New Chelsea signing Marc Cucurella thrilled in debut Premier League season, cried after goal against Manchester United, but dreams of Barcelona return

    In what’s been an enthralling and a busy transfer window, one more unexpected saga is now over.

    Marc Cucurella, who appeared to be heading to Manchester City earlier this summer, has joined Chelsea.

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    Cucurella is said to be a huge admirer of Pep Guardiola but he may not be playing under the legendary manager yet

    The 24-year-old completed his move on Friday, ahead of the Blues’ first game of the season against Everton, beating Manchester City to the defender.

    A year ago it would’ve seemed crazy to see two of the Premier League’s biggest clubs in a tug of war for the defender who was plying his trade at LaLiga side Getafe until deadline day in the summer of 2021.

    But Cucurella’s impressive form last term has seen many turn heads in his direction. So what’s all the fuss about?

    The stats show he’s an assured player, but it’s what he offers going forward that undoubtedly gives him an edge.

    Cucurella created 40 goal scoring chances from open play in the Premier League last season, which is more than any other Chelsea player apart from Reece James (42).

    Stats don’t paint a full picture of a player’s performance – one goal and one assist all season isn’t exactly a glittering return for a modern day full-back.

    Marc Cucurella Brighton stats 2021/22

    Chances created: 3rd

    Tackle success: 3rd

    Duel success: 4th

    Recoveries: 1st

    But any Brighton fan will give a glowing review when asked about Cucurella’s performances last season, which reached its peak when he scored in the Seagulls’ 4-0 thumping of Manchester United, the goal making the player cut an emotional figure.

    Cucurella himself probably couldn’t have imagined having to choose between City and Chelsea but comments previously made by the player suggest he’d snub both sides in a heartbeat for Barcelona, where he started his career.

    Cucurella, who has just one senior Barca appearance to his name, told Spanish publication Sport in November 2021: “In the end, I have been there for many years at Barca and we could say that it is my house and my family or that of my wife, who is from Barcelona.

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    Cucurella’s reaction to scoring his first Brighton goal shows he wears his heart on his sleeve

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    Cucurella has made just one competitive appearance for Barca to his name, which was a seven-minute cameo in 2017. He may feel he has unfinished business

    “I have a thorn in my side because I made my debut in the first team but I was never able to play at the Camp Nou and I think it’s something I would like to do before retiring or leaving football.”

    With Chelsea already missing out on the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinh and Jules Kounde, they’ll be praying Barca don’t decide to hurt them again by making a move for their former player.

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