Chelsea legend hits out at ‘crazy’ decision to sign defender who ‘doesn’t belong at this level’

Date published: Tuesday 7th February 2023 7:45 - Lewis Oldham

Chelsea defender Cucurella

Chelsea legend Frank Leboeuf has hit out at the club’s “crazy” decision to sign Marc Cucurella in the summer from Brighton and Hove Albion.

The Blues have spent around £600m on new players since the end of last season. This follows Todd Boehly’s takeover of the club in May 2022.

Cucurella joined Brighton in 2021 from Spanish side Getafe for around £16m. He hit the ground running under Graham Potter in 2021/22 at the Seagulls as he played 35 times in the Premier League.

The 24-year-old was subsequently targeted by Manchester City as they looked to recruit a replacement for Oleksandr Zinchenko, who moved to Arsenal in the summer.

The Premier League champions eventually pulled out of the race to sign him with Brighton setting their asking price at around £50m.

Chelsea quickly swooped to sign the defender and Brighton got themselves a great deal. It is understood that they received an initial £55m and that the fee could reach £62m.

Cucurella has come under fire this season as he has been unable to hit the ground running at Stamford Bridge. Potter’s arrival at the club following Thomas Tuchel has not helped him as he has failed to impress in his 16 league starts.

Leboeuf feels that he has already seen enough of Cucurella as he is “not good enough for Chelsea”.

“Hopefully Reece James and Ben Chilwell will go back into fitness as soon as possible because we need them,” Leboeuf told ESPN.

“We don’t want to see Cucurella anymore. With all due respect to a man that I don’t know, the player is not good enough for Chelsea. It’s as simple as that.

“It’s crazy that they signed him for £60m or £70m, but we can see that he doesn’t belong to this level.”

After Chelsea’s 1-0 loss to Manchester City last month, Jamie Carragher criticised Cucurella as the Chelsea man comes across as a player who “doesn’t want to defend”.

“I wasn’t happy with Cucurella right throughout that second half until he came off,” Carragher told Sky Sports.

“When we talk about the price tag…If someone doesn’t want to defend, it’s actually worse. It looked to me like he didn’t want to defend in one-vs-one situations.

“When I see defenders diving in constantly all the time and the fella keeps going past him, it makes me think they don’t want to defend. Get low and be twisting and turning and get those legs burning.

“Sometimes you think ‘I can win the ball and I can go and get it’ but when that’s your plan against every winger that comes up against you, that can’t be right.”

READ MORE: Going nowhere… one player per Premier League club left stuck after the January window

 

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