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Premier League 2022/23: Why Chelsea paid big money for Marc Cucurella?

Chelsea could not have asked for a better first transfer window under new ownership. The Blues, owned by Todd Boehly, signed forward Raheem Sterling from champions Manchester City and central defender Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli. But, their most interesting signing is of the versatile defender Marc Cucurella from Brighton & Hove Albion. Cucurella was linked with Manchester City all summer but Chelsea moved for him quickly because of his versatility to play as left center-back in a back three or left-back/left wing-back. Cucurella made his Chelsea debut against Tottenham in GW2 and showed why he is worth every penny that was spent to sign him. He was arguably the best player on the pitch that day.

The following visualisation shows the numbers from Marc Cucurella’s first season in English football last season for Brighton.

Marc Cucurella, a La Masia graduate, moved from Spanish club Getafe to Brighton in the Summer of 2021. Cucurella having spent only one year at Brighton impressed a lot of people and became their record departure. Cucurella adds a lot of flexibity to that left-sided position that Ben Chilwell and Marcos Alonso don’t provide. The 24-year-old player brings a lot of energy and dynamism whenever he plays. He ranked above average for most of the defensive metrics – 77th percentile for defensive duels won, 70th percentile for PAdj. Interceptions. His awareness on the pitch is one of his biggest strengths.

His offensive game is also strong and is on par with a modern-day fullback/wingback – ranking 67th percentile for crosses per 90 minutes, 73rd percentile for passes to the penalty area. Cucurella ranks in the 42nd percentile for Key Passes per 90 minutes and 48th percentile for Expected Assists (xA) per 90 minutes. Cucurella is not afraid to get on the ball and take on the opponents. His contribution in the final third also look impressive.

Chelsea moved late for Marc Cucurella but would be happy to have completed the signing before City could finish the deal. Cucurella’s versatility means that he will be a key player for Chelsea this season. He has made huge steps from Spain to England in the last couple of years. He will definitely be one of the players to watch out for at Chelsea this season.