Chelsea requires some major changes this summer
It would be fair to say that this season has not quite lived up to the expectations of Chelsea fans. Sitting fifth in the table, requiring a remarkable home performance against Napoli to progress in the Champions League and facing a daunting trip to St Andrews to play a Birmingham side in the FA cup – who have lost only once in their last 15 games, AVB has got his work cut out.
My prediction for the rest of the season is that Chelsea will clinch that vital fourth place and will stick with AVB, enabling him to build a team over the summer that he thinks will take Chelsea forward. It’s been long overdue, but hopefully there are big changes happening at Chelsea this summer. Whilst being radical they also have to be sensible, especially financially. So without further adieu, based purely on my own opinion, here is my player by player take on the potential mass exodus at Chelsea this summer.
Petr Cech: Despite the ever growing threat from the always improving Thibaut Courtois, Cech has been one of Chelsea’s best performers this season and I can see him retaining the number one jersey at Chelsea for at least another three seasons. At only 29, he still has arguably his best years ahead of him. Keep him.
Branislav Ivanovic: He had arguably his worst game in a Chelsea shirt away in Naples, but he’s still the best right back at the club. I believe he still has a part to the play at the club if he is played at right back, a role he has really made his own during the past three seasons. His ability to continuously make amazing last ditch tackles alone worth’s retaining him and he has really improved the attacking side of his game recently to become a better all-round right back. Keep him.
Ashley Cole: One of the best left backs in the world since the past ten years, Cole has shown one or two signs this season that he might be heading towards a downhill.
Cole is still one of Chelsea’s most consistent performers and seems to be holding off the challenge for his place from Ryan Bertrand at the moment.
No doubt that Bertrand will be hot on his heels if Cole’s form takes a dive plus it has been reported that he doesn’t see eye to eye with AVB which could determine whether Cole will have a role in AVB’s project. If Cole does get along with AVB then it’s an easy decision to make. Keep him.
John Terry: Despite being one of the ‘old guard’, JT has been quite vocal in his support of AVB this season. Unlike Lampard though, he’s been a regular starter when fit. I hope JT goes on to emulate Giggs, Carragher and Scholes and become a one man club. He’s worshipped at Chelsea and the fans will support him no matter what maybe the outcome of his court hearing for racial abuse this summer. Already a Chelsea legend, I hope he sees out his career at the club.
David Luiz: Sometimes frustrating, sometimes disastrous but always entertaining. Not exactly what you want from a centre back, but there’s no denying that David Luiz is a magnificent player. Still, David Luiz has improved vastly this season, noticeably alongside John Terry in a deeper defensive line than the one AVB tried at the start of the season.
AVB said that Luiz will be one of the best centre backs in the world in a few seasons time and I agree with him. He’s still learning and he’s gradually cutting out the mistakes from his game as well as chipping in a few important goals.
So be it alongside JT or Cahill, Luiz will be vital to any success that Chelsea hope to achieve over the next five years. Keep him.
José Boswinga: He has had the odd good game throughout his time at Chelsea, but it’s no real surprise that he was out injured for the majority of the double winning season. He’s poor defensively and he isn’t exactly good at going forward either despite popping in the odd goal every now and again. He’s out of contract this summer. Let him go.
Paulo Ferreira: Very rarely seen in the starting XI these days but he is always there when needed. Seemingly happy to be a squad player, Ferreira is the man to turn to in times of injury crisis at Chelsea. With just over a year left on his contract, there’s no harm in letting him see it out as a reward for his role in the major revival of fortunes at Chelsea under Mourinho. Keep him.
Gary Cahill: Having signed in January, Cahill has had little time to make an impact at Chelsea. In the few games that he has featured in, he was ok at times but was a little nervous which is expected of him when you go from playing for Bolton to playing in the Champions League last 16 in Naples.
I expect he will be third choice centre back for at least the start of next season, no doubt he will push JT and Luiz all the way for their starting roles though. Keep him.
Michael Essien: Always gives his all and still is one of the better players at Chelsea in my opinion. Whether he fits into AVB’s project remains to be seen, but he’s worth having around even if he is to be used as a defensive midfielder.
If AVB deems him surplus to requirements, then there’s no doubt there will be a dozen of top teams across Europe waiting to snap him up. I hope he’s still here come next September as he will always have something to offer. Keep him.
Oriol Romeu: Has to be one of the bargains of the season. Despite a buy back clause in his contract, Romeu is a steal for only £5 million from Barcelona. Whilst not making a great impact initially after arriving at Stamford Bridge, he’s now very much a first team player.
