Its a Cruel, Cruel Summer
As the song goes by that diverse Scandanavian band Ace of Base it has been a cruel summer for football. “Why?” you might say. Well a number of reasons of which I will divulge throughout this article.. But before that lets look at the positives. We are of cours European Champions and the current F.A cup holders, coming in to the summer months promised all the fortunes and fame afforded by such success and the reality is that we are certainly reaping the rewards of Didiers fifth penalty at the Allianz Arena on May 19th. The club have signed some pretty big sponsorship deals with Delta airways and Audi, and we have acquired arguably the only two attacking midfielders in the world with endless potential. Superb. Benefits many could have only dreamed of back in early February.
So with the obvious strengthening both financially and footbally (yes, I know this isn’t a word), we are about to embark on an extremely exciting season beginning next week with a face-off with the big spenders in the Premier League. So why you might ask has it been a “cruel” summer? Lets start with the press and endless rumours spouted about potential signings. Inklings of early Abramovich years have again reared their ugly head. The papers have with last years success started linking us with just about every Tom, Dick and Harry in world football. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if tomorrows headlines read “CHELSEA MOVE FOR MARADONNA”, and if we do you heard it here first. While its quite exciting to be linked with everyone on the planet, especially for our twitter feeds, its the impact on the club that is most frustrating. Prices. Wages. Agent fees. These all go up when a club is supposedly in the market for players. Remember that man we shouldn’t get angry? Yes Hulk. That was at the beginning of the summer about the only deal we were sure would happen, so much so bookies stopped taking bets on it happening and all the reliable sources in sport were reporting it. Just over 2 months later and the deal hasn’t (in the public eye) emerged. And its quite clear that the price is the stumbling block in a deal Hulk was looking to push through back in May. Remember Crespo? Veron? anyone signed between 2005/2007? all overpriced. Some proved fruitful the majority couldn’t cut it. Yet again we are faced with the same problem in a market we had begun to tackle sensibly (bar Torres).
Prices. Nothing drives up the prices more than a European Championship/Olympic year. Clubs generally don’t sell until after these events in case a freak goal allows them to bump the price by 100% and fooling some naive club into making a reflux offer. Which is why I commend our board for acting swiftly on the Oscar deal, who has quite frankly been mesmerising in Brazils foretold stroll to Olympic gold. Will we move for other powerhouses of the youth set up to fill those ever publicised gaps at RB and CF? Perhaps for RB, but as always under Roman we will surely move for a proven star to hit the back of the net for the mighty blues this season.
Olympics and Euros have a bigger effect on the top sides preparations for a new season. The majority of our best players have been involved in one of the two events, one pint sized spaniard has played in both. With these players arriving late from the holidays, we have seen a stunted development of the new look team. Players out of position, reserves being called up, its not ideal and with only Brighton left before the community shield game we still aren’t anywhere close to seeing our best XI on the pitch. Our tour of USA gave some poor results and at times we looked like the new system wasn’t working and it probably wont until a few games into the season. Luckily Juan and Oriol will be back earlier than expected, which may also shift through a deal for Azpilicueta. But Oscar and a potential Hulk may not be anywhere near Cobham until the end of August at the earliest. Our title rivals have very little worry on this part. United have only De Gea, Rafael and Cleverley missing, City have……no.1. This is going to play a big part on our start to the season which is arguably not that difficult and may give the youngsters a chance to shine.
So while we bask in the glory of being the best in Europe and enjoy the fame that goes with it, stop and think for a minute about what the repercussions of a busy summer may well be for our beloved blues. And lets not get too worried if we do play poorly for the first few games. Fingers crossed for another successful season.