Another one bites the dust for Chelsea. Juventus forward Gonzalo Higuain looks set to join AC Milan after snubbing interest from Maurizio Sarri in the Premier League.
Reports on Monday suggest that the Argentina striker will move to the Milan club on an initial loan deal before making a permanent £32 million move. If the transfer does materialise then it will be another kick in the teeth for the London club.
In recent weeks, Chelsea have missed out on some key targets, including one of Russia’s World Cup hero’s, Aleksandr Golovin, who opted to move to France and join Monaco.
At this moment in time, the recently-appointed Sarri has three senior strikers under his belt in Alvaro Morata, Olivier Giroud, and Michy Batshuayi.
However, with Higuain set to stay in Italy, will Sarri be banging on the owners door because he feels his side lack quality and a cutting edge upfront?
As you can see from the graphic above, in their respective leagues, Higuain outshone his striker counterparts by finding the back of the net on 15 occasions from his 30 matches in Serie A. Chelsea’s big-money summer signing, Morata struggled for large parts of the season scoring only three league goals after Christmas.
France World Cup winner, Giroud made his move to Stamford Bridge from the Emirates Stadium in January. What was apparent about Giroud’s 13 league games is that he won 65% of his aerial duels. This is relatively higher than AC Milan-bound Higuain who surprisingly won only a tad over 33 % of his aerial battles. However, he did play in a team that won the league title and didn’t have to resort to long balls in the final ten minutes because they were behind in the match.
During his time at Napoli, Sarri preferred to play a possession-based game but he demanded organisation and fight. Not too dissimilar to Antonio Conte.
If Sarri decides to go with pace up front then Chelsea’s forgotten man, Batshuayi may come back into the fold. The Belgian forward was on loan at Borussia Dortmund for the second half of the campaign, netting on seven occasions from his nine matches. If Sarri can teach the youngster to be more box clever then the Higuain snub may be a blessing in disguise.
Chelsea shouldn’t be too distraught at missing out on Higuain because they have a player in Giroud who can do a similar or an even better job than the Argentina man. Higuain is coming towards the back end of his career, and if truth be told, his prolific scoring days are behind him. The London club should focus their attention on a younger target and someone who can offer more movement up front.