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7 minutes ago, Jas said:

Given almost the entire first team squad is gonna be away when pre-season starts, hardly a surprise if Tuchel needs the numbers to fill up the spaces and use that to maybe assess 2-3 players. May or may not come to anything in the end. 

Any idea when pre season starts?

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lol, just to torture us all (and it explains a lot about why I was so invested in him)


How Achraf Hakimi could be a potent source of goals and creativity for Chelsea




In a transfer market most expected would be dominated by the potential availability of high-profile forwards, the lucrative summer deal with the most urgency about it centres on a wing-back.

Achraf Hakimi will leave new Italian champions Inter Milan in this window to join either Paris Saint-Germain or Chelsea for a fee that could approach £70 million.

Given how few players could command such a sum in this pandemic-impacted window, it’s a huge statement about a 22-year-old already preparing to represent the fourth elite European club of his professional career.

Hakimi, however, is no ordinary wing-back. He is a unique attacking weapon who played a key role in Antonio Conte’s impressive Inter side ending nine years of Juventus dominance in Serie A, registering seven goals and eight assists in playing all but one of their 38 league games last season.

Chelsea’s recruitment department have tracked his progress carefully for years, continuing to monitor him even as Reece James emerged under Frank Lampard to seemingly establish himself as a long-term fixture on the right of their back line. Lampard’s replacement Thomas Tuchel is also a keen admirer of Hakimi but, in terms of both age and ability, he very much fits the profile of a long-term club target.

Now that he is available, it is no surprise to see Chelsea trying hard to sign Hakimi. But what exactly makes him special, and what would he bring to a team that has just lifted the European Cup? Let’s take a closer look…

Tommaso Augello has no reason to suspect imminent humiliation.

In first-half stoppage time, with his Sampdoria side leading Inter 2-0 back in January, he tracks Hakimi as the Morocco international advances into the opposition half while surveying his options. With nearby defenders ready to block any attempted passes inside and Augello well-positioned to guard against any surge down the right touchline, nothing about the situation suggests this is a promising Inter attack.


So what happens next is startling.

Undeterred by giving up several yards to his opponent, Hakimi knocks the ball out of his feet and breaks into a sprint. Almost immediately he races past Augello, easily brushing off the Sampdoria man’s attempted pressure and leaving him in a heap on the floor before arcing his dribble inward a little and preparing to cross.

Out of nothing, he has generated a situation that might yield a chance for one of four Inter team-mates waiting in a crowded penalty area.


On this occasion, Hakimi’s delivery is disappointing and Lorenzo Tonelli heads it clear at the near post, but many of Inter’s other opponents last season did not get off so lightly.

Hakimi served notice of his attacking potential in Conte’s 3-5-2 system on his Serie A debut last September.

Here, Inter trail Fiorentina 3-2 in the 87th minute when he locks eyes with team-mate Alexis Sanchez and embarks on a perfectly-timed dart behind the visiting defence.


Arriving just as Sanchez’s precise floated pass drops at his feet, Hakimi meets it with a first-time low cross that gives Romelu Lukaku the simplest of chances to equalise. He converts it, and Inter go on to win 4-3.


Just as he had with Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses in his Chelsea days, Conte instructed his Inter wing-backs to play as high up the pitch as possible when the team had possession. This provided natural crossing width when the ball found its way to their flank and an additional penalty area presence if it was on the opposite side.

Hakimi, who was a forward for much of his youth career at Real Madrid before being converted into a flying threat wide on the right, was a perfect fit for this dual attacking brief.

Four days after creating that equaliser against Fiorentina, Hakimi scored his first Inter goal in a 5-2 win away at Benevento.

The danger initially comes from the left flank, where Ashley Young aims a low cross towards Lukaku…


…and when the Belgian fails to connect at the near post, Hakimi arrives at the right time and place behind him to poke the ball into the net.


Using smarterscout — a tool that uses advanced metrics to give players a rating from zero to 99 based on either how often they perform a specific action compared to others playing in their position, or how effective they are at it — it’s easier to see the huge value Hakimi provided Inter in the final third.

The only attacking metric below in which he does not rank significantly above the average for right midfielders is progressive passing (defined as passes that move the ball 10 metres or more upfield), and that can be explained by the fact he generally received the ball when already in the final third.


From those positions, Hakimi displayed an ability to consistently pick out team-mates with an impressive array of dangerous crosses.

Here, driven slightly wide by a Nicolo Barella pass during a 2-1 derby defeat by AC Milan in October, he manages to dig out a looping cross towards Lautaro Martinez at the back post…


…and the Argentinian’s header forces Simon Kjaer into a goal-line clearance.


Two months later, that pair linked up again to a more devastating effect.

Hakimi is being closed down here by three Verona defenders as he prepares to deliver the ball towards a marked Martinez near the penalty spot…


…but his cross is perfect, and the striker connects with a brilliant volley into the far corner.