He is looking like he could already become the technically gifted midfielder that AVB wants to anchor in front of the defence. I can see him being at Chelsea for many seasons, unless Barcelona decide that they want their gem back. Keep him.
Frank Lampard: The toughest call to make on out of the entire squad of players. Lampard is still a very, very good player but let’s face it, him and AVB don’t see eye to eye. Players don’t have to like their manager but it’s starting to sound like that their relationship is becoming a problem. If one of them has to leave because of it, then it’s only going to be Lampard, as AVB is clearly at Chelsea for the long term. It’s time for the player power era to end.
As much as I hope that they resolve their differences, I just can’t see Lampard accepting a smaller role within the squad just yet. Lampard is a legend but if it’s in the best interests of the team then sadly, Lampard has to go.
Ramires: Up there with Mata as Chelsea’s best player this season. The young Brazilian struggled to adapt to life in England and the Premier League, but he is flying now. Chelsea haven’t won a single league game without Ramires this season, that says everything you need to know. Keep him.
John Obi Mikel: I’m not really sure what Mikel does. He can’t split a defence with a pass, he can’t beat players, he’s slow on the ball…the only thing I recall him doing well is slotting in the defence when Luiz goes off on one of his little runs. Mikel isn’t good enough for Chelsea. With two years left on his contract it might be wise to see if someone is willing to cough up a few million for him. Sell him.
Raul Meireles: Similar to Mikel, I don’t know why Meireles was signed. An act of desperation after the pursuit of Modric failed? Most likely. AVB seems to like him and I’m not sure why, Ramires and Lampard are much better going forward and Romeu and Essien are much better at holding. Unless AVB sees him as a squad player next season then I hope he does what he did at Liverpool and sails ship after one season. Sell him.
Juan Mata: A genius on the field and a true gent off it, Juan Mata is a class act and a shining light in a so far dark season at Chelsea. Mata is exactly the type of player Chelsea need if they are going to be challenging for titles again next season. He’s sure to play a key role in any future success Chelsea hope to achieve. Keep him.
Florent Malouda: Oh how the mighty have fallen. Arguably the best winger in the league less than 18 months ago and now I wouldn’t even class him as a winger. I can’t recall Malouda having a good game in well over a year. He was a key member of the double winning team, but Malouda has had his best days at Chelsea. Sell him.
Saloman Kalou: He’s out of contract this summer and I’m quite surprised he hasn’t been offered a new deal. Whilst not being a fan favourite, you can’t accuse Kalou of not giving it his all whenever he steps on to the pitch. The majority of fans want to see him shown the door this summer, but I disagree.
He’s hard working, seemingly content with being a squad player and grabs a goal every now and again when thrown on. Admittedly he isn’t good enough to start for Chelsea, but there’s no harm in giving him a new two year deal seeing that he’s on relatively low wages. Keep him.
Fernando Torres: It’s impossible to summarise my argument about Torres into one paragraph so I’ll keep it short and sweet. He will get better. Chelsea paid £50million for him, even if it’s a matter of principle, Torres has to succeed at Chelsea. Should the team be built around Torres? No. However, a team can be put together so that Chelsea as a club and Torres as a player are both successful. Give him one more season. Keep him.
Daniel Sturridge: One of the highlights of Chelsea’s season so far. Sturridge has been in very good form for the majority of the season. His loan spell at Bolton clearly gave him the confidence he needed to make that step up to becoming a Chelsea regular. If he got his head up a little more and looked for a pass occasionally, then he has the potential to become a great player. Keep him.
Didier Drogba: Drogba seems to already have plans of his own after his Chelsea contract expires this summer. A move to China to link up with ex-teammate Nicholas Anelka is on the cards apparently. Drogba has been an excellent servant to Chelsea football club but it is time for him to move on. He’s grown up remarkably as a man during his time at the club and can leave with his head held high. Let him go.
Regardless of who is shown the door this summer, an out and out left winger has to be acquired. Whether that is De Bruyne stepping up to the first team or whether someone is signed, a left winger will allow Mata to play in his favoured number ten position at all times. He’s had an amazing season playing out of position, imagine what he can do in his favoured position?
No doubt there will be the usual media frenzy throughout the summer surrounding Chelsea, AVB and Torres. However, I expect both AVB and Torres to be there next season so it remains to be seen just how radical the changes will be at Chelsea this summer.
Written by Aidan Sweeney
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