Chelsea FC recently confirmed the signing of long-term target Andre Schurrle from Bayer Leverkusen for a reported fee of £18.7 million. The negotiations had been going on for so long between the two clubs that it was a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ Schurrle would sign.
The second coming of the ‘Special One’, Jose Mourinho, also did not hamper the deal so it is presumed that he sees Schurrle as part of his plans and he must have given his approval to the deal. But, my question is, ‘Do Chelsea really need Andre Schurrle?’ I have been asking this question to a lot of Chelsea fans and none of them have been able to give me a blunt, straight-forward ‘yes’. If yes, then where does he fit in the Chelsea line-up?
The immensely talented 22-year-old German international can play as a winger as well as a center forward. He mainly plied his trade on the left wing for Leverkusen, scoring 23 goals and adding a further 12 assists over the last two seasons, which is quite impressive. BUT, the problem is that Eden Hazard has made that position his own after scoring 9 goals and making 14 assists in his debut season in the Premier League. Mourinho rates the 22 year-old Belgian international amongst the best in the world and would not want his form to be affected in any way.
Playing Schurrle as a second striker can be an option but that would mean displacing Mata from his preferred and most effective position. Mata has been by far Chelsea’s best player over the past couple of seasons, contributing an impressive tally of 31 goals and 55 assists over the time. Rubbishing the reports of him being available for sale, I think Mata would be the core of the Mourinho’s team. Where next (position) for Schurrle?
Right wing? It is already a position well occupied by Oscar and Moses. Though, this is one position the former Leverkusen man could make his own, given his pace and defensive work-rate. But, he would face a stiff competition from the recently crowned Confederations Cup winner, Oscar.
Being only 21, Oscar has been able to cement his place in the starting XI for Chelsea with 12 goals and 12 assists in all competitions last season. Moses has also been in good form showcasing his skills with some impressive performances and scoring crucial goals against FC Basel and Shahktar Donetsk in Europe. Schurrle’s physical presence and pace could give him the edge over Oscar and Moses but if reports are to be believed Mourinho is a big fan of the little Brazilian and wants to build the team around him. Now, where does that leave the 22-year-old German international?
Some people have been suggesting that he might be played as a lone striker or as a center forward to partner Fernando Torres or whoever Chelsea buy to replace Torres as widely reported, but, I do not see Schurrle as a player who would score 25 goals a season for Chelsea.
Given the fact he’s only 22, he would only continue to grow as a player and Chelsea have an exceptional talent at their disposal in the form of Schurrle. However, £18 million is too much for a player who is not highly rated by the manager and does not feature in the team’s immediate plans. Schurrle’s purchase gives Mourinho a selection headache, a headache he would love to have. It would be interesting to see how Chelsea line-up come August 17th, 2013.