Some players are immune to coaching changes. Eden Hazard, Willian, César Azpilicueta, N’Golo Kanté, just to name a few, are great enough or versatile enough to adapt to various styles and tactical schemes. Others need someone to unlock them — Jorginho at Napoli comes to mind, becoming indispensable under Sarri after being lost under Benítez. For others, it gets even more extreme.
Victor Moses is one such extreme example. Benítez appreciated him well enough as he proved crucial squad depth in Chelsea’s busiest campaign ever in 2012-13, but Mourinho never rated him and sent him on three different loans. Then Antonio Conte came in, scratched his head how such a great player could be sent away repeatedly, and eventually made him a centerpiece of his wing-back-based tactical revolution. Two years later, Moses is once again struggling for playing-time. No longer needed as a wing-back and not quite cutting it as a winger anymore, or a full back at all, he’s been left out in the cold by Sarri.
“Moses is more suitable for playing wing-back than like a winger or a full-back, I think. I don’t know [if they have a future at Chelsea]. They have to improve but their characteristics are a little bit different.”
The other player Sarri’s talking about there is Danny Drinkwater, who’s been an even bigger lost soul this season than last. He hasn’t played since the summer, was left off the Europa League registration list, and his most significant action of the season was combing his hair with a fork on Ethan Ampadu’s Instagram story. And that pattern looks unlikely to change.
“I think the situation is that Drinkwater for me is not suitable for a midfield with two other midfielders. I told him two months ago what I think.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: ESPN
Drinkwater decided back then to stay and try to change Sarri’s mind, but surely he’ll look towards at least a loan, come January. Moses, meanwhile, is reportedly well on his way to leaving already, either on loan or permanently. Unlike Drinkwater, who has over 3.5 years of guaranteed paychecks left at Chelsea, Moses’s contract is up after next season.
Sarri probably won’t stay Chelsea head coach forever, but for the pair, both of whom are in their late-20s, the career-clock is ticking ever louder.