CHINESE WHISPERS

By Mark Conlon
Jul 21st, 2008

With the start of the new campaign, and the dawning of (yet another) new era only a few weeks away, a number of issues remain unresolved. Will Frank Lampard begin the season as a Chelsea player? How long will it take for new boys Bosingwa and Deco to adapt to the Premiership? But most importantly, will Fergie be on the receiving end of a Scolari right-hook come September 21? The expected transfer activity that was predicted to follow Scolari’s appointment hasn’t yet happened, though the new boss will have a clearer picture in his mind as to who he wants, and maybe more significantly who he doesn’t, after the tour of China.

The Robinho story seems to be gathering momentum on a weekly basis, and while it’s pretty obvious to anybody with a football brain that he would be an improvement on the likes of Malouda and Pizarro, just how good is he? He’s hardly set the Bernabeu alight, and if the figures being talked about are accurate, then that sort of money could surely be spent more wisely.

However, on the positive side, there were certain performances last season, Wigan at home springs to mind, where we were crying out for a bit of flair, and as good as Joe Cole is, he shouldn’t be the only player in a squad littered with internationals, capable of unlocking a tight defence.

Robinho is also a young player, and while the experience of a Deco could prove vital in our quest to win the Champions League, if Scolari really is looking to build for the future, acquiring top young talent is a must. Now is the time for Frank Arnesen to step up to the plate and show us what exactly it is he does, because while Tottenham have been busy snapping up young gems such as Dos Santos, Modric and Bostock, it appears Arnesen has been topping up his tan in sunnier climes.

The departure of Steve Sidwell for £5.5M (a rare good bit of business conducted by Peter Kenyon) should signal the beginning of the end for a number of players. If Shevchenko, Pizarro, Malouda, Ben-Haim and Belletti follow the flame-haired midfielder out of the exit, few tears, if any, will be shed in the Matthew Harding stand.

As Man-Utd look to add Dimitar Berbatov to an already potent attack, and Arsene Wenger promises more new arrivals will join the ‘new Zidane’, Samir Nasri, at the Emirates before the season begins, it’s imperative Scolari and the boys get off to a flying start. With early games against United, Tottenham and Liverpool, not forgetting a tricky opener against an ever-improving Portsmouth side, that is hardly a guarantee. Therefore, a good bit of business in the transfer market over the coming weeks takes on extra significance. Mr Scolari…..it’s over to you.

About "" Has 6 Posts

Mark Conlon is a freelance football journalist. He collaborated with David Knight on 'The Chelsea Experience'. His work can be accessed online at www.60mins.tv, www.overtimeonline.co.uk. He also works with Chelsea legend Ron 'Chopper' Harris on a weekly blog.
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