With Eden Hazard gone, just who will step up for Chelsea?
Well, Christian Pulisic has been signed and is being billed as the club’s long-term replacement for Hazard. However, at just 20 years of age, the American is wholly inexperienced and unable to fulfill such an ambition. Pulisic has only ever scored 19 goals and assisted a further 26 in 127 Borussia Dortmund games. For a winger who cost over £55 million, you’d expect higher goal contributions. There is a very low probability that Pulisic enjoys a season as successful as Hazard did the last year, and so Chelsea need to turn to someone else.
Will it be the youth players returning from loan spells?
With Chelsea banned for the next two transfer window’s there remains the possibility of Chelsea retaining the services of various academy players, including Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, and Reece James. However, to trust returning youth players, especially in an experienced Chelsea side that struggled massively last season would be foolish, as the majority of the youth players returning to the club have barely made senior appearances for the club.
So, that leaves just Olivier Giroud, Willian, and Pedro as Chelsea’s senior attackers
Giroud is 33-years-old and has been struggling massively since joining Chelsea, performing in just Europe’s second-tier competition, the Europa League. So, to rely on a striker who was already proved unreliable in major competitions alongside Hazard is simply bonkers.
That leaves Willian and Pedro as Chelsea’s only two remaining attackers, and after enduring less than promising seasons at Stamford Bridge last season, and with no incomings this summer, the two need to step-up next season.
Willian and Pedro combined for 21 goals and 19 assists in all competitions last season, which was just two goals altogether than what Hazard contributed to Chelsea’s season himself. The statistics make for grim reading for the wingers, who got away with relying on Hazard far too often last season.
Any Chelsea goal next season will need to come from the two wingers, as the club sold creative midfielder Cesc Fabregas to Monaco and have Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi out for long spells due to injury. Failure to contribute sufficiently next season from Willian and Pedro will see Chelsea struggle massively next season.
Hazard is gone, and Chelsea can’t reverse the decision. Willian and Pedro got away with a lot last season, and with a transfer window ban in force and a raft of inexperienced players alongside them, the two experienced internationals need to turn up next season to ensure Chelsea doesn’t suffer.