The Community Shield did not exactly go according to plan for Chelsea, with a West London outfit robbed of the services of N’Golo Kante, Eden Hazard and wantaway goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois finishing a distant second to Manchester City at Wembley.
On that evidence, Maurizio Sarri’s men look a long way short of mounting a title challenge, with the players struggling to adapt to their new manager’s preferred 4-3-3 formation, but there are sure to be incomings at Stamford Bridge before the transfer window slams shut.
According to the latest media reports, first through the doors could well be Nabil Fekir, a World Cup winner with France earlier this summer and a player who came close to signing for Liverpool back in June.
The talented 25-year-old was made the captain of Lyon around this time 12 months ago and he certainly responded positively to the added responsibility, weighing in with 21 goals and nine assists across the club’s Ligue 1 and Europa League campaigns:
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Jun 2017 - Jun 2018
Goals with feet
Goals with head
Minutes per goal
A gifted technician who can operate centrally or out wide, it is believed that Sarri would deploy the French international as part of a midfield three, bringing creativity to a unit set to feature the energy of Kante and the composure of Jorginho.
Fighting back from a serious knee injury that sidelined him for seven months during the 2015/16 campaign is a testament to Fekir’s character, with the left-footed magician playing a direct role in 39 top-flight goals since returning to action:
Likely to cost in excess of €60m, the 25-year-old has the potential to develop into a real world star by moving to the Premier League, whilst his arrival could give everyone at Stamford Bridge a real lift as Sarri looks to lead the Blues to some significant silverware.
The Acca Smacker
For fans across the continent, the excitement is building. A new season is here and optimism is rife. Will new signings stun? Will titles be won? Everyone hopes, but nobody knows. Domestic football’s back, and we could be happier.
KickOff’s unique Acca Smacker is also making a timely return, bringing you Predictions, Form Streaks and Form Stats for every market, every match and every top competition. We’ve made building a winning bet so easy it feels like cheating, so why not have a go below and give those bookies a bashing?