Zola puts Chelsea's poor form down to signing 'so many players'

Chelsea’s poor form is down to signing ‘so many players’, claims club legend Gianfranco Zola after £323m January splurge… but hails £107m man Enzo Fernandez and compares him to Cesc Fabregas ahead of Dortmund clash

  • Chelsea spent £323m in January to try and strengthen Graham Potter’s squad
  • Gianfranco Zola thinks the number of players in the squad has become an issue
  • Enzo Fernandez has impressed Zola, who has compared him to Cesc Fabregas

Chelsea icon Gianfranco Zola feels manager Graham Potter is being hindered by having so many players in his squad.

The Blues splashed the cash in January, with owner Todd Boehly spending £323m on eight players in an attempt to improve the side’s fortunes.

This has not translated into results on the pitch yet, though, with Chelsea being held to draws by Fulham and West Ham since the window closed. Zola has some sympathy for Potter, and understands why it is such a struggle for the Englishman right now.

‘I can understand it’s difficult at the moment because you have so many players,’ Zola told Sky Sports.

Chelsea’s most eye-catching January signing arrived on deadline day when they paid a British record £107m to Benfica for midfielder Enzo Fernandez.

Gianfranco Zola thinks having so many players is a problem for Chelsea at the moment

Chelsea signed Joao Felix on loan last month, and he was sent off on his debut for the club

Mykhailo Mudryk is yet to find his best form since moving to Stamford Bridge

The 22-year-old, who won the World Cup with Argentina in December, has settled quickly and registered his first assist for the club when he set up Joao Felix in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with West Ham on Saturday.

Living up to such a lofty price-tag could be a challenge for Fernandez, but Zola likes what he’s seen so far, and has even compared him to a former Premier League and Chelsea legend. 

‘Enzo, I was so impressed with his qualities. The speed of mind when he’s playing, in a way it reminds me of Cesc Fabregas,’ Zola added.

Chelsea return to Champions League action on Wednesday night when they face Borussia Dortmund in the last-16 in Germany.

The competition offers the west London club their only realistic chance of winning any silverware this season, but there are concerns that despite their heavy spending Chelsea are still lacking firepower up front.

Chelsea’s form has not improved since January, with the team being held to successive draws

Zola believes Chelsea’s record signing Enzo Fernandez has similar qualities to Cesc Fabregas

Yet Zola is not too worried about this, and has pointed out how teams, including Chelsea, have won trophies without a recognised striker in the recent past.

‘You can play and win things without a No 9. Two years ago they won the Champions League and he (Thomas Tuchel) was playing Kai (Havertz), he was playing also (Timo) Werner, and another No 10, sometimes Mason (Mount), sometimes (Hakim) Ziyech or whatever, and they were very successful,’ Zola said.

‘I think you can be successful playing without strikers. Manchester City teaches us a very good lesson in this sense. You can win in different ways. 

‘The point is that you (can) play without strikers, but if you do that then you have to create a system where you get those good players in a dangerous area where their abilities can be really, really dangerous.’

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