After Chelsea's lackluster performance against the MSL All-Stars in the early hours of Thursday morning, the dust has settled on the news of the two latest new young acquisitions to the Chelsea Belgian/Brazilian revolution. The purchase of Thorgan Hazard, one of the younger brothers of Eden, has puzzled many, especially those in the French/Belgian media. Having only played 16 times last season for Lens FC and only assisted once, experts have been left scratching their heads as to why the Champions of Europe have decided to take the plunge with the young Hazard. I myself have not seen Thorgan play, so cannot judge whether he has the potential to break into the first team squad, however, many question if he will ever achieve the heights of his older brother. It is widely expected that the young Hazard will spend his first season either on loan in France, possibly at Lille, where his older sibling spent several years to allow him to play in a competitive league or stay on at Chelsea but in the reserves under the watchful eye of Dermot Drummy or Adi Viveash in the youth team who are currently the holders of the F.A Youth Cup after an impressive 2 legged victory over Blackburn Rovers back in May.
I would give Thorgan the first 4 months to show the managers an opportunity to see what they are dealing with in order to see what will be the best course of action and see whether if a loan move in the January transfer window would be beneficial for his development. The supposed transfer fee is rumoured to be around the £2m mark, which may seem as steep for an unknown but in relative terms, however players in the past like Bebe have cost over £4m, a player playing in the Portuguese 2nd division. Many of my fellow Chelsea fans on twitter and on CFCnet forum are split over the Belgian and as to why he have bought him with our already congested set of attacking midfielders. Only time will tell as to whether the London club have brought in a player who is still very raw but could potentially bring something to the table or whether in 2 years time, the club feel he doesn't have the capabilities to break into the first team and be sold off for at least the price they bought him.
Breaking away from Hazard, the player who has caused a bit of media stir in the past 10 days has been talented midfielder Oscar dos Santos Embaoba Junior, or as he'll be more simply known as on the terraces, Oscar. Now I admittedly have never seem Oscar play for Internacional but only his man of the match performance for the Brazil Under-20 team at the World Cup against Portugal in the final last year, where the 19 year old scored the first hat-trick in a final in the history of the tournament. Since the Americana born teenager was first linked with Chelsea, I first had to see what sort of player we were being wanting to spend big money on. I was impressed by his YouTube videos, however, like all videos on the Internet, I wanted to make my own assessment on his overall game from the first minute to the 90th. So what better than to watch him agaist Team GB last Friday night at Middlesborough's Riverside Stadium. I liked what I saw.
A player who could play in the number 10 role but also on the left or right of 4-3-3 or similar midfield formation. This was only a friendly, so I tuned into tonight's Group C game between Brazil and Egypt. A game where Brazil took a commanding 3-0 lead after a through ball from Oscar intended for Hulk but intercepted by Rafael to bend the ball around the keeper followed by quick thinking by Oscar to smartly take the ball around the hapless Egyptian goalkeeper and find the sought after Leandro Damiao to bury it into the empty net. Oscar was quite clearly the best player on the pitch in the first half and although he was unable to re-produce the same after the interval, he showed the maturity and vision of a player who will play a major role at Stamford Bridge in the years to come. I look forward to seeing him myself in the opening Barclays Premier League fixture against Wigan where a younger, more rejuvenated and hungrier Chelsea will take to the D.W Stadium on the 19th August. Some argue that the reported £25m, of which £20m goes to Internacional with the remaining £5m being paid to Sao Paulo in order to fully have 100% ownership of the player, is a gamble, well I would disagree. He has demonstrated already at a young age he has the technical ability to succeed but of course with any young player especially from Brazil where they style and intensity of play is world's apart from the Barclays Premier League, he will need to adapt to the more physical and pacy to become a starter, but I feel very confident that his strengths will shine through.
A quick word on other Chelsea news. It seems Florent Malouda and Yossi Benayoun will become surplus to the club after Roberto Di Matteo tonight confirmed there would be 2 or more signings before the end of the transfer window. The F.A Cup holders could actually field an XI with subs full of midfielder, highlighting the need to sell before buying. Oscar and Hazard were special cases as both players were being courted by other Premier League clubs so Chelsea deemed it necessary to act quickly before getting into a bidding war with the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
Dare I say, one of my all time favourite players, Michael Essien, may never fully recover from his 3 ACL injuries which have crippled the Ghanian powerhouse over the past 3 years who was once revered as the most sought after midfielder of his kind only 36 months ago, may need to sadly leave the club inorder to freshen up the midfield with players like Josh McEachran itching to get a look in for the new season. Is Axel Witsel the answer? Maybe so but until certain players leave, it looks unlikely. A certain is a new right back. Azpilicueta of Marseille and Debuchy seem to be the two front-runners rumored to both cost around the £8m mark. I would be happy with either having seen them both play for their respective clubs but I would be slightly concerned if Azpilicueta is unable to challenge not only Arbeloa for the full Spanish squad but it also unable to displace Montoya of Barcelona in the Olympic squad especially having been named the official captain by the Spanish F.A. on the 15th July.