Given that Roman Abramovich doesn’t have a senior moment because he didn’t win the Champions League and sacks him, Carlo Ancelotti looks likely to be the man to lead Chelsea into next season. However his squad does have a few holes and a few threadbare patches that need some urgent attention if they are to remain at the top of the game in England and improve on their European performances so far. So who, given Roman’s open chequebook and our unrivalled knowledge of the game, should Carlo be looking at to bring in next season?
1. ALEXANDRE PATO (AC Milan) :
As good as Didier Drogba is, when he isn’t flinging himself to the floor with reckless abandon because Zat Knight passed wind near him, he is now 32 and not getting any younger. Time will catch up with him sooner rather than later. There is also the question of Nicolas Anelka. Yes, he does score goals and runs very fast, but in a team like Chelsea, how many goals would a truly World Class striker score? To me it makes perfect sense for Ancelotti to address this by moving for a player he knows plenty about, has a great relationship with and who is young enough to address both those issues for many years to come. He won’t come cheap, but he’d be a far better signing from AC Milan than Shevchenko.
2. NEVEN SUBOTIC (Borossia Dortmund) :
Ricardo Carvalho is not getting any younger, neither is John Terry and though Carlo Ancelotti does like to have a “Dads Army” feel to his team, the need to bring in a top quality central defender to be the lynchpin of Ancelotti’s Chelsea team for many years to come is pressing. The Blues have been linked with the talented Subotic several times in the past few months and though he is likely to be another expensive acquisition, especially with other top clubs linked strongly with the player, he may well be the kind of player who can come into the team immediately and slot in alongside Terry or Alex at the heart of the defence.
3. ANGEL DI MARIA (Benfica) :
The left hand side of midfield is a key area in the modern game and as good as Florent Malouda has been, the Frenchman suits a right sided role. With Joe Cole likely to be gone in the summer, Chelsea have a pressing need for this area. Di Maria is arguably the best available. The Benfica winger has class written all over him and possesses a sweet left foot that would, in theory at least, work perfectly in tandem with Ashley Cole down the left hand side. He won’t come cheap (who does when Chelsea are reportedly interested in a player) but he would be an immediate upgrade down the left wing and can still improve greatly as a player.
4. DAVID SILVA (Valencia ) :
With the likes of Lampard, Ballack and Deco all pushing the wrong side of 30 now, the need for an inventive, pacy attacking midfielder who can open up the very best defences has never been greater. Joe Cole, it seems, will not be fulfilling this role for Ancelotti and so the need for a creative, inventive midfielder has never been greater. Schweinsteiger and Van Der Vaart have been linked in recent weeks and the club is reportedly keen on Napoli star Marek Hamsik, but for me if Chelsea want to be the best, then they have to buy the best and that is Valencia’s David Silva.
5. FERNANDO TORRES / DAVID VILLA (Liverpool / Valencia) :
I have never been a big fan of Anelka. He is a good solid player who scores goals, but given the opportunities and talent he has, he never seems to fulfil it for me. As such he’d be out of the door this summer and replaced with either Torres or Villa, whoever was available and willing to come to the club. At the moment, I’d guess Villa was the most amenable to a move and he’d fit in alongside Drogba/Pato in a new look attack quite wonderfully well and, this is the key, would score a lot more goals than Nicolas Anelka would. He may not be quite so unselfish in his running into the channel, but I’m not sure that is what Ancelotti wants from his strikers. Either would be a massive upgrade for Chelsea over Anelka and would prove to be an outstanding partner for Drogba or Pato.
So there’s my five point plan for Carlo to turn Chelsea into European Champions within twelve months. It would cost a great deal of money of course, but Roman has it available and it would be perhaps a tad foolish not to invest in the team now, especially with the urgency with which the owner wants to win the Champions League.
Ian John www.puntersrealm.com