London: Chelsea have taken their summer spending beyond £70 million (Dh407 million) and added yet another attacking midfielder after a £10 million deal was finally agreed last night for Wigan Athletic’s Victor Moses.
Wigan claimed that the bid was Chelsea’s fifth this summer for the 21 year-old and he has now been given permission to speak with the European champions. Personal terms are expected to be a formality, with Moses having already told Wigan that he was keen to move to Stamford Bridge.
The imminent arrival of Moses is another sign both of Roman Abramovich’s ongoing financial commitment to Chelsea but also the desire to move to a style of football which relies heavily upon the attacking options behind a main central striker in a 4-2-3-1 system. As well as Moses, Chelsea have already signed Eden Hazard (£32 million), Oscar (£25 million) and Marko Marin (£7 million) during this transfer window.
Moses, though, will offer a rather different option and, while he may struggle for regular first-team football, he should add both pace and width to the squad. His arrival will also place a further question mark over the future of Florent Malouda, who has played no part in Chelsea’s opening two matches of the season.
A statement on Wigan’s website last night announced that, after weeks of negotiations, a deal had been struck for Moses.
“The club can confirm that after four unsuccessful bids from Chelsea for Victor Moses, a fifth bid has today finally met the valuation and terms set by Wigan Athletic and been accepted. The player has been given permission to speak with Chelsea,” it said.
Even after now spending almost £90 million on new players during 2012, Chelsea’s activity in this transfer window is unlikely to end with Moses. Roberto di Matteo, the Chelsea manager, has suggested that Chelsea are “light” in terms of their strikers, with Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge competing for the main central attacker’s role.
Negotiations are also at an advanced stage for Marseille right-back Cesar Azpilicueta. The 22 year-old was omitted from Marseille’s squad for last night’s Europa League match with FC Sheriff Tiraspol.
Azpilicueta is expected to cost £7 million and agree a five-year deal as the long-term replacement for Jose Bosingwa, who was released earlier this summer. His arrival would provide further options among the back four, with Gary Cahill admitting yesterday that Chelsea risk being exposed defensively as they implement their new attacking system.
Although Cahill now refers to Fernando Torres as “the main man”, it has been the more mercurial skills of Hazard and, to a lesser extent Juan Mata, Ramires and Oscar, around which Chelsea’s new formation is based.
“We have got attacking minded players that want to show their flair and ability,” said Cahill. “They did that so you can’t really complain as they were so dangerous in and around the box. Maybe defensively we might be a little bit more exposed. That is something us at the back have got to organise and deal with.
“I don’t think you want to stop the way they play because I thought the attacking players were fantastic. I certainly wouldn’t say we were boring against Reading — there was some exciting stuff. I thought Hazard was phenomenal.”
What proved to be the winning goal on Wednesday was scored from an offside position by Torres, whose form is likely to be pivotal in deciding whether Chelsea do uphold their strong start. Strikers often talk of being sparked out of a slump by a slice of luck and, after his drought last year, such a fortuitous first Premier League goal of the season looks like a good omen.
“He has dealt with pressure right the way through his career,” said Cahill. “He is the main man this year and he’s got off to a fantastic start.”