Chelsea transfers: Belgium star Michy Batshuayi joins Blues
Holly Thackeray | July 3, 2016
Chelsea have announced the signing of Marseille and Belgium marksman Michy Batshuayi for a reported £33m fee on a five-year deal, and the striker will link up with the Blues squad now his nation’s current Euro 2016 adventure is over.
Blues bag Belgium’s Batshuayi
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 3, 2016
Incoming Chelsea coach Antonio Conte, currently in charge of Italy, did not get the chance to see his charge-to-be close up, despite Belgium being in the same Euro group as the Azzurri as Batshuayi remained on the bench for their opening battle.
But, the new Blues boss will certainly have been impressed by the cameo the bullish striker made against Hungary, as the 22-year-old hitman scored within two minutes of being substituted on by Red Devils manager Marc Wilmots.
Batshuayi arrives at Stamford Bridge, where he will link up at club level with international teammates Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois. Having built his reputation in Ligue 1, understandable comparisons with Blues legend Didier Drogba are often drawn due to physicality and poaching prowess.
Strong, lively and pacy striker Batshuayi notched 23 times in 50 outings for Marseille across all competitions last term, form that hasn’t gone unnoticed in England as all of Crystal Palace, Tottenham and West Ham United were linked with the Brussels-born forward.
Costa to be out in cold?
Could Batshuayi’s big money arrival signal the end of Diego Costa’s Stamford Bridge stint? Or does it instead hint that Conte will continue to play two up front in the Premier League as he has with the Azzurri and did with Juventus?
Chelsea have missed an impact player, able to make a difference off the bench, arguably since the days of Andre Schurrle – but Batshuayi’s bold fee and form suggests he should go straight into Chelsea’s XI.
Yet, should the sharpshooter be eased in gently and handed an impact role to begin with, there are good stats to support he could be a match winner for Chelsea (6/1 with Coral to win the Premier League) and Conte.
The young striker has hit three in six caps for Belgium, with all of those goals arriving after under 30 minutes on the pitch – some impact.
This potential pairing of Costa and the bruising new Belgian addition would be one set to bully Premier League centre halves with an abundance of physicality.
But, while Batshuayi does not lack for skill or the ability to beat a man, more guile will be needed to supply the mooted dangerman duo, creating questions as to how Conte will set up the rest of his team.
Could Eden Hazard be used as the main playmaker behind the pair with licence to roam, but what may that mean for the likes of Oscar? While, a sturdy midfield duo would also be required, though it remains to be seen whether Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic fit the bill for those positions.
It could certainly be an interesting season ahead at Stamford Bridge, with Batshuayi’s signing set to be the catalyst for a summer of change.