Former Chelsea star Nevin predicts Sarri will sign striker

Chelsea: Maurizio Sarri
Chelsea remain unbeaten under Maurizio Sarri. [Picture: Steve Paston/PA Wire]

Former Chelsea star Pat Nevin expects the club to sign a centre-forward more suited to Maurizio Sarri’s style of play before the start of next season.

The Blues are third in the Premier League after an unbeaten start under the Italian boss, which has brought eights wins and four draws.

But both Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud have come in for plenty of criticism.

“It’s not the end of the road for Morata or Giroud,” Nevin told West London Sport.

“I do expect a new centre-forward by next season. But having three strikers is not beyond the realms of possibility.”

Morata has scored three goals in his past three league matches to take his Premier League tally for the season to five. But he had only managed three goals in 11 domestic appearances before that.

Chelsea: Pat Nevin
Ex-winger Nevin was hugely popular among Chelsea fans

France striker Giroud has scored just one goal in 12 Blues appearances, albeit six of those have come as a substitute.

And he has not scored a league goal this season.

But Nevin said: “Football is not all about statistics.

“Mateo Kovacic plays in this Chelsea system when Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley both score more goals. It’s a team game.

“And Giroud did not score at the World Cup and France won it. Chelsea have not been doing too bad, having not lost a game.

“Every centre-forward wants to get the ball in early before he is marked. But after 140 passes before the ball arrives, losing your marker is not going to happen if he has been looking at you for two minutes.

“It’s not impossible, but it’s much more difficult. Certain styles aren’t perfect for certain players.

“The system does not need a target man. It needs an aggressive, skilful player who is a natural goalscorer. But the complete package, like a Sergio Aguero or Luis Suarez, is not easy to come by.”

Kante’s Chelsea role

Nevin also believes N’Golo Kante is still playing a vital role for the team despite operating in a more advanced position than he has done in previous seasons.

“It’s a different role and he is certainly not as effective as he was,” Nevin said.

“But, as with Morata, the whole thing is still working out not too bad.

“Kante is not ideally suited to playing there, but he is still more than good enough to play that role.

Chelsea: N'Golo Kante
Kante has had a different role under Sarri. [Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire]

“He is the right player to play there but is not playing as well as he did in a deeper role.

“All players have to adapt and learn to play different systems. Plenty of players have had to play out of position in their careers. It’s a team sport.

“You cannot just adapt to suit Kante’s strengths. You have Eden Hazard and Jorginho to accommodate and it’s all working pretty well so far.

“Kante always covers when he needs to if Cesar Azpilicueta or Marcos Alonso goes forward and quietly goes about his work. He is the best in the business at that.

“Also, you have to remember this isn’t Sarri’s final team. He has only just arrived.”