Coming to the capital on a much-publicized €40 million move, if Tammy Abraham meets all his incentives, that price tag will rise to a club-record €45 million fee. At that rate, we can't mince words: this kid has to produce...immediately. Fortunately for Roma, Abraham isn't a complete unknown, having torn up the lower levels of English football before scoring 30 goals with Chelsea in all competitions over the past two seasons.
Still, if you're anything like me and you find it hard to remove your Serie A blinders, you may not be entirely familiar with Abraham's skillset. In order to get some insight into Abraham, we turned to our friends and colleagues at We Ain't Got No History, our Chelsea site and the flagship of the SB Nation Soccer community.
Dávid Pasztor of WAGNH was kind enough to offer some insight into what Abraham brings to the table, giving us the scoop on his background, strengths, weaknesses, and more.
Abraham had a pretty decent scoring record with Chelsea, particularly for a younger player, so why were Chelsea willing to let him leave? Is it as simple as Lukaku arriving or was Abraham lacking something in Tuchel’s estimation?
Dávid Pásztor: While we don’t really know exactly why, Tuchel clearly didn’t rate him, from just about day one, referring to him as the “cup striker” and then not even including him in the matchday squads by the end of the season. Abraham’s playing time did start dwindling even under the previous head coach, but Tuchel’s arrival in January made that situation clear. Tuchel did acknowledge that he may have been unfair in some ways, and to his credit, Tammy handled it all with utmost professionalism.
As far as sanctioning a transfer, Tammy’s contract had been a sticking point even during Lampard’s first season in 2019-20, and the inability to agree a new deal then set in motion a lot of these decisions. A performance-based extension to 2023 did kick in at the end of that season, but with just two years left now, it was the ideal time for a transfer for all involved.
Abraham likely would’ve been allowed to leave even if we didn’t sign Lukaku. That seemed to be the inevitable outcome well before the return of Romelu was even a possibility, though his arrival probably ensured it.
Tell us a bit about Abraham’s playing style? What does he do well? Where does he still struggle?
DP: Abraham’s a complete forward who’s not quite yet complete. He can do everything well that’s expected of a striker, and some things even better. He has a tremendous nose for goal, and will poach more than his fair share in the penalty area. Nurturing those instincts into consistent performances will be key. The biggest weakness in his game right now is probably in the air, though he could use a bit of bulking up as well.
Is there any particular tactical set-up in which he succeeds more than any other?
DP: We’ve seen him almost exclusively in lone-striker situations, with wingers on either side or slightly behind in attacking midfield. That’s not to say that he wouldn’t find success in a different tactical setup. He’s got the technique and the mentality to adapt and be great.
Roma fans are already a bit worried about the €80M buy-back clause inserted into the deal. It may be impossible to predict, but looking at Chelsea’s current roster and their always ambitious transfer plans, do you actually think they’ll exercise that option to bring him back after 2023?
DP: Buy-backs are something we, as Chelsea fans, have been clamoring for some time — instead of all the countless loans — and from our perspective, it’s certainly nice to see the club thinking along similar lines. This would not be a cheap operation by any means, but it’s not inconceivable that Tammy, if willing to return, becomes Lukaku’s successor in a few years.
Big thanks to Dávid for his time, you can catch his work on our Chelsea site, We Ain't Got No History.