Gonzalo Higuain, who could make his debut in tomorrow’s FA Cup fourth-round tie with Sheffield Wednesday at Stamford Bridge, has been backed to be an immediate hit with the Blues.
The 31-year-old Argentina striker has joined on a loan deal until the end of the season, with FA Cup holders Chelsea holding options to extend his stay if it is a success.
Higuain has played in Spain and Italy, enjoying the best season of his career under Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri.
The forward scored 36 goals in 35 Serie A games for Napoli, then managed by Sarri, in 2015-16 and Blues’ assistant boss Gianfranco Zola reckons the Argentinian can deliver in English football.
“I’m sure there are big expectations. I’m also sure Gonzalo is used to it,” Zola said.
“He’s played for big clubs: Real Madrid, Juventus, Napoli. I’m sure he can handle these expectations. He’s always produced good numbers wherever he’s been.
“He’s a player who can score in many ways so we hope that he can bring his qualities to this team – at this moment it is very much necessary. He’s coming late, but he’s coming in a team that plays a system he knows very well, so this is a big advantage.
“Here there are the type of players who will help him to do what he can do best. The conditions are good.”
Eden Hazard is also relishing the chance to play alongside Higuain.
“When you see his career he has done it everywhere; Madrid, Napoli and Juventus,” Hazard said. “I think he can do the same here. He is a top scorer, he can score anywhere.”
Midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek could return from a back injury to face the Owls, but Victor Moses has completed an 18-month loan move to Fenerbahce and Alvaro Morata is nearing an exit to Atletico Madrid.