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24 Jul 2018

Chelsea: Can they afford to let Gonzalo Higuain join AC Milan?

Chelsea: Can they afford to let Gonzalo Higuain join AC
Milan?

The Blues have been linked with a move for the striker all summer, but now he is being linked with a move to AC Milan.

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Do Chelsea really need him?

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Could Morata bounce back?

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Reuniting Sarri and Higuain

REUTERS/Sergio Perez

Reports today coming from the Evening Standard have linked former Real Madrid star Gonzalo Higuain with a move to AC Milan. This news will come as a blow to Chelsea fans, who were desperate to see a new striker at Stamford Bridge after Alvaro Morata failed to live up to expectations this past season. 

It is expected that Higuain will leave Juventus this summer as they look to balance the books after signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid.

A fee of around £60 million is expected to be enough to secure his services, but it looks as though it will be a fellow Serie A side that gains his signature.

It begs the question: Do Chelsea even need him?

Do Chelsea really need him?

Morata’s 11 goals for Chelsea last season hardly endeared the former Juventus striker to the fans, and it looks like the Spain international could be on his way out of London this summer.

Chelsea, therefore, need to find a striker that is on the level of Diego Costa if they are to be contending for top honours in the Premier League and Europe anytime soon.

At the age of 30, Higuain is heading towards the end of his career, but he most definitely has a few more peak years in him.

REUTERS/Toru Hanai

At £60 million the transfer could be considered a risk, but if Higuain can continue to play at the level he has shown over the last few years, then Chelsea will be thrilled with their business.

The 62 goals that the Blues scored last season put them as the lowest scorers in the top six and gave them virtually no hope of competing with the two Manchester clubs at the top of the table. That total was a 23 goal drop from the previous season in which Antonio Conte captured the Premier League title.

A key difference between those two Chelsea teams? A good striker. Higuain could well fit the bill at Stamford Bridge and help to close the gap between them and the Premier League title. 

Could Morata bounce back?

Morata has had a rather up and down career so far, and his time at Chelsea could most certainly be categorised as a down period. His 11 Premier League goals hardly jump off the page and his overall play last season was average at best. He never seemed to fit into the Conte style and, as a result, Chelsea were disjointed when in attack.

Maurizio Sarri had a superb impact on Higuain at Napoli, so who is to say that he cannot sprinkle his managerial magic on Morata? Last season was hardly a strong one for any of the Chelsea squad, so is it really fair to pin blame solely on Morata?

REUTERS/John Sibley

It has seemed at times that Morata was a handy scapegoat whilst the fans longed for the hustle and bustle approach of Costa who had left for Atletico Madrid.

This season offers a chance to settle the tension at Stamford Bridge and, therefore, Morata could flourish. Though, it will be interesting to see if Sarri believes that he can get the best out of the Spain international.

Reuniting Sarri and Higuain

The 2015/16 campaign was the defining moment of both of their careers. Higuain was a striker who had failed to make the grade at Real Madrid and had been solid yet unspectacular in his two seasons at Napoli. Sarri was a journeyman manager who was onto his 15th club when he arrived at Napoli. 

Both of these men desperately needed a positive season, and they were able to help each other further their careers. Higuain scored 36 goals in 35 Serie A games and cemented a move to Italian giants Juventus.

REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Since Higuain's departure, Sarri has moved away from the one-dimensional target man and towards Dries Mertens, who effectively played as a false nine. It saw Napoli score 14 more goals the following campaign in 2016/17, and the Italian may decide to stick with this role in his front three.

2015/16, however, saw Napoli finish second behind the Old Lady as Sarri began to put himself in the frame for a top job around Europe. Together they were able to propel each other's career. At Chelsea, could they do the same?