It is a 7th here we go for Chelsea as they have agreed on an agreement for the transfer of Malo Gusto from Olympique Lyonnais in a 30 million euros plus add-ons deal which will see the Frenchman continue with the French club on loan until the end of current season and go to the West London club in the summer. The Blues have been the highlight of this year’s winter transfer window which finishes in 3 days with a transfer cost of 157 million pounds on deals in total.
Malo Gusto to Chelsea, here we go! Medical tests have been scheduled tomorrow in order to seal the deal — he’s joining in June 2023 alongside Nkunku 🚨🔵🇫🇷 #CFC
OL will receive €30m plus add-ons and keep the player on loan.
Boarding completed – ✈️ London@TurkishAirlines pic.twitter.com/PAVcnzwmsB
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 27, 2023
Gusto had garnered attention from plenty of top European clubs after his impressive displays in Ligue 1 with Real Madrid and Manchester United also keen to sign the teenager. According to sources around the deal, Gusto only wanted to sign for Chelsea and denied Manchester United’s request to wait for them until the summer.
Graham Potter has got his backup right-back for next season as first-choice Reece James hasn’t been able to completely recover from a knee injury which has kept him out for the majority of the season so far. He has had two injury setbacks further pushing back his progress though the England international is back in training and in contention to start for the Blues next weekend. With the possibility of Cesar Azpilicueta also leaving in the summer, Gusto’s signing becomes even more important for the Blues who will have a long-term replacement for the club veteran.
Malo Gusto – Player Profile
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Starting his professional career with Lyon’s youth team, Malo Gusto made his way through the academy of the French side and broke into the first team two years ago making his debut against Saint Etienne in January 2021. The 19-year-old was accompanied by other highly rated talents Lyon’s first team has coming through from the academy with the likes of Yaya Soumare, Rayan Cherki and Florent Da Silva.
Ever since his debut, the Frenchman has been a mainstay in the first team and made the right-back position his own. His pace, ability to overlap/underlap, pinpoint crossing, defensive recoveries, pace and wide passing range make him a difficult right back to defend against much like Reece James. His statistics have been phenomenal, especially considering his age and his inexperience at the top level.
He ranks first in all of Europe for crosses into the penalty box which makes him a dangerous creative outlet, especially against teams who play with a low block. He also ranks in the 95 percentile for passes completed per 90(62.95), Total passing distance per 90(1019.38), passes attempted per 90 (75.61) and passes into penalty area per 90 (2.00).
Overall, Chelsea are getting a player with similar attributes to Reece James making him a perfect like-for-like replacement as the Blues have failed to cope up with the Englishman’s absence this season with most of their attacks coming from the left side of the attack making the Blues a predictable side.
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Graham Potter is a manager who doesn’t have a specific formation which he adopts. Since taking over in September, the Blues have lined up in 5 different formations( 3-4-1-2, 3-4-3, 4-2-2-2, 4-3-3, 4-3-1-2) depending on their opposition. Gusto is a player Potter would love to have as he can play alongside Reece James when playing in a back 3 system as the latter has previously played as a right center-back under Tuchel against big teams like Manchester City and Liverpool who have clinical wingers.
The 19-year-old can play as a right wing-back and his excellent defensive recovery runs make him a workhorse on the right-hand side to contribute both defensively and offensively. James and Gusto can both even interchange their roles giving Potter plenty of variations the duo can be used. Noni Madueke would be a player who will particularly benefit with having an attacking right back like Gusto/James playing behind him as the former PSV Eindhoven loves to link up with his fullback on the right and cut inside on his left foot. A potential link-up to look out for Chelsea fans!
Squad building for next season
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Even though the Blues are going through a bad patch and are 10th in the league with all the injuries and poor individual performances, Boehly and the board have not stopped their efforts in improving the side’s quality by signing talented young players on long-term contracts. With a proper structure within the club for recruitment and the ability to close negotiations rapidly, Chelsea have already completed the required deals for next season and will have a full squad in place for pre-season under Potter during the summer giving them adequate time to adapt to the English coach’s methods and build team cohesion.
Only a European place to fight for this season having being knocked out of both the domestic competitions, the Champions League could be where their attention has turned towards as the likes of Noni Madueke, Mykhailo Mudryk, Joao Felix and Benoit Badiashile are all capable of helping the West London side go deeper into the competition. Having topped their group under Potter with a miraculous turnaround in results, they surely have the team to go toe-to-toe with Europe’s elite as their key players are all close to returning to the first team.
The Blues’ faithful have already been awe-struck by the new owner’s transfers so far while “Daddy Boehly” is trending on social media as the American continues to splash the cash while also being involved with the fans on Twitter occasionally. The focus now shifts onto signing a midfielder before the deadline on 31st January with Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo both earmarked as possible transfers after the latter took to social media to express his desire to leave Brighton.
So far so good for Chelsea and if they can achieve Champions League football for next season sitting 10 points behind 4th place with 18 games to go, the fans would be more than happy with their side’s performance after a season filled with multiple injuries and a mid-season managerial change.