Loic Remy’s move to Chelsea: Limited options 0

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Loic Remy completed his move to Chelsea today, after the club agreed to meet the release-clause within his QPR contract.

In some ways it’s a very understandable move, because Remy will provide Jose Mourinho with a back-up source of goals and ease the work-load on Diego Costa.  The French forward is, as he showed at Newcastle last season, one of the most elegant, composed composed finishers in the Premier League, and he also offers a level of mobility and pitch-stretching pace that Didier Drogba obviously no longer has.

From another perspective, though, it feels like both parties have really just settled for late options in this window.  Remy is in a strange position: he’s too good a player to stay at Loftus Road, and yet he’s not quite right for Stamford Bridge.  He’ll never properly challenge Costa for his place, because he’s just not balanced enough to do so - and he can’t really play any of the wide-forward positions within Mourinho’s formation.

Yes, at Newcastle he periodically started from the left-hand side, but the defensive requirements in that system were far less than they are at Chelsea and Mourinho is unlikely to trust him as a wide-forward - so his only route into the first-team is going to be as a number nine.  Remy needs to be mindful of his age and realise that, at twenty-seven, he is already in his prime and has two or three years left of operating at the extent of his physical capabilities.  This is not really the time to play a supporting role, and as such you can only really imagine his stay in South-West London lasting one or two seasons at most.

The circumstances around this move don’t make a whole lot of sense; the club have presumably known for quite some time that Fernando Torres was surplus to requirements, so it’s surprising to see them wait this long before bringing in a replacement.  Yes, Torres only completed his loan move this week and, yes, there was apparently a lot of difficulty in getting him out the door, but even so - spending substantially on a striker of Remy’s age doesn’t correlate with Chelsea’s usual approach in the market, and as such this feels like an eleventh-hour lunge - or at least evidence of the paucity of forward options available at the moment.

That’s a very negative spin and, clearly, there are positives to this for both parties, but it just feels like a slightly awkward fit.

 

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