If you played Football Manager between 2013 and 2015 then Chelsea’s £40million signing of Mateo Kovacic will look an absolute steal.
If, however, you watched the Croatian’s loan spell in London last season you might be scratching your head at the hefty price tag.
Especially if you take a glance at the 25-year-old’s sub-standard statistics.
Kovacic didn’t score a goal in his 51 appearances for The Blues and only provided two assists in those games.
English duo, Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek both managed over 10 goal involvements, with Loftus-Cheek topping the midfield pile with ten goals and five assists in his 40 games.
Deep-lying Jorginho managed just two goals and, remarkably, no assists in his 54 games while N’Golo Kante’s style is better represented through tackles and interceptions.
Both of which he is way out in front of his team-mates.
With Tiemou Bakayoko, Mason Mount and Danny Drinkwater all returning to the fold, it begs the question – Is the Croatian worth it?
Well, for a start, Chelsea’s transfer ban means there are no other new players walking through the front doors of their Cobham training ground – apart from Christian Pulisic, who was signed in January.
And with Eden Hazard’s £100mil move to Real Madrid having already been finalised, there is definitely money in the kitty.
But you should never spend for the sake of spending…
Kovacic, as my FM2014 boys will know, possesses qualities beyond scoring and interceptions.
Qualities including; first touch, technique, determination, work rate and composure.
Awards about as meaningless as ‘Most Improved’ to a footballing neanderthal, but important traits to anyone who knows the game.
Frank Lampard’s imminent return to Stamford Bridge has been ridiculed before it has been announced.
Chelsea’s squad is too old in some areas, not experienced enough in others and with a transfer ban, some are claiming this is a step too far for the relatively inexperienced Lampard.
One area where Chelsea’s all-time record goalscorer can relax is in the position he filled for 13 years at the west London club – the middle of the park.
There is enough of a goal threat from Loftus-Cheek and Barkley and enough destruction to be offered from Bakayoko and Kante.
Jorginho, Kovacic and Mount can provide guile and a touch of class to proceedings while Danny Drinkwater is surely resigned to another season on the backbenches.
While not all Chelsea fans are quite so enthusiastic about the return of the midfielder, anyone who knows anything about Football Manager will tell you Chelsea have a potential Ballon d’Or winner on their hands over the next two seasons.
Well, either him or Vincent Aboubakar…