The pressure on Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri eased a little in the wake of his side’s 5-0 win over Huddersfield on Saturday, albeit a comprehensive victory over the side propping up the rest of the Premier League will do little to answer questions about the effectiveness of ‘Sarriball’.
Sarri has come in for some fierce criticism, particularly for his persistence in playing Jorginho in the defensive midfield role. Last summer’s signing from Napoli continues to lead the division’s passing statistics but he has struggled to adapt to the physical demands of English football and Chelsea fans are growing impatient.
The worry is that they splashed £57m on the 27-year-old and one can’t help but wonder if the Blues would have been better off making a move for Barcelona’s Andre Gomes, who has been so impressive for an inconsistent Everton team during his loan spell this season.
Gomes was one of the few Toffees players to come away from Everton’s 3-1 defeat at home to Wolves with any credit as he scored his first goal since moving to Goodison Park on loan last August. The Portuguese star is two years younger than Jorginho and would appear to be a perfect fit for ‘Sarriball’ as he is effective in possession, as well as physically capable.
Gomes, who has played more than 150 games for Valencia and Barcelona during his career, isn’t perhaps a top, top level player but he would be an ideal addition to a Chelsea midfield that appears to need some remedial work. Jorginho has struggled, Mateo Kovacic has yet to completely convince since joining on loan from Real Madrid and Ross Barkley has failed to kick on since joining from Everton.
Furthermore, N’Golo Kante has been forced into a more advanced role due to Sarri’s persistence with Jorginho in that holding role in midfield. Kante has scored three goals and laid on four assists in the top-flight this term as he has coped with the change in position admirably, although there is no doubt that he has been less effective this season than he has been in the past.
With Gomes’s loan at Everton coming to an end in the summer, we wonder if Barcelona might test Chelsea’s resolve by offering Gomes as part of a player-plus-cash move for Kante, who would be an ideal foil for Sergio Busquets at the Camp Nou.
It might be a move that suits Sarri as he bids to find players who fit his ‘Sarriball’ style, although it is fair to assume Chelsea fans would not be happy to see Kante leave. It was a transfer that had been mooted last summer and much will depend on whether Sarri is still manager when the summer transfer window opens.
Gomes would be an ideal fit for Sarri’s Chelsea but the jury is still out on whether Sarri is the right fit for Chelsea.