Later in that January game against Sampdoria where he tormented Augello, the two men are here battling for a dropping ball on the right in what seems a distinctly unpromising position for Inter — but Hakimi sees a possibility to hook a cross towards Sanchez…


…and the result is a good headed chance that the former Arsenal and Manchester United forward can only put wide.


Here, against Juventus in February, Hakimi is faced with a crowded penalty area after exchanging passes with Marcelo Brozovic from a short corner and recognises a better option…


…instead of picking out Christian Eriksen in a sea of space on the edge of the penalty area. The Denmark international should score but sees his scuffed shot blocked.


Hakimi’s blistering speed frequently devastated opponents last season.

As recently as April, tracking data from Skillcorner — a platform Liverpool, Milan and other elite clubs consult for physical metrics — ranked him as the fastest player in Serie A and behind only Kylian Mbappe and Kyle Walker across Europe’s top five domestic leagues for PSV-99, a metric that reflects the peak speed of a player and his ability to reach it multiple times. He also covered the most combined sprinting distance and, for his position, sprinted around 25 per cent (about 100 metres per 90 minutes) more in distance than the second-fastest wing-back in Serie A (Manuel Lazzari of Lazio).

In that same February match against Juventus, Hakimi is approximately level with Danilo as he prepares to hit full stride to overlap Lukaku with Inter attacking down the right flank…


…Danilo is left labouring in the Moroccan’s wake, and is forced into a desperate foul just outside his own penalty area to prevent Hakimi from surging into a scoring position.


Hakimi forged a particularly productive chemistry with Lukaku, regularly using the Belgium international as a focal point to link up with during his frequent forward bursts. Here, with an April game against Cagliari deadlocked deep in the second half, he slips a ball into the feet of his No 9 then sets off at full speed towards the byline.


Lukaku holds off his defender and executes the return pass perfectly, giving Hakimi the opportunity to slide the ball low across the six-yard box for Matteo Darmian to tap in the only goal of the game.


In the first half of the Milan derby in February, Hakimi receives the ball in the right-back spot with all of his easy passing options marked, so instead looks down the touchline…


…and hits a long, raking low pass that enables Lukaku to roll Alessio Romagnoli and set Inter on the attack.


Any team attempting to play a high defensive line against Hakimi and Lukaku had no margin for error.

Borussia Monchengladbach get it wrong here in a Champions League group game from December, giving Sanchez the time and space to lift a ball over the top for his right wing-back to chase…


…and Hakimi manages to slip a low cross through the legs of his defender, giving Lukaku an easy chance that he converts.


In addition to doing the simple things well, Hakimi also proved himself capable of moments of individual brilliance.

Here, in the second half of a January game against Roma, he receives the ball close to his normal position with plenty of crossing options…


…but instead shifts it onto his supposedly weaker left foot and arrows a shot into the top corner.


Hakimi was one of the primary attacking weapons who powered Inter’s charge to the title: of the regular starters in Conte’s squad, only Lukaku (3.6), Brozovic (3), Barella (2.9) and Martinez (2.8) registered more than his 2.5 shot-creating actions per 90 minutes.

It’s easy to see why Conte was not inclined to stick around when the club’s owners Suning made it clear that key players, not least his young flying wing-back, would need to be sold to balance the books.

Chelsea signing Hakimi would pose some interesting questions.

Would it mean James moving full-time to the right side of a three-man central defence? Would it also mean Tuchel tying himself to the 3-4-2-1 system that brought Champions League final glory last month?

As the graphic below illustrates, Hakimi spent virtually none of his time at Inter last season operating as a traditional right-back.


In many respects, he fits perfectly into the way Tuchel has built this Chelsea team since replacing Lampard in January. His speed, ball-carrying ability and sharp decision-making in the final third would benefit a side that frequently created but wasted promising transition chances.

At Inter, he was also above average as an individual defender.


Hakimi averaged 16.9 pressures per 90 minutes in Serie A last season, a figure that would have ranked behind only Mason Mount, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech in the Chelsea squad. Five of those were in the attacking third of the pitch, compared to just 2.3 in the same area for Ben Chilwell and 1.9 for James. Callum Hudson-Odoi, deployed as a right wing-back several times by Tuchel, averaged 4.4 pressures in the attacking third.

Hudson-Odoi might be the player put most at risk by Hakimi’s arrival, having already seen the bulk of his wing-back minutes given to James in the final stretch of last season.

Whether or not they can justify the expense to make the deal happen depends on how feasible it is to sign an elite No 9 this summer — imagine Chelsea reuniting Lukaku and Hakimi! — and how big a proportion of owner Roman Abramovich’s available funds will need to be devoted to meeting that most pressing need. The club’s current academy player of the year, 18-year-old Tino Livramento, also happens to be a right wing-back with a similar skill set to Hakimi’s.

