Last Week to go Shopping

The Bridge

We are into the last week of the January Transfer period and at the moment across all major clubs in Europe the transfer front has been quiet. As for Chelsea there has been one major signing, Demba Ba.

After witnessing the recent losses suffered, it is clear that Chelsea is lacking that killer instinct upfront as well as a calming influence in the middle. Of course some would say that this is down to how a squad is managed. Though not having the correct players in crucial positions could also be a culprit for these defeats.

Winning a Premier League title has proven to be harder than ever, currently Chelsea is sitting third and rightly so. To be able to compete, the Blues need consistency in their results, they need to be able to grind out wins against the weaker teams and most importantly learn to defend a lead. If you look at the two Manchester squads their depth in crucial positions is far greater than Chelsea’s.

Even though the transition at the Bridge is imperative, players like Drogba, Meireles, Benayoun, Bosingwa, Malouda, Kalou, Essien, McEachran and Lukaku (and also Moses and Mikel missing  5 weeks’ worth of action for their participation in the African Cup of Nations) must be replaced to be able to compete at all fronts. Injuries and fatigue is a big problem at West London.

To be fair they were definitely some great buys in the summer. Hazard, Oscar, Moses and Azpilicueta all look like great signings with bright futures. Though Chelsea need at least four more players to be able to create competition in the squad and also to take some pressure off the starting eleven.

When buying players, one must look at longevity as well as the role they would play at the club on the field. Within reason (cost below 25m), below are a list of players that Chelsea need according to Benitez’ favoured formation of 4-2-3-1;

Marouanne Fellaini – Everton

Belgian, Marouanne Fellaini
Belgian, Marouanne Fellaini

Fellaini is a phenom, at 1.94m tall he has a physical presence on the ball and has a knack for scoring goals. Originally when the Belgian signed from Standard Liege, he was signed to be a box to box midfielder. He was there to control the tempo both offensively and defensively from midfield.  Though with the relatively thin squad at Everton, Moyes has used him in many positions from defender to centre forward and has rarely had a bad game.

He has the ability to score goals, has good vision, and shows good quality in the air. In Chelsea’s favoured formation, both deep midfielders need to have a certain type of understanding between them. One must be more attack minded whereas the other needs to be more defensively stout but also be able to connect the play quickly.

With the lack of muscle throughout the squad, the blues need strength to be able to consolidate the middle of the park. At the moment the premier choice is Lampard and Ramires. These two are great players but are not suited for this position. Ramires is more prominent in linking the play through his long runs whereas Lampard is most effective when sitting behind the strikers and scoring goals.

At the moment Mikel is the only player in the squad that is fully suited for this role. Though he lacks the flair and vision that the Belgian possesses. Fellaini is a player that can stand tall defending the back four but at the same time he can link the play with his slick passing and vision. Between Oscar, Mata and Hazard Chelsea have three of the best playmakers on the planet, they need quick service so that their counter attacks could be more effective.

With his fitness and brilliant positioning along with his Premier League experience, the manager could also use him as the sole deep lying midfielder. This will enable Ramires to play further up field or give the team the option to play with two strikers.

The negative to Fellaini is his lack of discipline. He has a tendency to lose his temper in crucial parts of the game, which at a club like Chelsea could prove lethal. Though he is still only 25 and with a solid group of leaders around him, he can be controlled as long as he shows the willingness to do so.

Miralem Pjanic – Roma

Roma's Miralem Pjanic
Roma’s Miralem Pjanic

The youngster has been dubbed the Bosnian Jack Wilshere and rightly so. He has showed through his time at Roma that he can directly influence play with his passing and vision. He can get the ball behind defenders and seems to be a pure midfielder as he is able to perform defensively too.

He positions himself well, can hold onto the ball with good composure and is able to shoot from outside the box. He is brilliant in set pieces and is Roma’s designated man for free kicks. The 22 year old has demonstrated similar discipline and poise that a young Lampard showed through his early days at the Stamford Bridge. He is loved by the fans in Rome, his passion for football is evident every time he plays and scores.

