Gary Neville has been left “stunned” by the transfer of Marc Cucurella to Chelsea, pondering whether he will be worth the amount of money they have paid for him.
Cucurella completed his transfer from Brighton to Chelsea on Friday. After previously being targeted by Manchester City, he has signed for the Stamford Bridge outfit. The transfer has cost the Blues a fee of £55million plus add-ons.
It is a hefty sum of money, more than treble what Brighton paid for him 12 months ago. Indeed, Cucurella has become one of the most expensive defenders in the history of football transfers.
He will have to prove himself at the higher level he has stepped up to. The Spaniard will be competing with Ben Chilwell for a place as a left wing-back, although Thomas Tuchel also believes he can mirror Cesar Azpilicueta by covering in the back three as well.
Hence, there should be a place for Cucurella to rack up the appearances within his new surroundings. In theory, Chilwell might not suffer too much, although it is unlikely both could start every game.
And by beating Man City to a deal, Chelsea have ensured one of their top-six rivals haven’t strengthened.
Still, Sky Sports pundit Neville believes it is “staggering” that Chelsea have invested so heavily in Cucurella.
“That one just stunned us today,” Neville told Sky Sports. “It’s a staggering amount of money and they’ve got Ben Chilwell in that position already.
“That’s a massive transfer that’s gone through. That’s the one [summer deal] that stands out for me.
“Seeing him in a Chelsea shirt… is he going to improve and prove to be worth that sum of money?”
Gary Neville raises fair Cucurella concerns, but Chilwell battle will intrigue
Chilwell was an expensive recruit himself when Chelsea bought him from Leicester City a few years back. Now, they have two players in the same position with a combined cost that surpasses £100million.
It will definitely be an interesting battle for a starting berth, unless they can play in the same system as has been hinted at.
Cucurella could have the edge to start with due to Chilwell’s injury issues last season. The new arrival is coming off the back of a fresher and more impactful campaign.
Hence, he will hope to keep up the continuity he was getting at the Amex Stadium in his new surroundings. Whether he will be worth the money invested in him is another question.
While with Brighton, Cucurella only scored one goal and provided two assists. Perhaps he will need to up his output to convince any doubters that he is that valuable.