With Timo Werner finally confirmed on Thursday, Chelsea now have four strikers among their ranks. Werner will undoubtedly be top of the pecking order, with the German scoring more goals than the other three combined in an outstanding season at RB Leipzig.
Tammy Abraham offers even more goalscoring prowess, with his 15 goals making him the Blues’ top scorer. Olivier Giroud will be a good backup option with his experience and quality, having signed a one-year contract extension last month.
But what about Michy Batshuayi?
The 26-year-old striker has been in the Chelsea first team longer than any of his fellow strikers, yet is now fourth choice going into the new season. He sits behind one of Europe’s deadliest strikers, Chelsea’s top scorer and an experienced World Cup winner- a damning order of preference for Batshuayi.
For the man who has been at Stamford Bridge for four years, he has fallen further to the bottom of a new quartet. Werner’s arrival is costly for Abraham and even Giroud, but what about Batshuayi? He hasn’t earned favour under new manager Frank Lampard, and is in even less contention now.
It hasn’t been Batshuayi’s finest season in blue. While he has played his fewest number of games since arriving at Chelsea in July 2016, he simply hasn’t been clinical in front of goal.
Batshuayi has one goal in 16 league appearances, with his only strike coming in October. Six goals in 24 games is his lowest Chelsea tally, averaging just 0.25 goals per game – compare that to Abraham’s rate of 0.44, and it is a truly worrying figure. Yet it fits in with the Belgian’s Blues career, where he has a rate of 0.32gpg in four years.
When Batshuayi has been giving the chance to play, he hasn’t always taken it by the scruff of its neck. His 90 minutes against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup are the perfect example, where he missed half a dozen chances in front of goal in a hugely underwhelming performance.
His only league start was another disappointing display, where the Blues were rolled over by Manchester United at the Bridge. Batshuayi led the line that night in Abraham’s absence, yet missed a string of big chances and didn’t even muster a shot on target.
That being said, he has had some excellent performances. His goal against Manchester United in the Carabao Cup was a perfect example of what he is capable of, while Chelsea wouldn’t have qualified for the Champions League knockout stage without his winner at Ajax.
Batshuayi has never been Chelsea’s first choice striker, always playing second fiddle to a more established, quality man.
First it was Diego Costa, when Chelsea last won the Premier League in 2017. Costa’s departure seemed to open the door for Batshuayi, but Álvaro Morata came in and kept him on the bench. Even when Chelsea only had two strikers and his Valencia loan was cut short, Gonzalo Higuaín joined while Batshuayi was sent to Crystal Palace.
It has been the same story this season, with Batshuayi playing behind the new first-team addition of Abraham and the everpresent Giroud. With even his spot on the bench now in jeopardy, the Belgian is falling further and further out of favour.
So, if there’s no place for Batshuayi at Stamford Bridge, is his time in blue up?
Unless he is willing to spend even longer as a squad player barely getting any minutes, now is the time to salvage his career. He is only 26 and still has his best years ahead of him, but the stats prove that they would be best spent elsewhere.
When comparing his season stats since joining Chelsea, there are some interesting trends.
Alongside his three seasons played for Chelsea, Batshuayi has gone out on loan to Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Crystal Palace. While his five months in Spain were uneventful, his other two loan stints have seen him at his best.
Batshuayi scored 0.64 goals per game at Dortmund, while netting 0.46gpg with Palace the next season. Those are his highest figures since his arrival at Chelsea, higher than all of his Blues seasons. If that proves anything, it’s that Batshuayi is at his best elsewhere in Europe – and not at Stamford Bridge.
|Goals per game|
|2017/18 (Borussia Dortmund)||9||14||0.64|
|2018/19 (Crystal Palace)||6||13||0.46|
Batshuayi is capable of being a prolific striker, and has shown his worth in previous games for the Blues. But with competition increasing in west London and his gametime continuing to be reduced, he can do much better by making the decision to leave Chelsea in the summer transfer window.
The stats show he’s performed better in Germany – and even elsewhere in the Premier League – and he can still enjoy a successful club career in these prime years of his career. But staying at Chelsea would hold him back, stunt his potential and shatter his confidence, as has been the case with previous players.
Werner’s arrival is the final nail in the coffin, but he can still go out on a high. It’s time for Batshuayi to emerge from the shadows, and earn his spotlight once again.
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