Should Chelsea cash in on Oscar this summer?
Chelsea are entering into a new era and there is a strong belief that Antonio Conte will be a fantastic appointment. He demands a great deal from his players and is tactically astute, but some in the Chelsea squad will not suit his style of play. One of these players that could be surplus to requirements is Oscar, who has been linked away from the club this summer.
The Brazilian has had a mixed spell with Chelsea to date and lost his place in the first team during the latter part of last season. There is no doubting his talent, but he has not been able to emerge as an important player for the club. He has always been in the shadows of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard or Willian and now might be the best time for Chelsea to cash in on the Brazilian.
Over his Chelsea career, the midfielder has never scored more than eight league goals in a campaign, which isn’t great given his attacking role in the side. He has developed a lot since joining the Blues, especially in terms of his defensive contribution. However, he has yet to reach the level of an elite level attacking midfielder and Chelsea have better options in their squad.
Oscar is good enough to do well in any league, but he has always looked like he would be better suited to either La Liga or Serie A compared to the Premier League. In a division with a slower pace, Oscar would show up in a better light, as he would have more time on the ball in the final third and given a more prominent role in the attack. He has never thrived in the Premier League due to a combination of the English top flight’s physicality and the restricted role he has been given at Chelsea.
Inter Milan are believed to be seriously interested in Oscar and are planning to test Chelsea’s resolve for a bid according to the Mirror. Juventus have also been linked with the Brazilian and may see him as part of the solution to replace Paul Pogba. Serie A looks to be a great fit for Oscar and if a deal is agreed, he should seriously consider a move, especially as he doesn’t look suited to Conte’s system.
Conte is famous for his 3-5-2 style of play, which he used at Juventus and with Italy at Euro 2016. Although he may look to use this at times at Stamford Bridge, he isn’t married to the formation and has used different tactics throughout his career. Chelsea do not currently have the players to be effective in a 3-5-2 system over the entire campaign, and have been training in different formations during pre-season.
It is believed that Conte may return to a 4-2-4 formation, which he used a lot in the early part of his career in the Italian lower divisions. The signing of N’Golo Kante makes this formation possible as he is full of energy and covers a lot of ground, while his ball retrieval skills are second to none.
The Italian may look to partner Kante with Cesc Fabregas, with the Spaniard playing a deep-lying playmaker role. Then in attack, Eden Hazard and Willian could flank Michy Batshuayi and Diego Costa.
This leaves no space for Oscar, as he isn’t suited to carrying out a deeper role and is less effective on the wing. There is a possibility he can play an attacking midfield role in a 4-2-3-1 which has been Chelsea’s go-to formation over the last few years. Conte could still employ this, but if he does, it is still far from certain that Oscar would start. He would likely field Cesc Fabregas in an advanced role ahead of a double pivot featuring Kante and Nemanja Matic.
After the appointment of Conte was announced, it was initially believed that is might be beneficial for Oscar’s Chelsea career. Conte loves players with a high defensive work rate, which Oscar possesses. However, Juan Cuadrado and Willian also work hard defensively, while Hazard and Fabregas are much better in the final third than Oscar. Although the Brazilian is well balanced, he does not excel in either attack or defence. That is why Conte may look to move him on.
The club will not be looking to sell Oscar as he offers a good squad rotational option and is still young enough to develop further. However, if an offer of £20 million or more comes in, Chelsea will seriously consider it and look at other options available to them. He has been a decent player for the Blues, but hasn’t become the player that Chelsea expected, and for that reason, his time in West London may be coming to an end.
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