Chelsea ready to start Sarri era | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 11, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 11, 2018

Chelsea ready to start Sarri era

Blues take on Huddersfield today

A frantic 48 hours in the transfer market provided Chelsea with a timely lift after last weekend's Community Shield defeat to Manchester City.

The 2-0 loss left new Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri to rue the difference between the two teams, with Pep Guardiola's champions looking sharper and fitter than the Italian's side.

Sarri has been in post for less than four weeks and the last thing he needed was to go into the first game of the new season at Huddersfield on Saturday against the backdrop of a protracted stand-off between the club and keeper Thibaut Courtois.

Courtois's decision to stay away from the club this week in a bid to force a move to Real Madrid could have had a negative impact at Stamford Bridge. But Chelsea moved quickly to sign Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao for £71.6 million -- a world record for a keeper -- on a seven-year contract, triggering Courtois's exit to Real.

As part of the deal for the Belgian, Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic moved in the opposite direction on a season-long loan.

For a club desperate to progress after a fractious campaign that was marred by a rift between coach Antonio Conte and the club and ended with a disappointing fifth placed finish, it was good business all round.

Now, Sarri must do all he can to prevent Eden Hazard following his international teammate to Madrid, although the current signs are the Belgium star has been convinced to stay.

Sarri can continue his efforts to introduce the 4-3-3 system he used so successfully in Serie A after two seasons of 3-4-3 under Conte.

In midfield, Kovacic is likely to join Jorginho and N'Golo Kante to strengthen an area that was overrun by the champions.

This weekend, though, the main focus will be on Arrizabalaga if the 23-year-old takes his first steps in English football. The speed with which Kepa settles in will be just one of the factors that determine how Chelsea progress under Sarri's new regime.

POCH FACES ACID TEST AFTER QUIET WINDOW

Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino insists he is not unhappy at Tottenham's inaction during the transfer window, but the true test of his club's decision not to make a single signing will come as the new Premier League season unfolds.

The north London club have often done things differently when it comes to buying and selling players, with chairman Daniel Levy earning a reputation as a hard negotiator who is unafraid to leave things until late in the day.

This time, however, Thursday's transfer deadline passed without any additions being made by Tottenham -- the first time a Premier League club has failed to sign at least one new player during the summer window.

Now Tottenham boss Pochettino will be expected to build on last season's performances with the same group of players that took the club to a third placed finish.

Saturday's visit to Newcastle for their opening game will therefore offer few surprises but anything less than a convincing victory will stir debate about Levy's failure to deliver new players for his manager at the start of a campaign that will see the club move into the rebuilt White Hart Lane stadium after a year at Wembley.

Speaking ahead of the trip to St James' Park, Pochettino maintained he was not overly concerned at the inaction.

"Of course, it's difficult to understand for people that Tottenham didn't sign or sell players, but sometimes in football you need to behave differently," he said.

"If we are happy with our squad and cannot improve our squad, sometimes it's better to keep our squad together.

Stay updated on the go with The Daily Star Android & iOS News App. Click here to download it for your device.

Grameenphone:
Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 22222

Robi:
Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2222


Banglalink:
Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2225

Leave your comments

Top News

Top News

Top