Resident 90 Minute Cynic Bundesliga expert Mark Hastings gives us an insight into Chelsea’s recent signing from Leverkusen, André Schürrle.
Name – André Schürrle
Age – 22 (6 November 1990)
Nationality – German
Position – second striker / winger
André Schürrle is a player that will be familiar to regular Bundesliga watchers. Since 2009, when he broke into the Mainz first team, Schürrle has been one of the league’s more exciting flair players. Now that his transfer to Chelsea from Bayer Leverkusen has gone through, it’s time to look a bit more closely at the man from Ludwigshafener.
Chelsea announced the signing of Schürrle on their official website yesterday;
“Chelsea Football Club is delighted to announce the transfer of Andre Schurrle from Bayer Leverkusen. The 22-year-old moves to Stamford Bridge from the Bundesliga club, whom he joined back in 2011.
It was announced on 13 June that Chelsea FC and Bayer Leverkusen had reached an agreement for Schurrle’s transfer. He has signed a five-year contract and will wear the No.14 shirt.”
The transfer of Schürrle to Chelsea wasn’t exactly a secret in Germany or England. Though whether it went through seemed to be predicated on two variables. The first being whether Chelsea would agree to Kevin De Bruyne being transferred to Leverkusen as part of the deal (not that De Bruyne had a say in the matter). The second variable was what the incoming Chelsea manager would want to do with De Bruyne and, perhaps more importantly, whether he was happy for the club to sign Schürrle.
When Chelsea announced the second coming of the man that used to be the ‘special one‘, now known as the ‘normal one’, the dye seemed set for the club signing Schürrle. It was made clear to Leverkusen that De Bruyne was not going to be part of the deal. This didn’t prove to be a stumbling block, as soon after Chelsea announced Schürrle’s signing on a 5 year deal worth close to £19 million pounds.
It looked in the month’s preceding the transfer that Schürrle was angling for a move away from Leverkusen, to the bright lights of the English Premier League. For a start he began tweeting regularly in English which was great for non-German speaking Leverkusen fans but perhaps a bit odd for everyone else.
- Born in Ludwigshafener in South West Germany.
- Spent his youth career with local team Ludwigshafener (1996 – 2006).
- Signed by Mainz 05 in 2006 and graduates to its first team in 2009.
- Played 66 times for Mainz, scoring 20 goals.
- Earns a transfer to Leverkusen, costing the club 8 million Euros.
- In 34 Bundesliga games last season, scored 11 goals with 7 assists.
- In total, played 65 games for Leverkusen, scoring 18 goals.
- Has 24 caps for the national team with 7 goals.
From what I have seen of Schürrle (twice live and more often than not on TV) he is a fast, pacy player who is technically very good but perhaps on the slight side physically. He is not quite as slender as Marko Marin but he will probably need to bulk up a bit if he is to deal with the rough and tumble of the Premier League.
Schürrle started out as a centre forward with Mainz and was very effective in that role. He struggled a bit in his first season with Leverkusen, when he was deployed on the left wing. It took him a while to adapt to his new role and even though he didn’t win rave reviews, 7 goals and 6 assists wasn’t a bad return for a 21 year old who had taken the step up to a team regularly challenging at the top end of the league.
The signing of Schürrle isn’t one that will draw the same headlines that, say, the signing of Fernando Torres or Michael Ballack drew a few years ago. What the signing represents is a shrewd move by ‘the normal one’. As we know from his previous exploits as Chelsea manager, Mourinho prefers wingers running in behind defenders who can provide crosses into the box. Think of Damien Duff, Maicon, Arjen Robben and you’ll get the gist of what Jose likes his attacking midfielders to do.
With this in mind, it’s hard to see Mourinho sticking with Juan Mata or even Oscar and Hazard who play more centrally and don’t offer the same threat that a player such as Robben can, for example.
Schürrle appears to me to be a good blend of both styles. He played a lot of last season in the so called second striker role behind Stefan Kießling, often pulling wide left and right to supplement the attacking threat that Leverkusen posed. I think he ought to be able to return to playing in a wider role.
At the moment Schürrle isn’t on the same level as say Marco Reus or Mario Götze in terms of his value or reputation. What he is though is an exciting prospect and at the age of 22 ought to continue to develop. With 24 caps for the national team already it’s clear that he is highly rated from a German perspective.
Whether he will be able to adapt to the rigours of playing abroad is another matter and with competition in the form of Eden Hazard, Victor Moses, the returning Kevin De Bruyne and the forgotten man, Marko Marin, he will have his work cut out for game time.
I hope he does well for Chelsea. If he can replicate last season’s form for Leverkusen he ought to be a useful addition to the squad and I hope he kicks on at Chelsea and doesn’t end up adrift on the bench or reserves as Marin has found himself.