Is the current Chelsea squad big enough to go again?
The season gone by was undoubtedly a very successful one for Chelsea Football Club. Top of the league since day one (although Manchester City caught them on all fronts except alphabetical order at the turn of the year), they rarely put a foot wrong.
Deservedly so, the Barclay Premier League trophy, and the Capital One Cup, has their name on it. Chelsea also managed to make major changes to their squad in the two transfer windows, and kept their net spending in check.
However, there were a couple of disappointments - a capitulation at home against unfancied Bradford City in the FA Cup, and an away-goals exit from the Champions League at the hands of PSG. Thus, by the end of February, Chelsea were in the running for only two trophies among the available four - the league title, and the League Cup.
This meant, for three months, they had to play only once a week.
Despite the obvious quality in every position, there seems to be a problem of quantity right now. Having used the same players throughout the season, with no FA Cup or Champions League since February, Chelsea looked tired and jaded towards the end.
Gone was the free-flowing easy on the eye style which marked the start of the campaign. Since the 5-3 reverse at Spurs, Mourinho got back to what he does best – shutting out the opposition and grinding out results. After all the promise when the season began, there were some games where his team were indeed ‘boring’ and tired looking.
This raises the question - were some players over-utilized? If they were, shouldn’t Mourinho expand the squad to cover for them, while also abiding by FFP?
The challenge next season is to retain the league title, the League Cup, go deep into the Champions League, and the FA Cup. The squad needs to be big enough to keep running till the end, playing twice a week every week from February.
The manager’s plan for the summer
Here’s what Mourinho has said recently.
“Will I have a busy summer? I expect to be busy going from my towel in the sand to the water and swim a little bit, that’s how I expect to be busy. Last season I was for sure more keen in selling players, in this moment the base is to keep my squad.
“I always believe if you are not better than you were the season before, normally you don't retain the title, so if we want to win the title next year, and obviously we want to do that, we have to be better. I have to be better, these players have to be better and maybe our squad needs some fresh blood to put the current squad under a bit of pressure.”
This suggests that he is only going to sign a couple of players, assuming that players he wants to keep, like Petr Cech, stay.
Here are a few players whom Chelsea could look at signing.
Newcastle just managed to escape relegation this season. Questions were raised over some players’ desire. Almost the whole squad seems to be on the market now, including World Cup hero Tim Krul. Despite the chaos around him, Krul still managed some impressive statistics – 96% claim rate and 1.9 saves per game.
Krul is a safe pair of hands. He might be tempted to trade the madness of Newcastle with a place on the Stamford Bridge bench, amidst more calm surroundings.