What can Benayoun bring to table for the Premier League and FA Cup double winners Chelsea next season?
Chelsea’s new signing had this to say to the club’s official website:
“I met a few of the staff and the players I know a little bit from playing. It is a good challenge for me and I am ready for it.
“There are a lot of good players, big players. For me it is the beginning and I have to work hard and prove I can bring something to this club.
“The only thing I can promise is I will work hard and do my best, and hopefully it will be good enough.”
As many fans of the Premier League already know the Israeli plays as an attacking midfielder and likes to operate behind the strikers when playing for his country in a diamond formation, which has led to their fans nicknaming him “the diamond”.
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti struggled to play his preferred 442 diamond formation last season as many of the current playing staff struggled to play at the apex of the midfield in the playmaker role. But now that Benayoun is there he may return to his diamond formation, or may ask the player to attack in a wider role.
Benayoun was most likely brought in as a replacement for Joe Cole, who has left the club and is now available on the free. Cole is popular among the fans at Stamford Bridge and many were upset when he departed. But many would agree that Cole wasn’t worth the wages he was reportedly demanding, especially as he spent much of the past 18 months on the treatment table.
The other issue many fans have over Benayoun is the player’s age and many believe at 30 he is too old and goes against Chelsea’s proposed policy to bleed in youth.
However, I don’t believe Benayoun will deny any opportunities for young players such as Gael Kakuta as the former Liverpool player may be happier to take a backseat at times than Cole was. The Israeli also chips in with a fair few goals scoring 35 in 190 games since playing in the Premier League for both West Ham and Liverpool and chips in with a fair few assists too.
Although Benayoun is two years older than Joe Cole some question the England midfielder’s fitness as he has been fairly injury-prone over the past few seasons suffering some pretty serious injuries. Furthermore, even with a £5.5m transfer fee on £60,000-a-week the Israel captain would cost less than Cole, who was reportedly asking for £120,000-a-week (over a three year period).
It would seem ridiculous to say that Chelsea need extra creativity after scoring 141 goals in all competitions last term, but they have struggled in the playmaker role as the likes of Deco didn’t exactly work out in the role. But unlike Deco new boy Benayoun comes to the club after many years in England and is Premier League proven.
The midfielder also covers many positions following the recent departures of midfielders such as Cole, Michael Ballack, Juliano Belletti, with Deco soon to be on his way too.
Benayoun is a good deal for Chelsea, but the fans will want and expect much more this summer as they seek to freshen up an ageing squad.
Do the Chelsea fans think that Yossi Benayoun is a good buy for the Premier League champions?