It’s perhaps surprising to hear Cesc Fàbregas talk about the need for two of the most expensive players Chelsea have ever acquired via the transfer market to improve and cope with the pressure of being at Chelsea, but the reality of the situation is that Chelsea are losing one of the best strikers in club history in Diego Costa and replacing him with one or two young players who still have to prove capable of leading the line consistently at a top level club. Batshuayi has done it, but only at Marseille, while Morata was never the featured center forward at Juventus or Real Madrid. That’s not to say he can’t do it, and obviously Chelsea and Conte are confident that he can, but we won’t know for sure until we actually see it.
“I’ve played with Alvaro and I’ve always had a good understanding with him. He is a striker who has a lot of potential, the same as Michy Batshuayi, to improve. It’s up to them how far they want to go.”
“They are two young strikers who will have to improve as quickly as possible because they are our main strikers and if you are the main strikers for Chelsea, who want to fight for all of the competitions, you need to score a lot of goals.”
“They will be under pressure. If you are a striker of a big team that’s what you live with and they will have to cope with it.”
It should be noted that the Fàbregas-Costa connection was almost telepathic at times and the midfielder urged Chelsea to reconsider letting Costa go at the end of last season, calling him a “very necessary” player to the club’s success. Alas, Chelsea’s minds were made up, as Conte recently revealed, all the way back in January already.
So now it’s a new season with a fresh set of challenges, though despite losing Costa, Fàbregas is probably in a better position now than twelve months ago when he was summarily dismissed as a non-Conte-type player. Cesc then proceeded to prove everybody wrong, including the manager, and he’s hoping to build on that for the season ahead.
“Last season, because of the schedule, with no Champions League and the fact we went out early in the League Cup, we were fit for most of the season and had most of the midweeks off. The manager didn’t have to make a lot of changes and I paid for it, Michy paid for it and Willian paid for it. We just had to keep working and wait for our chance which is what we all did. I think the manager has said himself that it’s a long season ahead with lots of games and we will need all of the players to be ready for when he needs us.”
“I’ve been competing for 15 seasons. That will not put me down after what happened last season and how I stood up for it. I’m ready for anybody. I feel great, I understand the philosophy of the manager very well and I know what he wants from me. I know what I need to do to help the team.”
-Cesc Fàbregas; source: Chelsea FC
Go get ‘em, tiger!
While Batshuayi, who’s had a stellar pre-season so far, has brand new competition in Morata, Willian is just about the last winger standing at this point with both Hazard and Pedro injured and Fàbregas is in a similar spot in midfield with Bakayoko expected to miss the first few weeks of the season. Those mounting injuries are obviously not an ideal situation, but that’s where the added emphasis on squad depth this season should pay off.