Scouting Report: Andre Schurrle (Chelsea)

June 18, 2013 in Bundesliga, Features, Premier League, Transfers

It did not take long for Jose Mourinho to make his first signing after returning to Chelsea, following news that Bayer Leverkusen winger Andre Schurrle would be joining the Europa League champions for a fee of around £19m. The 22-year old adds yet more attacking firepower to a team that is already blessed with brilliant forward players such as Eden Hazard and the sumptuous Juan Mata. But just what exactly will he offer the team and his new manager? In short, a lot.

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Let’s start with the basics. The German international can play either up front as a striker or as a winger on the left or the right; his favoured position is the left wing, where he loves to cut inside onto his favoured right and unleash his trademark long range shots. Not only is he a good long range shot taker, he is also an excellent finisher with either feet, which makes him deadly in the penalty area. This is good news for Chelsea who mainly had to rely upon Juan Mata and Frank Lampard for goals last season, as both Fernando Torres and Demba Ba both struggled to hit the back of the net regularly. This is also the reason why Schurrle can play as a striker too; not only is he a good finisher, at six foot tall, he is decent in the air too, being taller than most wingers and quite a few fullbacks, so expect there to be a few long balls aimed in his direction next season.

Speaking of long balls, that ties in neatly to the other key strength of the German’s game - his blistering pace. Chelsea liked to hit teams on the counter attack under Mourinho, especially away from home, and this is where he will be at his biggest threat. If you watch videos of Leverkusen’s games last season, the amount of times that they get the ball to Schurrle and launch a counter with him is impressive; very few full players will be able to keep up with him when he is at full tilt, which makes him the perfect exponent of the counter attack. Premier League teams, you have been warned.

Obviously, as a winger, you have to be technically proficient and also track back - again, no problems here. Schurrle is more than capable of picking out a pass, and while he might not be as silky smooth as Mata or Hazard, he will still hurt teams with his creativity. He doesn’t have all the tricks as the above mentioned too, but he can change direction very quickly and has excellent balance, which will give plenty of defenders headaches when facing him. One criticism of Chelsea’s current attackers is that they don’t have the best of defensive work rate; again, this is not something that Schurrle struggles with, as he has that typical German engine that keeps him going for the full ninety minutes easily. He is one of the fittest players (not aesthetically) that is in the game at the moment, and that will definitely be a big advantage for him in England.

As for his weaknesses, it is hard to really pinpoint any major ones. He can shoot, pass, cross, and use both feet, so he really is a player who is very well-equipped in all the key areas. He has already proven himself at international level with seven goals for Germany in twenty four games, working at better than a goal every four games, which is impressive. Last season for Leverkusen, he helped himself to eleven goals in thirty four games in the Bundesliga, also contributing nine assists to the team, which again is pretty impressive and only one less than Mata managed for Chelsea last season.

So all the signs point to a good player who should thrive playing for an attacking team under one of the world’s best coaches. If he adapts to the physicality of the Premier League quickly, then Chelsea will have a top player on their hands and a big threat for the upcoming season.

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