwhelming affair and please don’t spew nonsense about the refs as they clearly gave us a break on the whole Partey contact in the box gig…with Havertz clearly in the passenger seat, a la Willian 2.0, and no discernable directness in our attack, it appears as if the sideways borefest is rearing it’s ugly head once again


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