Chelsea slammed for ‘nonsensical’ deal as £60m marquee deal dubbed ‘panic buy’

Tuchel comments on Azpilicueta's new deal for Chelsea

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Arsenal icon Martin Keown has dubbed Chelsea’s latest summer signing Marc Cucurella as “nonsensical” after the Spaniard completed a deal to move to Stamford Bridge on Friday. The fee for the full-back could reportedly reach over £60million, prompting Keown to question the thought process behind spending so much on the former Brighton defender.

“Chelsea have gone out and paid £60-odd million for Cucurella – I think that’s nonsensical,” Keown told talkSPORT. “It’s an incredible amount of money. I think it’s too much. Cucurella, as good as he is, I think there are still players out there that are better. To pay that kind of money with Ben Chilwell still there, [Marcos] Alonso’s still there.

“It does feel like it’s panic buying. If you look at last season, if I had to say of the top four teams, if there’s one that could slide out of the top four, it could be Chelsea. Thomas Tuchel is an outstanding manager but all of his support team around him have disappeared.

“So there’s a bit of change there. The new owner’s come in and he wants to make a difference. On the eve of the new season he’s making a statement with that kind of signing. Is it overspending? I think maybe it is.”

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The Blues’ Twitter account wrote: “CLUB STATEMENT: MARC CUCURELLA. Following reports from numerous media outlets this week, we can confirm an agreement has been reached with Brighton and Hove Albion for the signing of Marc Cucurella.”

Cucurella is expected to ease Ben Chilwell’s return from an ACL injury while also providing cover at centre-back according to his new coach. “He is a fantastic, young player,” Tuchel said. “Hungry, mobile, very intelligent player. Can play several positions in our system. Absolutely it helps in depth and especially for Ben to escape the pressure of ‘I have to deliver. We need you absolutely now’.

“We have, of course, also in this position Marcos Alonso, Kenedy and Emerson [Palmieri]. Marc is the option in this position and he can play very well in the back three.”

Chelsea became the Premier League’s biggest spenders following their acquisition of Cucurella, and announced the signing by aiming a dig at his former club. On Wednesday evening the Brighton official Twitter account posted a statement denying rumours that a fee had been agreed by the two clubs. The statement read: “CLUB STATEMENT: MARC CUCURELLA. Contrary to inaccurate reports from numerous media outlets this evening, no agreement has been reached with any club to sell Marc Cucurella.”

On Friday however, as they announced the news that Cucurella has become Tuchel’s fifth summer signing after Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Carney Chukwuemeka and Gabriel Slonina, Chelsea posted a similar message on social media.

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The Blues’ Twitter account wrote: “CLUB STATEMENT: MARC CUCURELLA. Following reports from numerous media outlets this week, we can confirm an agreement has been reached with Brighton and Hove Albion for the signing of Marc Cucurella.”

Cucurella is expected to ease Ben Chilwell’s return from an ACL injury while also providing cover at centre-back according to his new coach. “He is a fantastic, young player,” Tuchel said. “Hungry, mobile, very intelligent player. Can play several positions in our system. Absolutely it helps in depth and especially for Ben to escape the pressure of ‘I have to deliver. We need you absolutely now’.

“We have, of course, also in this position Marcos Alonso, Kenedy and Emerson [Palmieri]. Marc is the option in this position and he can play very well in the back three.”

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