Chelsea and Man Utd make no sense for Kvicha Kvaratskhelia - but one Premier League team does

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Seven superclubs sent scouts to watch Kvicha Kvaratskhelia against Spain - but neither Chelsea nor Manchester United should be his next destination.

Fresh reports, including those from 90min, suggest that no fewer that seven sides – including four from the Premier League – recently sent scouts to watch Georgian superstar Kvicha Kvaratskhelia play for his country against Spain. If that’s true, it suggests quite a few clubs who are willing to fork out an enormous amount of cash given that Kvaratskhelia only recently signed a contract extension that ties him to Napoli until 2027. Still, if the money’s that good, he may well be tempted… but there are some clubs in the running that he would be best advised to avoid.

Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Newcastle United are the English team reported to have had representatives in the stands to watch him score Georgia’s goal in a 3-1 defeat. All four of them have the money to test Napoli’s resolve, and all could offer Kvaratskhelia the kind of wage packet that might test his commitment to a club he is apparently very happy at. But not all of them make much sense as his next destination.

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Chelsea, for instance, look like a trap. Kvaratskhelia would be a good fit positionally as a right-footed inside forward, but he likes to hug the touchline until he gets close to the area, which isn’t how Maurico Pochettino wants his wide forwards to line up – Chelsea want there to be space down the flank for their full-backs, like Ben Chilwell, to overlap.

Then there’s the issue that Chelsea have a glut of wide forwards, all of whom need playing time and who are, in some cases, married to the club for the foreseeable future due to extra-long contracts. There’s no reasonable way to play both Kvaratskhelia and, say, Mykahylo Mudryk without forcing someone into an unfamiliar position. Kvaratskhelia would almost certainly be their best option at wide left, but it’s still a hard sell – there’s no earthly reason that the Georgian should want to enter a rotation system at a club that are unlikely to be able to offer Champions League football when he doesn’t even naturally fit the team’s system.

Chelsea’s owners might be trigger happy when it comes to big deals, and it’s fair to assume they’d be keen to make a deal like this happen if they can, but it’s hard to justify the move from Kvaratskhelia’s end of the table. With so many big clubs keen, there will be a better fit.

Tactical issues also make Manchester United a slightly awkward proposition. Kvaratskhelia flourishes best when his team can get players close to him from midfield, drawing defenders away with runs and offering options for quick passes – United, by contrast, currently play direct football which separates midfield from attack when coming forward. Besides, he only plays one position, and that also happens to be where Marcus Rashford needs to be. It would be an odd signing which didn’t make much sense from a squad-building perspective – which, to be fair, sounds right up United’s street.

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Newcastle United, meanwhile, do make some sense from a tactical perspective – they don’t look for overlaps too much, and they do try to get midfielders up around the box quickly, although because they often build up quickly and from deep, they do ask their forwards to do the work on their own sometimes as well. But it’s hard to imagine Newcastle splashing what would be a colossal amount of cash on a player in a position they already have well covered by Anthony Gordon and Harvey Barnes. It would simply be an odd move, even if it was an upgrade. There are other areas of the team where the money is needed more.

Finally, then, we come to Manchester City – and this is the one club which would make a lot of sense. Kvaratskhelia simply feels like a Pep Guardiola player with his excellent technique and quick passes, and he has a broadly similar skillset to Jérémy Doku, who has been an instant hit since arriving in the summer.

City also look to get midfielders up to support their forwards quickly, and Guardiola doesn’t play with overlapping full-backs, stopping them in behind the wide forwards in most attacking phases, meaning Kvaratskhelia’s natural inclination to hang wide and come in high up the field doesn’t tangle with the rest of the team’s set up.

Of course, they already spent a lot of money on Jack Grealish, who also plays in that position – but Guardiola is hardly averse to abandoning even quite expensive projects when he decides it’s time to move on. In any case, we aren’t saying that City will go in for Kvaratskhelia, or that they will offload Grealish, but from a tactical standpoint, there are few reasons to say no.

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As for what Kvaratskhelia actually will do? Well, there’s another contract extension on the table, for an extra year with yet another bump to his basic wage. He seems settled in Naples and is playing some brilliant football, even if the team as a whole are struggling to hit the heights which saw them win the Scudetto last season. So the smart money is simply on him staying for the foreseeable future… but you can still imagine him in a slightly different shade of blue.

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