When I was approached to write an occasional article for this fine site, I thought it would be easy. After all being a fan of around 40 years means its rare that I have no opinion on affairs Chelsea, and even rarer that there is little to write about. Things have calmed down a lot since the days of our ‘enfant terrible’ Jose Mourinho and Carlo has above anything else infused the club with a calm aura. The downside of this is we’re seemingly in the news less than ever and hence it’s consequently harder to get any nuggets of information from the club.
All of this means that during the over-hyped January transfer window all of the established football hacks start calling on their contacts inside the club, trying to get an inside line on just exactly who we’re in the market for. I have this gleeful vision of junior back room and admin staff running their own books on who can leak the most preposterous potential transfers stories and get them published, whilst getting a night of free booze and women (or men). All the time the mug hacks will latch onto and lap up just about anything thrown to them, like hungry seals willing to balance balls on the noses for a dead fish. I do realize that as a writer of sorts that description could also be levelled at me, but as I do it for love and not for a cheque from wicked Murdoch, despotic Desmond or the vile sub-human Dacre, it doesn’t count.
So rather than be mugged off and carried along with the wave of hyperbole about the rumours, here’s my rather simple take on things.
We don’t need any new players right now.
We MAY need one or two in the summer, but for now we just need to show some faith in those younger less experienced players residing in our first team squad. Someone somewhere must have thought they’d be good enough. I see the reports of David Luiz and think ‘why do we need him’? We have JT, we have Alex, we have Ivanovic (player of the year for me) and we have an excellent young centre back in Jeffrey Bruma. What message does buying Luiz, as good as he is, give to a young man brought through our academy? That he’s not good enough is an obvious one, but it damns our Academy as well and begs the question as to why now we suddenly don’t think he’s good enough. Unless of course we’re positioning ourselves like a horse racing stable, and developing these young bucks to sell on as a revenue stream. Our left back position is well covered with Ashley Cole and Paddy van Aanholt, and in extremis, we can call on the versatile Ivanovic if need be. And no I haven’t forgotten Zhirkhov, but if I had you could hardly blame me. What has happened to him? Has he found God and gone to a monastery?
Right back is slightly thornier. Ivan is my first choice here, and then we have faithful Paolo and erratic Bosingwa. Whilst Paolo is probably OK to be a squad player his last outing versus Aston Villa showed he’s much like Riccy Carvalho was, and possibly an every other game player at best now. Bosingwa is unlikely to be happy on the bench but has been shockingly bad since his return. Despite this he gets my vote, because under Hiddinck he was a fixture and I still think he’s finding his way back to his form after that horrendous injury.
So nothing needed at the back. Midfield, I hear you sort of ask? Well, much like the hateful Spurs, we’re very rich in this area. Lamps, Essien, Obi, Malouda, arguably Anelka, Ramires, Kakuta and McEachran are hardly a paucity of choice. Chuck Sure, Essien and Malouda have stunk the place out recently but stick to the old maxim of class being permanent and form being temporary and suddenly the smell doesn’t seem so worrying. Oh, and for good measure…Benayoun if he ever comes back.
Up front…well we have Anelka, we have Drogba and we have Sturridge. Now, I’m all for a wave goodbye to Drogba in the summer, strikers rarely fade but they’re skills diminish overnight (Mickey Owen anyone…Thierry Henry…and our very own Jimmy Floyd H?) and I fear this might be the case, but he has half a season to prove us wrong. Anelka is another Mark Hughes without the ability or desire to crunch tackle. What he does is hold the ball better than any player in the premiership today and can slip into midfield or the wings with ease. Another 2 seasons and then wave him goodbye. Sturridge is keen, eager, arrogant, greedy, fast, passionate and cocky. Perfect striker material then. He deserves more starts because I have a feeling he may well be a phenomenon and to date he’s been pretty good for me. Lastly of course the biggest Marmite player of all, Salomon Kalou. Me, I think he’s had more than enough chances and we should cash in on him whilst we can. Blimey if we can cadge £7m for Carvalho, then Kalou must be worth the same. People say Wenger would make him another Henry … hmm … Henry Kelly maybe. I’m even sick of him as a sub now, and for me I doubt I’ve seen many less football-intelligent players than Kalou.
So, I think we’re fine. Lower the expectations now about catching back up in the league, there’s just too many in front of us to hope they all slip up. A 3rd or 4th place finish, an FA Cup and possibly a Champions League to see the likes of Drogba, Kalou, Ferreira, Zhirkhov depart on a high in the summer would be nice. Then we can look for suitable replacements (Aguero and Pato spring to mind) to allow Carlo to finally make his own team. If Carlo is still there, but that’s a thought I really don’t want entertaining itself in the vast empty spaces of my mind.
Remember, the future’s bright, the future’s Blue.
More ramblings can be found at http://www.chelseafcblog.com/