We’ve had two managers so far this season and we’ve also signed six new first team players (Oscar, Hazard, Azpilicueta, Ba, Marin and Moses). With so much instability at the club both in terms of the managerial hierarchy and playing personnel perhaps this is the transfer window where we take a back seat. Maybe for once we shouldn’t be the team dominating the headlines with big money signings; maybe we should just look to build on what we already have. After all, there are some pretty strong foundations.
In terms of first team players I think it is sadly time to say goodbye to Malouda and Benayoun. These two have been loyal servants to the club during their time even if Yossi spent a large part of it injured or out on loan. They are getting on now and are both on pretty hefty wages so it will certainly help the club. I will only touch on this briefly but like others I believe we need to offer Lampard a new contract as soon as possible. Back up players such as Ross Turnbull and Paulo Ferreira also need to stay as they are extremely useful squad players on fairly low wages. Young players like Hazard, Oscar and Moses have all done extremely well in their first season at the club (and for some first season in England) and next season they will surely only get better. Players like Ramires and Juan Mata are developing all the time and are just starting to peak. At the back Ashley Cole and John Terry’s careers are obviously winding down but we will still have at least another season from them.
This brings me onto the issue of some of our talented stars out on loan. Whilst new signings are very nice we do have a number of players who have been performing exceptionally well for their clubs and thus they are almost like new signings in their own right. In goal Petr Cech is showing no signs of easing up but when he does we know we have a readymade replacement in Thibaut Courtois who is currently out on loan with Atletico Madrid. The Spanish side have made a couple of approaches to sign the talented shot stopper but it really is imperative that we keep hold of the Belgian. Courtois has not conceded at home for Madrid in 820 minutes of football and his form during his time there has been remarkable. It is highly probable he will spend the 2013/14 season there again but after that I fully expect him to return to become our number one. In Germany Kevin De Bruyne has been the shining light of what has been a disappointing season for Werder Bremen. The midfielder has really shone in the Bundesliga and he is becoming a more and more important part of the Belgium national squad. If Lampard is to leave De Bruyne could well be the player to replace him. Everyone knows how well Romelu Lukaku is doing at West Bromwich Albion and he really is starting to show the sort of form that he had at Anderlecht. With the likes of Hazard, Oscar and Mata behind him he could be even more deadly than he already is and all the signs are there for Lukaku to become one of the all-time Chelsea greats.
Honourable mentions should also go to Nathaniel Chalobah, Josh McEachran and Gael Kakuta. Chalobah has really revelled in his midfield role under former Blue Gianfranco Zola and his progress at Watford is extremely encouraging. He is benefiting from playing in a balanced team, with experienced players and under a talented manager. He is another who has been earmarked to take over from Lampard. McEachran’s career has gone a little under the radar since he originally burst onto the scene and in many ways that is perhaps a good thing. It has allowed him to focus on his football and under Tony Mowbray at Middlesbrough things seem to be working well. He was unlucky at Swansea but Boro, under Mowbray play some attractive stuff and playing week in, week out is certainly good for his development. Kakuta, like McEachran has seen his career progress a little slower than he hoped. He was criminally underused at Bolton and Fulham but now at Vitesse he really is starting to shine. He’s already 21 and he now knows what he wants with his career. In the press recently he has been talking about going out on loan again or even moving away permanently in order to play regular football. It will only be a matter of time before a definitive decision is made on his career at Chelsea and at this stage it really could go either way.
So there you have it, some extremely talented players to return and all good reasons as to why we don’t need to buy big this summer. We already have a fairly big squad and whilst competition is good it can affect players’ development quite badly, just look at Marko Marin. The likes of Falcao and Cavani are always going to be tempting but in Lukaku I believe we have one of the genuine world class young talents and we need to nurture that. It is definitely time for Fernando Torres to move on and with Lukaku and Ba we will only have two forwards but in a formation that only uses one striker having three world class forwards just won’t work. If we were to sign anyone this summer the one player I’d like to see us sign would be Saints’ left back Luke Shaw. The 17 year old has been thoroughly impressive starting a number of high profile Premier League games. He is a self-professed Chelsea fan and I could easily see him as Cole’s successor, in my opinion Bertrand just isn’t good enough. We could spend millions and millions this summer but in all honesty I’d rather we focused on developing what we already have.