There is no doubt, however, that Hakimi would give a Chelsea team that appeared worryingly toothless at times last season another potent source of goals and creation.

When you’re the Champions League holders, that kind of upgrade is hard to ignore.

Edited by Vesper
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3 minutes ago, NikkiCFC said:

Any idea when pre season starts?

No clue. Am guessing that week of July 5, assuming there are gonna be additional friendlies added to pre-season. 

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1 hour ago, Vybz Kartel said:

Hear me out, I think we could do no worse than going for Renato Sanches. He looks like a great spark off the bench, I would trade Sanches for Kova for example. 

You was onto something until the swapping for Kova part 🤣

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Don’t think Hakimi is good, I have expressed this from the get go. He will be very ordinary in the the PL against much better athletes, so hoping he goes to PSG.

We also saw Alonso and Moses go through a purple patch under Conte, again I wouldn’t touch him.


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8 minutes ago, Clockwork said:

Don’t think Hakimi is good, I have expressed this from the get go. He will be very ordinary in the the PL against much better athletes, so hoping he goes to PSG.

We also saw Alonso and Moses go through a purple patch under Conte, again I wouldn’t touch him.


And I could not disagree with you more. He is a special player, I have a an overall pretty good track record and put in some hard yards in my following players in the market, so no sale for me with your shade toss, sorry. We deffo missed a trick.

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1 hour ago, DDA said:

You was onto something until the swapping for Kova part 🤣

Tuchel rates the hell out of Kova, he is going nowhere, so completely agree.

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11 hours ago, King Kante said:


Di Marzio got called out for his BS by Benzema himself. There are plenty of other examples of him talking absolute nonsense but I cannot be bothered to go through his twitter to point them out. 

I mean, who the feck is that? First time I have ever seen him. What credentials does he have to know the inner workings of top level football transfers?

Not being funny but 99.9999999999% of stuff on twitter is total and utter bollocks. The idiots running those accounts just write whatever to get clicks and shares to get the $$$$ rolling in. Unfortunately there are enough people who don't question why a player/agent would talk to a complete non entity about a multimillion confidential deal for them to only go and share it with their 100k/millionw of 'followers'.


Would you also call Matt Law a BS too? after all he made mistakes more than twice, i give you few examples:

Law accused Rudiger bullied an academy players and went to the board to get Lampard sacked. 


Here Law claimed we didn't bid for Luiz only to find the next day we end up signed Luiz on the deadline day.

My point is no journo 100% correct even the most reliable like Law, Ornestein, Di Mazrio have made some mistakes more than twice. But, they for sure had far more credibility than BS journos like Schira, Sierra, Kaveh, Simon Phillips, Fjortoft. and many more. 

Edited by Blues Forever
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13 hours ago, Vybz Kartel said:

Hear me out, I think we could do no worse than going for Renato Sanches. He looks like a great spark off the bench, I would trade Sanches for Kova for example. 

Absolutely not for me. Don't believe in that lad at all. Be shocked and disappointed if he becomes a Chelsea player.




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13 hours ago, R2D2 said:

It's over mate, he is gone.


Wow a lot of money for a fullback. 

I agree with @Pizy this was more of a luxurious signing for us. If we could get him great, if not, it's not the end of the world. 

What we really need is a forward. I rather spend all our money on that. I still say if we can't get Haaland, then go for Lewa. Heck if Benzema would like to leave ala Sergio Ramos he would be awesome as well. We have a young team, so someone with experience is welcome. 

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6 minutes ago, MoroccanBlue said:

If there is any truth to that no way Dortmund accept. 

Of course they won't accept that can Marina actually use the skills some pretend here she has and sell the fringe players before actually trying to make an offer for Haaland?

Edited by R2D2
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I think  85m+Abraham is legit offert .

they get good money to invest in they squad and take one really good striker  like Tammy Abraham which can become a beast like Haaland in Bundesliga .

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2 minutes ago, milka said:

I think  85m+Abraham is legit offert .

they get good money to invest in they squad and take one really good striker  like Tammy Abraham which can become a beast like Haaland in Bundesliga .

No one fucking rates Abraham outside a few English teams, they refused buying Isak back for 30 mil who is better and younger and some think they will budge on Abraham who is valued at 40 mil by us, no chance.

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Just now, R2D2 said:

No one fucking rates Abraham outside a few English teams, they refused buying Isak back for 30 mil who is better and younger and some think they will budge on Abraham who is valued at 40 mil by us, no chance.

Sancho , Bellingham . 

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On 22/06/2021 at 23:02, R2D2 said:

He is off to PSG only because he wants to go there to begin with, we can thank Sponge Bob for this, there were rumours a few days ago that filthy Ziyech told him to stay away from us because he doesn't like it here, fucking useless fraud.

🤣 jesus talk about jumping to conclusions

Edited by OneMoSalah
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