Chelsea left ruing ‘their Neymar’ transfer decision as Graham Potter handed World Cup warning
If Chelsea’s poor transfer strategy needed proving in a one two week spell, this was it. Players moving from club outcast to international superstar isn’t uncommon, but the Blues have perhaps seen more players than most relish the stage for their country rather than with the lion logo on their chest.
Be it Timo Werner scoring goals for Germany when he couldn’t at Stamford Bridge – though not so much right now – or even Kai Havertz . Ethan Ampadu looking solid for Wales but never truly trusted by Chelsea, Christian Pulisic being USA’s star and not able to find much love in London.
It’s been all too evident that players haven’t been able to fit into just what Chelsea have wanted them to be. There’s hardly been a player at the World Cup that hasn’t played to their current ability or above it from the contigent that left Graham Potter’s squad.
Compare that to the dire state of Chelsea’s performances before the domestic break and it’s a damning representation of where things have gone wrong. It’s not to say that Potter should replicate the international teams’ tactics, but that there truly hasn’t been a plan in place for players to fit at SW6.
Hakim Ziyech perhaps fits this mould as much as any. The winger has a goal and an assist in a very impressive Morocco team that progressed from a group with Belgium. He looks to be the livewire of his nation but hasn’t shown any form of consistency since joining Chelsea in 2020. Such is his importance, Martin Keown has used the ultimate comparison for praise, saying,
“Ziyech maybe just needed an arm around the shoulder, they’re a totally different team with him in the side. I think he’s their Neymar.”
The 29-year-old had moved on from international football after falling out with the previous head coach, Vahid Halihodzic, but has been made integral once more by Walid Regragui. For Potter it might be too late to get the best from Ziyech, but his World Cup has already proven that Chelsea didn’t buy a bad player but maybe just the wrong player for the time.