Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Chelsea become favourites to sign 56-goal midfield maestro


Chelsea have reportedly emerged as the new favourites to sign France international midfielder Nabil Fekir, according to L’Equipe.

The Premier League side, who defeated Liverpool 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday thanks to Olivier Giroud’s first-half winner, have been linked with a mega money move for the Lyon star this summer.

The 24-year-old, who has 10 international caps for his country, has scored 22 goals and provided seven assists in 38 appearances in all competitions for the Ligue 1 outfit so far this season.

Fekir, who is a youth graduate of the club he was born in, has netted 56 goals in 151 games overall for his hometown Lyon.

The report claims Chelsea have moved ahead of Premier League rivals Liverpool in the £62m race to sign the attacking central midfielder, who is contracted at Parc Olympique Lyonnais until June 2020.

Fekir is expected to leave Lyon this summer after a stellar campaign in Ligue 1, whilst Arsenal and Manchester United were also said to be keeping close tabs on the midfielder earlier this term.

Maurizio Sarri will not go from one feud to another
Maurizio Sarri and Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis have been feuding. That has sparked links to Chelsea, but he will not come to a new feud.
A manager complains about transfers and is in a feud with the hierarchy of the club. The manager is incredibly passionate and stuck in their ways. The team wears blue. It is Napoli but it is easy to mistake it for Chelsea.

A familiar situation is unfolding at Napoli right now. The executives and the manager are butting heads, in this case over rotation and transfers. So the papers start churning out stories about it, linking the manager to a club expected to have an opening. Enter Chelsea, the cannon fodder of every transfer rumor.

But the rumor falls apart quickly. Sarri, in a fight with his board and threatening to quit, would go to a club who are in a fight with their manager over similar issues? How does that make sense? Sarri cannot possibly think coming to Chelsea will see him avoid any of the issues he has at Napoli.

The rumors get even weirder when a swap of Antonio Conte and Sarri is talked about. Conte, fresh off of a fight with executives over transfer policy, will go to a club with even less resources? Not only that, but he would give up his pay out from Chelsea if he takes a job in the next season (assuming he leaves at all). That would be ridiculous.

Then there is the issue of football culture. Between Rafa Benitez and Sarri, it is safe to say that Napoli now have a culture of highly organized attack. Conte could come in and build off of that, but his style is much more defensive. Meanwhile, Chelsea have a defensive, counter attacking culture and they supposedly want Sarri, an incredibly offense first manager.

Managers fail when their style clashes with the current culture of the club. Chelsea and Napoli both are at least one, middle road style manager away from being able to swap their current managers. Especially when both are upset about similar treatment.

The managerial saga will likely spin and spin until June at the earliest. Right now, Sarri is the hot rumor. A few months ago it was all Luis Enrique all the time. In another two weeks it could be someone totally different. And if Chelsea win the FA Cup and somehow make top four, the rumors could shift to Conte staying.

It simply is not clear what is going to happen right now. But Sarri moving from one bad situation to another would be a poor move for all involved destined for a brutal ending. Conte going the other way only makes the rumor more absurd. And of course, there are all the transfer rumors that follow the managerial ones.

For the next few weeks, just sit back and watch the matches as they happen. Worry about who is going to be manager next season later. Because right now no one knows and no one will know for some time yet. Swaps are unlikely and Cinderella story managerial signings even more so.

The answers will come in time. But if a rumor like Sarri to Chelsea can be torn apart so easily, then it is likely not happening.

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