Too late the hero
So now that former European Footballer of the year has turned his back on Chelsea and his torrid spell in the English Premier League can we all agree that the transfer of the former AC Milan was a very poorly judged purchase or was the Ukrainian striker never really given a chance to shine?
When Andriy Shevchenko arrived at Stamford Bridge almost three and a half years ago he did so for a British transfer record fee of £30.8m pounds but that the fee was so high said as much for Roman Abramovich’s seemingly endless wealth as it did for the potential of the then 29 year old to pay back such a fee on the pitch.
Many will tell you, probably partially accurately, that the player the club had bought was probably a far cry from the one who had led his Italian side to a Champions League success in 2003 and the Italian title the year after, but he was surely still able to do great things for the west London side, wasn’t he?
Of course Shevchenko was joining a side who had one back to back Premier League titles of their own so the stage was set for the Blues to just get better and better, but it didn’t work out quite as it should. It is worth remembering though that as Andriy was arriving, crucial players has just left or were about to do so before the forthcoming 06-07 season. Players such as William Gallas, Geremi and Eidur Gudjohnsen, all of whom had a massive part to play in the previous years successes.
On paper the former, and now current, Dynamo Kiev player’s stats look unlike ones of a former goal machine. 48 Premier League appearances (a great many as sub) yielded just nine goals and that tells its own story. But statistics can be misleading and I could equally accurately offer you another statistic. The former Chelsea man scored 22 goals in 53 starts across all competitions, and that shows an entirely different truth.
Maybe its because he never quite gelled with any strike partners he was lined up with, maybe its because his acquisition was never really one that Jose Mourinho wanted. The fact is that he was a yard off the pace far too often and had lost a great chunk of that lethal finishing ability that had made him the most feared predator in Europe.
That his career should appear to be ending at the very place where he first gained such notoriety is probably a fitting reminder of how fickle the game can be. Who knows, maybe Andriy will come up against Chelsea if both sides make it through their respective Champions League groups and I am sure that if that does occur the fans will still warmly applaud the player who simply arrived a little too late to truly make his mark on the English game.