“God willing, I will be a Chelsea player next season.”
The words of Hakan Calhanoglu (via. Fanatik) on the weekend look to be more than a mere ‘come and get me plea’ and indeed hint that the Blues have sourced their replacement for Oscar at Stamford Bridge.
As we all know now, the Brazilian was sold to Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG for a staggering £60m in January, but despite his sheer quality, Antonio Conte elected not to replace him before the transfer deadline passed – even though a title challenge has been the focus of his team’s season.
It may prove that they don’t need a new midfielder – their nine-point advantage at the top of the table suggests that will be the case come May – but it’s unlikely that another window will pass with the creative space in the middle of the Chelsea engine room going empty, and Calhanoglu looks the ideal man for the position.
The Bayer Leverkusen ace – who is currently banned from professional football for four months due to a contract dispute from earlier in his career – is a classy central player with serious set-piece prowess (he’s scored seven direct free-kicks in the Bundesliga since the start of 2014/15) and his stats suggest he’ll offer Conte more than Oscar did in their six months together…
While the Turkey international’s numbers may not blow everyone away, his six goals and five assists are a good return for a midfield player after 15 league matches, while his 29 chances created (just shy of two-per-game) illustrate his creative edge. On top if that he’s not afraid to get involved in matches, with 586 passes completed (a success rate of 78%) and a sizeable 47 shots (3.1-per-outing) showing just that.