Amid a stream of negativity, Chelsea fans finally have something to cheer about.
The Blues have beaten Arsenal and Manchester United to secure the signing of João Félix from Atlético de Madrid.
The Portuguese youngster will spend the next six months on loan at Stamford Bridge and try to bolster the Chelsea attack that has scored fewer goals than Erling Haaland so far this season.
From a financial perspective, the deal doesn’t make much sense.
Chelsea will pay a whopping £11 million to Atlético Madrid in loan fees. They will spend a further £6 million on wages. Chelsea will spend £17 million for a player who might not stay at the club beyond June because they don’t have a buying clause on the contract.
But desperate times call for desperate measures!
Chelsea are currently 10th in the table. Fourth-placed Manchester United are 10 points clear of them, and league leaders Arsenal have a 19-point cushion between them and their London neighbours.
Graham Potter’s men suffered a humiliating exit from the FA Cup 3rd Round as Manchester City cruised to an effortless 4-0 victory against them.
Chelsea have scored only 20 goals in the Premier League so far. No other team in the top 10 have scored less.
Romelu Lukaku’s expensive return at the Bridge did not work out, Kai Havertz remains as inconsistent as he has been since his Chelsea arrival. Raheem Sterling, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount-Chelsea have an abundance of attacking talents on paper, but none of them is clicking at the moment.
Can João Félix change that?
The fact that he has never hit double digits in the league since his big-money move at Atlético Madrid does not cause much enthusiasm.
Still, judging him for his unsuccessful stint at the Wanda Metropolitano would be harsh. He had an impressive World Cup campaign with Portugal.
He scored once and made two assists in four matches for Os Navegadores. Félix could not suit the profile of the ideal Diego Simeone striker at Atlético Madrid.
But will he fit better at Chelsea?
What are João Félix’s strengths as an attacker? He is an elite dribbler and has an excellent eye for a pass. This season he averaged only 46 minutes of game time with Colchoneros but still managed to make seven goal contributions.
However, he does not thrive at transitions.
Diego Simeone relies on transitional plays to snatch results, but João Félix does not suit that style very much. Simeone prefers forwards who can bulldoze through the defence with quick runs.
The scoring formula is to be at the end of crosses flying in, pick up the pieces inside a tumultuous opposition box, or take the ball and make it through the defence.
João Félix loves to receive the ball at his feet and combine with other forwards to break into the opposition box.
At Atlético Madrid, he doesn’t have the technical foundation of a world-class number 10 and skilful wingers to maximize his output. Unfortunately, Chelsea don’t have that at the moment either.
João Félix is still an upgrade to Kai Havertz in the number nine position since he is more dynamic in possession.
He is more comfortable playing against the press, and he has the ability to carry the ball forward. But all these attributes would suit better in a team that is comfortable keeping the ball.
Graham Potter’s Chelsea is still a work in progress.
They are yet to become a team that can naturally dominate possession in games. So, Félix might not hit the ground right away.
But if they can build the right system around him, João Félix could become the saving grace Chelsea desperately needs to salvage their season.