His short frame and slightly small build could be seen as a weakness in English football. The role of a midfielder in the Serie A is different than that of the Premier League, fitness and durability will be crucial for any midfielder in England and it will be no different for Pjanic.

Luke Shaw – Southampton

England Youngster Luke Shaw
England Youngster Luke Shaw

The 17 year old has been a revelation at St Mary’s this season. He has shown the skill, maturity and professionalism that Gareth Bale possessed at the same age. His stock has risen this year and is already been earmarked for an England cap. Trevor Brooking has described him as a player that is “technically gifted”.

With the re-signing of Ashley Cole for an extra year, Luke Shaw would certainly thrive under his tutelage and learn the craft from arguably the world’s best left back. Shaw has recently stated through his twitter account that he is a boyhood Chelsea fan and this will instantly make him a fans favourite.

His attacking prowess is superb, he can dribble the ball, has brilliant speed, can beat a player and put in an accurate cross, attributes of all great wing backs. Though what separates Cole from the rest is his quality in defence. He is good in the air, strong and positions himself well. Defensively Shaw is not there yet, but under the guidance of the veteran, this is something he can learn very quickly and effectively. If signed, Chelsea will surely have their left back for the next decade.

Leandro Damiao – Internacional

Brazilian Striker Leandro Damiao
Brazilian Striker Leandro Damiao

Built similar to Luis Fabiano in his prime, Damiao has proven to be one of the most prolific strikers in Brazil. His shape, stature and power are well suited for the English game. He possesses great ball control and typical Brazilian skill which will give him the ability to get past defenders with his feet as well as his strength.

To win the Premier League, a club should have at least 4 great goal scorers. United and City both have four great strikers on their books and right now this has been the difference. At the moment things are not happening up front for the blues.

With the recent purchase of Ba and the impending return of Lukaku, Damiao would add flair up front and strike fear to defenders around the league. They are missing a player that can receive the ball back against the goal and hold the play up. This is what Damiao offers. Furthermore, he has the confidence that all great strikers in the world have. He has a calm demeanour and is willing to give the ball away for an assist when need be.

Having played at Internacional in Brazil, he played alongside Oscar and together they could develop a great partnership that can be the corner piece of Chelsea’s attack for the next generation.

Proper assessment of players to buy is imperative. In the past Chelsea have been blamed for wreck less signings such as Torres, Parker, Sidwell, Pizarro etc. Being bankrolled by Abramovich gives the club the luxury to make these sorts of mistakes. But with the impending Financial Fair Play rule, Chelsea needs to approach their transfer policy differently. They need to get full value of every player in their roster as well as any impending signings. There is no need to buy the best players in the world if they will be a surplus to requirements.

It should also be noted that we have great youngsters currently either on loan or at the academy. The likes of Feruz, Piazon, Mc Eachran, De Bruyne and Chalobah are promising players that can contribute to Chelsea’s cause the next ten years and therefore should not be discounted.

  1. king elijah says

    all the players you listed are great players, but as for me I will suggest that chelsea back the likes of mceachran on loan. I believe the guy will play very well if given the chance.

  2. xtian says

    As for Mikel lacking killer passes and vision, I think its either he can’t do it for Chelsea or he has been restricted. I’ve been pretty impressed with the Mikel playing in the Africa cup of Nations.

    1. Gary Milburn says

      AFRICA cup of nations is hardly at the standard of the premier lge.mikel for me has had his chance for chelsea and come up short

  3. Maya says

    i think we need yo use our youth more often. we spent a lot on our academy. ancceloti was the only manager we had who used our youth. and roman’s worst decision was kicking him out. he could’ve earned us the CL and not just won it. anyway, players like feruz,josh,kakuta are great prospects and are as good if not better than pjanic,fellani…etc. luke shaw is great though. we have a brilliant young squad and brilliant youth products. freaking out and buying randomly is not smart at all. we only need a DM to pair up with rami and i think benat and banega are the best for us

