Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has leaped
into the defence of Gonzalo Higuain amid his struggles during the opening two
matches for the club. The Argentine joined the Blues on a temporary deal from
Juventus during the backend of the January transfer window and he has since
started against Sheffield Wednesday and Bournemouth without any success.
As such, a section of the Blues faithful
have already questioned the signing of the Argentine but Sarri, who has
previously managed the striker at Napoli, has urged for patience with the
marksman, he said: “He is still not at top fitness and it shows, coming
back from injury last month and the market meant he did not train well. He has
to find his best condition.”
The Blues have had a genuine weakness in
the striking department this term with neither Alvaro Morata nor Olivier Giroud
sufficiently impressing during the first half of the campaign. Due to this, the
west London giants were recommended by Sarri personally to recruit Higuain but
so far, the move has not borne fruit with the 31-year-old yet to adjust to the
demands of English football.
Still, the Italian tactician remains confident that the striker can find his scoring boots and he has the perfect chance to do when a struggling Huddersfield Town make the west London trip this weekend. The Terriers are winless since beating Wolverhampton Wanderers during the month of November and they are widely fancied to succumb another defeat with the Blues expected to provide a strong response after the midweek embarrassment at Bournemouth.
The Capital outfit suffered a shock and
unexpected 4-0 loss at the Vitality Stadium on Wednesday night and the outcome
has dropped them from the fourth position on the table on the goals scored to
Arsenal. The margin of defeat was the Blues’ worst of the Premier League era.
Valencia head coach Marcelino has admitted
that Michy Batshuayi could return to Chelsea at the turn of the year after a
rather unsuccessful loan spell with the Spanish club this term. The Belgium
international was loaned out by the Blues during the summer transfer window
after new manager Maurizio Sarri preferred to stick with Olivier Giroud and
Alvaro Morata as the preferred options upfront.
However, the move has not proved beneficial
for Batshuayi, who has managed just four starts from his 17 appearances for
Valencia and Marcelino has now acknowledged that the Blues could recall him
during the winter transfer window, he said: “At the right time will analyse the
final situation and we will decide [what to do with Batshuayi]. There is a
transfer [clause], I do not know what the situation is contractually, but for
all parties who want to leave, we will look for what is best for Valencia and
thus the appropriate decisions will be made.”
Batshuayi joined the Blues from Marseille during the summer of 2016 with the view to competing for the striker’s position alongside Diego Costa. However, the marksman struggled to find success during his maiden season with the club and the same has remained the case thereafter despite the unceremonious departure of Costa from the west London giants.
At present, Morata and Giroud remain the go-to men when it comes to the centre-forward duties but there has been the speculation that Sarri may prefer recruiting another top-class marksman when the transfer window reopens. As such, Batshuayi’s future with the Blues appears bleak regardless of the potential recall and he may have to pursue another temporary challenge elsewhere to enhance his prospects of regular gametime during the second half of the season. Chelsea are currently third in the Premier League table with 34 points after the opening 16 matches.
ESPN Pundit Alejandro Moreno admitted that he was wrong to suggest that Alvaro Morata would turn out to be a success with Chelsea during the ongoing season. The Spain international was brought in as a straight replacement for compatriot Diego Costa from Real Madrid, and he made an instant impact with the Blues, scoring seven goals in his first eight appearances.
However, he has since struggled to find the scoresheet regularly, owing to injuries, fitness and a loss of form, and he is currently on 13 goals across 39 games through the season. Speaking on the ESPN FC show, Moreno admitted that Morata has underperformed during his maiden English campaign, and believes his struggles have been due to Conte’s management as well as his average showing in the frontline, he said: “I have to say I was wrong on Morata. I thought he would be better than he has been. Now, Conte hasn’t exactly done him any favours. But Morata himself his performances individually have not been good.”
Chelsea star striker Alvaro Morata has had to publicly come out and re-pledge his desire to play for the club after appearing to say he wants to go back to Italy and finds living in London “too much stress”.
The Spanish international, who had previously spent two seasons in Italy with Juventus, was signed by the Blues in the summer from Real Madrid for a club-record £58m.