After a short hiatus, it would appear that football is once again firmly back on the agenda. Transfer rumours once again fill the back page as Europe’s football calendar resets.
Chelsea’s stars will already be joined by a number of new faces as Roman Abramovich bankrolls his latest revamp of Roberto Di Matteo’s side. Eden Hazard and Marko Marin both begin their careers in the cash-rich Premiership. A list of other stars have been linked with moves to Chelsea including Porto forward Hulk, Internacional’s 20-year-old wonderkid Oscar and recently even Bayer Leverkusen’s 21-year-old Andre Schürrle.
Schürrle managed only two appearances at Euro 2012, one of which was as a substitute and in the other he himself was replaced. In 30 Bundesliga matches las year he netted seven goals, providing a further four assists. Not quite the statistics Chelsea fans are likely to get excited over, particularly with as much as £25 million being required to prise away a player Leverkusen bought only last summer.
Chelsea are of course not averse to spending exorbitant sums on new personnel; the outlay in the last 18 months has brought in players such as Fernando Torres, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard. In the last three years, Chelsea have spent approximately £245 million on their first-team squad.
Romelu Lukaku was brought in with little change from £20 million, there is little doubt that Chelsea have both the means and the history of paying over the odds to get their players. A few questions remain therefore; is Schürrle a player worth paying over the odds for? Would he be the ’2012 Lukaku’? Would Bayer Leverkusen look to cash in on their number nine?
Firstly, the interest in the fair-haired youngster from Ludwigshafen will likely be taking more than his last season into account – or at least I’d assume as much. At the end of the 2011 campaign, Schürrle was the star of a Mainz side who finished fifth in the Bundesliga (their best Bundesliga placing) and were at times scintillating to watch. Schürrle ended the season with 15 goals in 33 appearances. It was announced in the hinrunde (first half of the Bundesliga) that Schürrle would join Bayer Leverkusen at the end of the season for a fee of around £7 million.
The form of that campaign has not carried into his form for Bayer Leverkusen though, a side who struggled with the loss of coach Jupp Heynckes and Arturo Vidal in the summer of 2011. The wide-left berth he occupied looked unnatural at times, he seemed even cumbersome when driving into the box whereas at Mainz it seemed so natural and effective. If, thats a £25 million if, Roberto Di Matteo could reproduce those conditions at Stamford Bridge then Schürrle would without doubt improve the aggregate of the Chelsea squad.
Leverkusen clearly value the player highly, he is also very well regarded by German national coach Joachim Löw; although Schürrle managed only one start at Euro 2012 it was one more than Mario Götze, a player who would come with a price above £30 million. It’s difficult to envisage a situation where Leverkusen refuse £25 million for a player who was uninspiring throughout his debut campaign.
A profit as much as 300% would be difficult to refuse, new coach Sami Hyppia would have significantly more options as he looks to get Leverkusen back into the Champions League places again.
Of course, Schürrle is (as it stands) more likely than not to remain at die Werkself and they will be a stronger team with him. What Sami Hyypia and his superiors will have to consider though is whether next season they will be offered less or more than £25 million for their 21-year-old forward.