Chelsea FC spent a pretty lazy period when the winter transfer window opened. The manager knew that the squad was strong but was lacking a proper striker to support Fernando Torres and thus brought in Demba Ba from Newcastle. It came as a big surprise as we were thought to be on the brink of signing Radamel Falcao from Athletico Madrid, but Demba Ba came in and it was seen as a business well done. Even after the transfer window closed, the speculation linking us to Falcao hasn’t yet stopped. But do we actually need him? Let’s have a look at what our main objectives should be for the summer of 2013, area by area.
Goalkeeper: A position where Petr Cech is probably going to dominate proceedings for atleast 2-3 seasons more. However, after the departure of Carlo Cudicini, we are in dire need for a backup goalkeeper. Ross Turnbull and Henrique Hilario have been perfect professionals for us waiting in the stands for a chance, but we have to face facts as neither of them are good enough to challenge Petr Cech. So out main objective is to bring in a goalkeeper as an understudy for Petr Cech. We have two options, buy a player, or bring back a player from loan. We have two decent keepers’ on loan, 20 year olds, Matej Delac as well as Thibaut Courtois. However, Courtois has been considered as a long term replacement for Petr Cech and thus we have the option of giving opportunity to Matej Delac or maybe our youth products Sam Walker or Jamal Blackman.
I really don’t feel the necessity to buy a new player in this sector.
Defense: The Centre-back position has no space for recruitment. We have four solid Centre-backs in the form of John Terry, David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic. And bringing in a fifth is not very intelligent. Nathan Ake will probably be sent out on loan.
At right back we have Cesar Azpilicuetta, Branislav Ivanovic and also new recruitment Wallace dos Santos.
For the left back, we have Ashley Cole, Ryan Bertrand and a possible return of Patrick Van AanHolt. I would had loved Chelsea to sign Luke Shaw from Southampton as the understudy for Ashley Cole, but that would be unfair for Ryan Bertrand and too much on Patrick van AanHolt, who recently declared that he intends on fighting Ashley Cole and Ryan Bertrand at Chelsea FC for the left back spot rather than move again on loan. But, for sure, one of Ryan or Patrick is going to have a loan spell for another season. I’d want Patrick to be given a chance, because, somewhy I believe he is better than Ryan Bertrand for the position. Moreover, we have youngsters like Kane and Billy Clifford waiting in the fringes for an opportunity, giving them a chance will do well too.
Again, I wouldn’t want a player to be signed in this sector.
Midfield: I’ll divide Midfield into two sectors, attacking and defensive.
Defensive Midfield: Our available options are, John Obi Mikel, Oriol Romeu, Ramires, David Luiz and hopefully Frank Lampard. That means, five players for two spots, pretty cramped eh? Bringing in Maroune Fellaini seemed to be a necessity for me in the recent past, however, he is a type of player who’d want to start each and every game, which would leave only one spot for five players, not acceptable at all. Moreover, Oscar might be played in this role too. But, if Frank Lampard will be asked to leave, we might just sign a young back-up or bring in another player from the youth academy. And let’s not forget, Joshua McEachran is waiting eagerly for his chance to impress the Chelsea faithful.
Attacking Midfield: Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Oscar, Victor Moses, Marko Marin and maybe Kevin De Bruyne. One of Marko Marin or De Bruyne is set to leave the Bridge on loan for experience. While Yossi Benayoun and Florent Malouda will be set free by the club. That means five players for three spots. Lucas Piazon might most possibly spend another season on loan. So there emerges a necessity to sign a youngster who won’t moan about to sit on the bench for long spells. For my love for Luke Shaw, I won’t mind signing him and trying to mould him into a new Gareth Bale, which he is very much capable of. He would also serve a cover for left back, if one of Ryan Bertrand or Patrick are sent out on loan, and he will quite possibly perform better than Ryan Bertrand in the midfield role.
On a conclusion, I’d love to see us sign Luke Shaw, for midfield, not defense as the priority.
Attack: We have Demba Ba, Romelu Lukaku and Fernando Torres. Among these, Lukaku will probably be granted another season on loan, and I feel Torres is going to leave the club, maybe as a part deal for Radamel Falcao from Athletico Madrid. Personally I don’t want us to sign another big name signing, fearing the fate that Torres and Shevchenko met with. Moreover, he is already 27, which is not much bad if you argue, we might just squeeze out 4-5 excellent seasons out of him. But I’d want Chelsea to go for someone of the Ba-class, meaning, who are doing pretty well, but not too popular. Enter, Jackson Martinez. The 6ft 1in striker from Porto is a beast in the forward line. For his huge frame, he is quite agile and lightning quick (as per the words of a commentator). This season he has scored 28 goals already from just 31 games. And if you consider the cost aspect, Radamel might cost us 50m+, while Jackson can be brought in for less than 25m. But even he’d want the starting spot rather than warming the bench.
Our overall activity in the forwards department might be as Torres leaving, Lukaku leaving on loan, and Jackson/Falcao coming in with Ba already there. That means two players for one spot. Add to that one of our youngsters, Feruz Islam, Patrick Bamford or maybe Milan Lalkovic. It will be a really impressive strike force.
Conclusion, bring in one striker, maybe Radamel Falcao, or Jackson Martinez and let go off Torres permanently and Lukaku on loan.
Manager: The most interesting sector for debate is up! Benitez will surely leave the club, leaving room for either Jose Mourinho, Manuel Pellegrini, Jurgen Klopp or David Moyes to join up Chelsea. For me, it has to be between Klopp and Jose, but with Klopp already rejecting our advances, Jose Mourinho has to be it. It has been a complicated love story between Jose and Chelsea through ages, and this would be the perfect ending leading to a magical beginning.
Final Conclusion: Bring in Luke Shaw and Radamel Falcao/ Jackson Martinez, and a new manager like Klopp or Jose Mourinho, who can gel all of our gems properly. To be frank, we are lying to ourselves saying we have a weak squad, with no depth. This squad on its best day can beat the best of teams, without much hassles. The only thing is that not all players perform on the level that they are expected to. But it is not right on our part to wanting to always sign big names for both economic as well as ethical reasons. We are not a club who should be concentrating only on winning trophies, but also on giving birth to players who will make us proud of in the future.
The squad for 2013-14 should be as follow:
GK: Petr Cech, Matej Delac, Jamal Blackman
Def: Azpilicuetta, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Gary Cahill, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Patrick Van AanHolt/Ryan Bertrand, Wallace Dos Santos
Mid: Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Oscar Dos Santos, Kevin De Bruyne/Marko Marin, Victor Moses, Ramires, Frank Lampard, Mikel, Oriol Romeu, Luke Shaw
Att: Demba Ba, Jackson Martinez/ Radamel Falcao, Patrick Bamford/Islam Feruz/ Milan Lalkovic