The Phillippe Coutinho to Chelsea rumour has been gaining a lot of traction recently, with supposedly a lot of interest from all parties. However, for me, this would not be a good move for the club. I’m not going to try and deny that he’s a very talented player, because when he’s play playing his game he is world class, but for a number of reasons I think that this would be a bad move for the club.
To build a world class squad the club need to buy the right players, players who suit a style of play and suit each other’s games. A mistake big clubs always make when trying to build a squad is trying to just acquire the biggest names they can, in hope that they can somehow mesh it all together and it’ll work. Look at Liverpool for example, they didn’t sign any massive ‘big name’ players, and they’re now the best team in the world. Their front three cost £100 million combined, Robertson came from Hull etc. The two biggest money signings in Allison and Van Dijk weren’t household names at the time, Liverpool just knew who fitted what they need, and did everything to get those players. If Chelsea were to sign Coutinho, they would be making a mistake for this exact reason. He’d be signed for his name, and what he’s done at his best in the past, not because he fills a hole in the squad, that is not the type of signing Chelsea need to be making at the minute.
So why doesn’t Coutinho fit Chelsea’s needs? I’m going to start by discussing his off the ball, defensive work. A big part of Lampard’s system is pressing, he’s stressed how the players are going to need to be in the best fitness of their life to play his football because of the work rate he expects to see on the pitch in order to maintain an aggressive press for 90 minutes. In short, Coutinho won’t do this. At Liverpool he kept his place in the side because of his talent and what he can do on the ball, but since he’s left, they’ve gone up a level. A big part of their improvement has been their work off of the ball, their pressing game is the best in world football and Chelsea won’t be able to get close to that level with Coutinho in the side.
The Ziyech signing
Another reason that Coutinho wouldn’t really help Chelsea is that we’ve already signed Ziyech. Coutinho is a similar profile player to ZIyech, will attempt the outrageous a lot, whether it’s with a seemingly impossible pass, or hitting ridiculous longshots etc. This leads to them both having a very inefficient game, losing the ball in a lot of situations where they didn’t need to, meaning allot of unforced errors, but when it works a goal comes out of nothing, and these moments of brilliance make the players what they are. Having one player like this is enough. Having two makes it very hard to dominate the game as you’ll just lose the ball too much, with both players spraying longshots into the stands, and long passes off the pitch too often. Ziyech brings a lot of what Coutinho does with the added bonus of a left foot and being someone willing to press and work hard off the ball. I said, having both of these guys in a line up together wouldn’t be as pretty as it may looks on paper.
A third reason that Coutinho isn’t needed in West London is a positional issue. For me, our best formation is the 433, and this is what we need to focus on next season. In a 433 Coutinho can either play left wing, where we have Hudson-Odoi and Pulisic, or as an 8, where we have Mount, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, Kanté, Barkley as well as younger players who will be hoping to secure more minutes in the future. Unless there are big outgoings in the summer, I just can’t see there being room for Coutinho to be honest. Admittedly we will play the 4231 a lot next season too, but Lampard needs the 10 to press, which is why Mount got so much game time this season, and with Ziyech and Mason both able to do that at the 10 I don’t think that Coutinho is needed there either.
So, as much as I won’t doubt the talent of Coutinho, because he’s an excellent passer of the ball with one of the best long-range shooting technique’s in Europe. He has the ability to be a world class creative and goalscoring hub for a side, but I do not think he is the right man to bring to Chelsea. We need to focus on bringing the right players to the club, not just the biggest names. Coutinho is a very talented, marquee big name player, but he is not the right player. He won’t press, he can’t co-exist with Ziyech and we’re overcrowded in his positions, so as talented he is, I hope Chelsea steer clear of him this summer.
Featured image sourced from – World Football Index