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. Cucurella is said to be a huge admirer of Pep Guardiola but he may not be playing under the legendary manager yetGetty 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 Most read in Football NEWS Tuchel confirms Cucurella move, Klopp rules out more Liverpool deals, De Jong latest confirmed Premier League introduces seven new rules including changes to subs and penalties line-up Arsenal to hand out three PL debuts and pick unorthodox right-back against Palace SPREE Boehly treating Chelsea 'like Football Manager' says Neville who makes Woodward claim advanced talks Everton suffer another striker blow with Wolves closing in on Chelsea man WEIRD 'What’s he ringing Terry for?' - Koulibaly's Chelsea shirt number gesture questioned debate Jordan and Sinclair in heated row over player wages amid £225k-a-week Foden talks training Ronaldo posts update after Ten Hag criticism and hints at 'step by step' progress 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. Cucurella’s reaction to scoring his first Brighton goal shows he wears his heart on his sleevesky sports 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 businessGetty “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. Offers Of The Weekend Sky Bet: 50/1 for a shot on target in Crystal Palace v Arsenal* – CLAIM HERE Paddy Power: Bet £5 via the talkSPORT EDGE app with Paddy Power and get a £5 free bet – available to all customers* – CLAIM HERE Sky Bet: Over 2.5 goals in each of the 6 Premier League matches on Sat 6th Aug (was 33/1) @ 40/1 – CLAIM HERE Sky Bet: NEW CUSTOMERS ONLY. MIN/MAX STAKE £1. FREE BETS CREDITED ON TOP OF WINNINGS. FREE BETS CREDITED WITHIN 72 HOURS. 5 X £10 BET TOKEN. FREE BET STAKES NOT INCLUDED IN RETURNS. FREE BETS CANNOT BE USED ON VIRTUALS. FREE BETS ARE NON WITHDRAWABLE. NO FREE BET EXPIRY. ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS AND FURTHER T&CS APPLY. Paddy Power: Place a £5 Sportsbook Bet through the talkSPORT EDGE app between the 1st and 31st August. Get a £5 free bet on the next Monday after your qualifying bet. T&C’s apply. 18+ SEE MORE FREE BET OFFERS HERE