No man polarised opinion at Arsenal more than Arsene Wenger. After 24 years at the helm of the famous London club and a relationship that had well and truly soured over recent years, the Frenchman departed in May.
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When Romelu Lukaku shockingly turned down the chance to reunite with his old club and move to the red half of Manchester, Chelsea fans were left to wonder if they would ever find the right player to replace outgoing striker Diego Costa.
Just over a week later, Roman Abramovich splashed out $91 million for Spanish star Alvaro Morata, who Antonio Conte said was his “first choice”.
I think he is a quality player with many attributes to his game that can help Chelsea going forward. He is the complete all-round player that every team wishes they could have, so why is the Spaniard receiving so much unnecessary criticism from supporters and pundits?
“He hasn’t proven himself in the Premier League”, “He has never started consistently in his career”, “He had a poor preseason” – these are just some of the comments I have heard from friends who follow Chelsea and pundits who know a lot about the game.
For me these are weak excuses to put him down, and he’ll prove all the doubters wrong come May when the season comes to an end.
Okay, so why should everyone have faith in this 24-year-old?
Firstly, he has played with the biggest club in world football under manager Zidane and alongside arguably the best player in the world right now in Cristiano Ronaldo, which has helped him develop. He managed to obtain the best goals-to-game ratio in Europe, and he mostly came off the bench to make an impact.
He has so many qualities that make him a better fit for Chelsea than Lukaku. Conte can use him in so many different ways, such as by allowing him to drop deep, link up play and hold up the ball to bring others into play. He is also very good in the air and intelligent off the ball, making runs into the box with his pace, which creates a real threat to any defence. This is something the Belgian doesn’t have, giving Chelsea more variety in their style of play.
You could say goals are an important part of a striker’s game, and Morata doesn’t have a problem ticking that box. With 49 goals in 145 appearances for club and country throughout his career he has become one of the promising strikers in world football. Deadly is the word that would describe his presence in front of goal.
Unlike Lukaku, Morata delivers in the big games, which was occurrent when he was a regular starter at Juventus before his second stint with Real Madrid. Goals against Manchester City and Sevilla in the Champions League made the world take notice. A goal in both legs of the semi-final triumph over his former teammates at Madrid gave him the opportunity to score in the 2015 Champions League final against Barcelona in Berlin.
He has done it domestically as well, scoring a brace against Torino in the Turin derby and scoring the winner in extra time against AC Milan in the 2016 Coppa Italia final.
His run against Bayern Munich in the knockout stages of the Champions League to assist Juan Cuadrado only proved his all-round game was something to admire and applaud.
Looking ahead to this season with his new club, he is very much expected to be the main man up top, especially in the Premier League and the Champions League. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone if he hits the ground running.
This is the best signing of the Premier League transfer window for me, and I’m predicting he’ll score more than 30 goals in all competitions this season along with winning the EPL golden boot.
The people who have given Morata no hope of success will be the ones ending up having pie on their face.
Alvaro, it’s time to prove the doubters wrong.