Back in the summer of 2012 after Chelsea had just won the Champions League, the subsequent transfer window saw the club bring in a host of hot, young properties of world football. While Eden Hazard arrived from Lille in a reported fee worth £32m, another young prodigy who made his way into the club was Brazilian playmaker Oscar. The 21-year old who was a part of the Brazil squad at the London Olympics sealed a £25m transfer from Internacional on a five-year deal.
Oscar’s first season at the Bridge saw him light up the English league after striking an excellent chemistry of link-up play with Eden Hazard and Juan Mata. The flamboyant midfielder made his first real mark in a 2-2 draw against Juventus on a Champions League night. He scored both the goals for Chelsea and they were deemed as world-class efforts by fans and pundits alike.
The return of Jose Mourinho next season saw Oscar get his preferred number 10 role over Mata. The manager’s team selection largely depended on a player’s ability to track back and help the team defend and thus Oscar was a tailor-made choice for the Portuguese. Oscar, who played a large role under Mourinho saw his influence fade away after the Portuguese got sacked and was replaced by Italian tactician Antonio Conte.
Conte’s change to a 3-4-3 formation meant that the attacking midfielder essentially did not have a place in the line-up anymore and would have to adapt his game to get into the team.
Oscar started spending more and more time on the bench and his lack of game time affected his form. Naturally, within six months of the Italian’s arrival, Oscar sought new pastures. While the Brazilian could have continued to play in Europe, he stunned everybody by deciding to join the Chinese cash-rich league in the Far East. Chelsea made a handsome profit by selling him for a reported £52m.
In an interesting turn of events, Oscar was recently quoted saying that he keeps an option open to return back to Europe. The playmaker believes at the age of 26, that he still has plenty of football left in him and would definitely consider a return to England to work with his former employees.
With Conte’s shift from the 3-4-3 to the 3-5-2 formation, Chelsea are in need of a central attacking midfielder with Cesc Fabregas the only recognized senior player in that position.
Chelsea will do well to redeem themselves after failing in the summer transfer window and with the board willing to bring in new players to increase option for Conte; a surprise return for Oscar might just pan out. Although, if Chelsea were to make a move, how easily the Chinese owners would agree, after spending a fortune on the Brazilian, remains to be seen.