Chelsea agreed to a fee with Leeds United over the transfer of wanted star Raphinha earlier in the week. The Blues have also reportedly offered a five-year deal to the Brazilian winger—with the option for an additional season—but the player is yet to sign the contract, as he is said to be waiting for an offer from FC Barcelona. Chelsea supporters have reacted to this news and its developments on social media with many different takes—one common opinion stands out above the rest of the comments though: “If he doesn’t want to be here [with the Blues] then I don’t want him here. We should go only after players that want to play for the club!”
This is one of those takes that looks good at first glance. It’ll do rounds on social media and get the fanbase to be led up. However, it is not realistic. This is because the take assumes that “here” is one of the best places to be. Chelsea is a super club and an undeniable European giant, but there are far more enticing clubs than the west London club, especially at this moment in time. In the grand scheme of things, a player not being eager to join the Blues is not reason enough to drop interest in that player altogether. Nor does a priority list of teams determine an individual’s quality.
An individual’s eagerness to play for Chelsea does not determine quality
Chelsea needs and should target world class players, regardless of their allegiances. Sometimes these players don’t want to join, perhaps because they feel they have better prospects. If the player is of the level that the Blues want though, it is the club’s duty to do everything it reasonably can to convince the player. This is because getting the right player is more important than getting a player excited to join the team. There are many examples of players that didn’t fancy a transfer initially, but they were convinced and turned out to play key roles in Chelsea’s fortunes.
The other silly thing about this take is that there are thousands of average players who are excited to move to Chelsea… because Chelsea is a big club and it would be an upgrade to 95% of clubs in Europe. The Blues can pay big wages, and playing for Chelsea is an opportunity to represent one of the best clubs in England. These players are not always going to improve the Blues though. Any player who sees himself linked with a big club will be excited, especially if he currently plays for a club that doesn’t have quite the prestige of the west Londoners.
How excited a player is to join the club should have no bearing on Chelsea’s purchasing decisions. This does not mean that the Blues should get fixated on signing a player they have selected. If a player does not want to join Chelsea, more often than not he would not, but the club should try to convince the player to join if that player is of the required standard. If it seems the player is fixated on playing for another club then it’s fair to move on to other targets. The Blues’ interests and evaluation of the player should be the main factors for pursuing targets, and the eagerness of the player to join should not be a consideration at all.
A player being excited to play for Chelsea does not make him a good signing, or the right signing. The right signing is the right signing. Many may remember Saul and Romelu Lukaku’s excitement to join the club, but they’ve both now gone back to where they came from previously. If Chelsea is indecisive about multiple players, the willingness of these players to come should be at the bottom of a very long list of things to consider in separating them.
Many may think that getting players who want to play for the club will ensure that the player is hardworking and willing to put in the work for his teammates. However, that’s the bare minimum, and being hardworking is not worth much at the top level if you are not bringing much else to the table to improve the team.