Football

Chelsea's Secret Business

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Going into the 2015/16 season, many have been quick to criticise Chelsea's lack of transfer business this window.

While it's true that in terms of purchases their dodgy loan striker and backup keeper signings don't exactly dazzle the masses, there is one major change from last year that everybody seems to have overlooked: their wingers.

In recent interviews with the press Mourinho has been fairly transparent with the club's transfer business, which has been a welcome change from the usual smoke and mirrors.

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When discussing Salah, he said that the Egyptian would be loaned or sold, as he already had five wingers in his squad: Hazard, Willian, Cuadrado, Traore and Moses.

These five represent a huge upgrade in terms of versatility when compared with those of 2014/15. The only real winger outside of Hazard, Willian and Cuadrado last season was Izzy Brown - talented, yes, ready for first team action, no.

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Now Brown has been loaned out to Vitesse Arnhem, and they've brought back Moses and Traore from loan. I don't expect these players to be starting week in week out, but when it comes to the crunch, and Mourinho is looking to his bench for options that can change the game and have a real impact, they will be ready and waiting. Here we take a closer look at just what they can offer.

Moses is an opinion-dividing player: half the football world seems divided, the other half don't seem to have an opinion.

But he's gone on the pre-season tour, Mourinho himself has mentioned him as an option for the upcoming season, and when you look at the stats it's hard not to wonder why he went out on loan at all.

Moses' strength is a real asset, and he is a player who offers something very different to the other wingers on the books.

He is closer in style to the Cuadrado of old, in that he is a true wide man and likes to run at defenders with the ball, as shown by his 3.32 successful take-ons per game last season, to Willian's 1.75 and Cuadrado's paltry 0.42.

He is a better creator than either of the other two as well, creating 1.68 chances per game for his teammates, to Willian's 1.36 and Cuadrado's 0.50.

He already has lots of Premier League experience, and is surprisingly a better defender off the ball than Willian, with 0.68 clearances to Willian's 0.42, 1.16 interceptions to the Brazilian's 0.36 and 1.21 tackles won to his 0.83 (all statistics per 90 minutes).

Cuadrado also comes off worse in comparison. Add to all this the fact that the Nigerian international is still only 24, and Mourinho should be confident that he can mould him into the type of player he's looking for.

Bertrand Traore also offers something far different from the others, even if just for the fact that he is left-footed.

Wherever Mourinho has gone he has always looked for inverted wingers to play the flanks, and in Traore he has an extremely exciting one.

He is arguably the most direct goal threat that Chelsea have as a winger, outlined by his 17 goals last season.

Of course that was from a more central role, and also in the Eredivise, but there's no denying he has a good eye for a finish, and at only 19 he's already been strongly endorsed by Mourinho on a number of occasions.

He presents a threat from outside the box, scoring four goals last season from range to Willian's one. In terms of shots alone he appears more willing to try his luck, with comfortably more than twice as many shots on goal per game than Willian.

He also boasts similar assists to Willian, with them both registering five last season. He should of course be used sparingly, as he is not yet ready to take on the mantle of starter at a club like Chelsea and a league like the Premiership, but there's little doubt he can cut in from the flanks and offer a much better end product than Willian or Cuadrado.

Mourinho should look to protect him while easing him into the English style of play in the top flight, as he did to great effect with Zouma last season. Perhaps not yet a true go-to option, he would still present something different to the others, and could very well impact games throughout the season.

Having these two players to come off the bench is the reason Chelsea are looking stronger than they did last season, the reason Mourinho has stated categorically that he doesn't need any new wingers, and the reason Chelsea look set to defend the title this season, despite every rival splashing out on new talent. They will be hard to knock off the top perch.

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Topics:
Victor Moses
Juan Cuadrado
Willian
Premier League
Jose Mourinho
Juan Cuadrado
Chelsea
Football

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