So, folks, the madness of the summer transfer window has passed us by. The notable departures include Asmir Begovic, John Terry, Nemanja Matic amongst an endless list of loanees. Let’s take stock of who arrived at the Bridge and assess what they can bring to the squad.
Willy Caballero: A replacement for Asmir Begovic who departed for Bournemouth in a £10 million deal. Makes sense from a business perspective but that’s about it. Probably useful in early rounds of the domestic cups and against Qarabag at the Bridge. Rating: 4/10.
Antonio Rudiger: A replacement for John Terry who departed for Aston Villa after 22 years. It will take time for the 24-year-old German international to adapt to English football. Against Tottenham, he looked rash and the weakest out of the back three but improved considerably against Everton. Rudiger looks good on the ball so signing should be a success in the long-term. Rating: 6/10.
Tiemoue Bakayoko: Bakayoko will be the replacement for Nemanja Matic and the 22-year-old will surely be a hit. But, don’t expect fireworks immediately. Ligue 1 is completely different to the demands of the Premier League but I am sure Bakayoko will be a success, once fully fit. He looks powerful and was rushed ahead of the Tottenham fixture due to Chelsea’s lack of options in midfield. Bakayoko is the signing I am probably most optimistic about. Rating: 7/10
Alvaro Morata: Morata overtakes Fernando Torres as the club record signing and I am still sceptical about whether Morata will be a success at Chelsea. Morata has started well at Stamford Bridge with 2 goals and 2 assists against Burnley and Everton but looked off the pace at Tottenham. That is my concern: whether Morata can do it against the top six and away in Europe. I am yet to be convinced by Alvaro unfortunately. It will be interesting to see how Morata does for example against Arsenal, although it probably isn’t a useful marker to base an opinion off. Rating: 6/10.
Davide Zappacotta: Chelsea’s first deadline day signing. A deal that was incredibly unexpected. Zappacosta seemed to bring back fears of a Djilobodji version 2.0 with the Club just acting independently. However, this is not the case. Conte knows Zappacotta really well; the Chelsea head-coach gave him his first Italy cap after all and included him in his preliminary squad for Euro 2016. Although not home-grown, Zappacosta is a suitable backup option to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Last season at Torino, Zappacosta averaged an 82% pass accuracy and much more crosses than Victor Moses. The 25-year-old Italian can improve for sure as he is stronger at attacking than defending but for £23 million, it seems like a good buy for Chelsea and Chelsea will be getting an individual who is familiar with the 3-4-3. Rating: 6/10.
Danny Drinkwater: Chelsea’s interest was first reported on August 3rd and originally it seemed incredibly bizarre and quite underwhelming. There was a method to the madness, however, and Chelsea finally secured their central midfield target after a long-drawn out process. A home-grown player which was essential for Champions League but it is a signing not to get too excited over. Signed, primarily for squad depth and will likely be the fourth choice. Conte signed Drinkwater due to his partnership with N’Golo Kante during Leicester’s title winning season and will be hoping he can replicate the form shown in 2015-16. Rating: 5/10.
All in all, Chelsea has adequately replaced those departed but there is nothing much to shout home about. Rudiger, Bakayoko and Morata are good signings but not spectacular. Chelsea fans were once again let down by the lack of ambition. Why couldn’t Chelsea offer £80 million for Alex Sandro? Why couldn’t Chelsea put a bid in for Thomas Lemar? Why couldn’t Chelsea sign a player like Riyad Mahrez? Chelsea replaced whereas both Manchester clubs, Liverpool and unfortunately, even, Tottenham, strengthened with astute signings. Signings proved troublesome so the priority on deadline day was squad depth. To some extent, Drinkwater and Zappacosta achieved this but stalling over fees hardly helped the Champions. It seemed inevitable that Llorente would move to the Champions yet he ended up signing for Tottenham. Llorente would’ve been a huge boost to Chelsea since Morata and Batshuayi are the only two recognised strikers. Conte will certainly be displeased with the Club’s activity but what can be ensured is that he will be maximising what he has available.