Versatile Fiorentina player Juan Cuadradohas finally signed for Chelsea. Known as ‘Vespa’ in Italy, he is at the moment among two most fouled players in Europe.
The Colombian star who can play at right back as well as right wing and attacking midfielder has been on radar of Europe’s top clubs after the impressive performances at last year’s World Cup. Together with Toni Kroos, he provided four assists in this World Cup, more than any other player, and was, alongside his team-mate James Rodriguez, the most decisive players who fired Los Cafeteros into the World Cup quarter-finals.
Chelsea was showing interest in signing the 26-year-old in the January transfer window, while selling or loaning out a few current players, namely Andre Schurrle and Mohamed Salah who have failed to impress Jose Mourinho. The German winger has joined Wolfsburg for £27m, while the Egiptain was sent to the Serie A club Fiorentina on-loan for the remainder of the season, with the Premier League side paying his wages.
The Blues’ manager is considering putting Cuadrado at the right side of Diego Costa in the attacking third. If that would happen, the potential new Chelsea star would fight for a first-team spot with Willian who hasn’t shown much on the field this season.
Our friends at Opta-powered fantasy football game Oulala.com have taken a closer look at the two players and the stats suggest Cuadrado would be an excellent fit in Mourinho’s team. The player who led Fiorentina to successive fourth-place finishes in Serie A, has found the net four times and made as many assists in 17 appearances for Viola. La Vespa, as he is known in Italy thanks to his acceleration (the nickname was given to him by his former Fiorentina team-mate Luca Toni) is known for his ability to dribble. This season he made 86 dribbles, however 44 of all attempts were successful. There is no surprise that with such a high number of dribbles opponents fear his every move and are willing to do everything to stop him. This season alone he has suffered 87 fouls which puts him on the very top of most fouled players in the five best European leagues! Chievo midfielder Perparim Hetemaj has also been fouled 87 times but he has played more matches (19). According to the stats, Cuadrado has suffered more than five fouls per match, including his season’s record of 11 fouls during the match against Genoa in September 14th last year.
Compared to Willian, the stats also show his shots have found the target more often. He has also proved better in duels.
One thing is for sure, Cuadrado certainly has the quality to play for a big club like Chelsea. Former Colombia national team coach Francisco Pacho Maturana once said: “When things get tangled up, Cuadrado can take your breath away.” Will he take our breath away at Stamford Bridge?