Chelsea have taken ‘massive gamble’ with Morata – Pearce

Chelsea are taking a “massive gamble” in opting to play Alvaro Morata over Diego Costa, according to Stuart Pearce.

Morata joined Chelsea for a club-record £70m fee in July, and having missed a penalty in Chelsea’s shootout defeat to Arsenal in the Community Shield on Sunday, boss Antonio Conte admits the forward has work to do.

Former England U21 manager Stuart Pearce has told Premier League Daily it is a risk bringing in Morata ahead of last season’s top goalscorer Costa, who has been told he is no longer needed at the club..

“I think it’s a massive gamble by Chelsea. He’s [Costa] the catalyst that makes Hazard work behind him, to make Pedro work behind him,” Pearce said.

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“I can’t see them retaining the title off the back of it.”

Costa’s lawyer Ricardo Cardosa confirmed last week that the Spaniard will hand in a formal transfer request at Chelsea and has been linked with a return to Atletico Madrid.

Pearce believes Costa was ideally suited to the Premier League and Morata will have to quickly find his feet if the Blues are to replicate last season’s success.

“I hope Morata hits the ground running, but there’s always that thing in the back of your mind when players come to England to play, sometimes it takes a little while to settle in,” he added.

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“Too many questions are coming out of Chelsea at the moment, a little bit of unease.

“I think last year they were fortunate, they had no real injuries through the season – I think they’ve got a bigger challenge this year to retain it.”

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