  4. Anonymous says

    Good article, and I think all of them except Fellaini are god choices. Fellaini doesn’t seem like the the deep lying playmaker type of midfielder. Not only does he have to be a strong defensive player, but also have great long and short passing in his arsenal. I’m sure Fellaini is a solid defender but I don’t think his passing well be good enough. We would need a xabi Alonso, Sergio busquets, or Alex Song type of player. I personally believe davi Luiz is the Anwser to our problems in that position, he’s great on defense and is one of the top passers in your team. Whenever he plays there next to rami they loom like another team. I think rafa should keep Luiz in the midfield. We have Cahill, ivanovic, and terry for center backs so we’ll be fine there.

    1. Anonymous says

      That’s an interesting point about Luiz but do you think he is disciplined enough to stay put and defend when need be?

  5. Vaibhav Kumble says

    Fellaini. Absolutely not. Lamps is way better than him. We hav josh. De bruyne. Lukaku to come back. Courtois will take care of GK position. So all we need is a striker and maybe a CM. Isco is my choice. He absolutely took on Barca single handedly. If Torres does leave then we need a good striker. Else we can manage. We also have Piazon.

    1. Anonymous says

      I agree Isco would be a great buy, though is he able to defend as well as attack, midfielders in England need to be able to intercept play and defend

  6. Zane says

    You said Fellaini’s passing is slick. Mate you have no idea. That guy’s passing is like that of Ramires,their long passes are 50/50. Why do we need two box to box midfielders? We need a proper regista.

    The rest of those players named are also crap but maybe Pjanic-only problem is we already have Mata and Oscar. Do your homework mate.

  7. Blue blood says

    for dm we have david Luiz hi is far better in that position and we can buy vermaelen for replace him in the defence and for replace lampard we have josh and kevin. But in the strikers we need a world class one for me is higuain now, sell torres and with lukaku back in summer we will have Higuain, Ba and Lukaku good enough

  8. brynknight says

    I haven’t really seen enough of Pjanic, but all the reports I’ve heard have said he is a very good, young and versatile midfielder who could possibly solve our midfield conundrum. From what I know, he is similar in style to a young Frank Lampard, as you said, so why not? I don’t think he is much like Jack Wilshere, which is a shame because Wilshere would be absolutely perfect for Chelsea, and getting Wilshere himself would be almost impossible…but so what? We have McEachran!

    Fellaini is a bit unique in that he could play anywhere in the spine of a team and do a good job, because he is so good at the basics; tackling, shooting, heading, ball retention. His dribbling skills are also very underrated. Marouane Fellaini would be a utility man at Chelsea, which is no bad thing because we certainly don’t have enough squad depth right now. Could be a good signing. But his weaknesses (passing and discipline) could be fatal to Chelsea, so getting the best use out of him would be difficult.

    Shaw is a great young left-back, and for all the reasons you mentioned I would be very pleased to have him at Chelsea. But Cole, Bertrand, van Aanholt and Shaw in the same squad is excessive; we would have to loan two of Bertrand, PvA and Shaw. In all likelihood that would be PvA and probably Shaw, although all of them are ready for the Premier League. Again, complicated.

    Damiao just isn’t the type of striker we want; he had a great partnership with Oscar, one that could be very effective if it were rekindled. But the sort of striker Chelsea needs is a pacy, skilful, dribbler that can latch onto through balls. One that makes defenders quake in their boots.
    In other words, Neymar.

    I maintain that Neymar is the ONLY player Chelsea NEED, although a central midfielder like Pjanic or Fellaini could come in handy, certainly if Luiz’s injury is more serious than first thought.

    1. Anonymous says

      Fellaini could be Chelsea’s stop gap man and every club needs one.. Neymar would be an amazing purchase and so would falcao, but when I wrote the article I didn’t want to put major farfetched coups I wanted to leave it to transfers that would cost 25m

  9. Tom Gardner says

    Fallaini’s height, physicality and touch to protect the back four is his greatest value. With Frank probably leaving (dammit), he would provide some scoring from midfield. Just the quality depth he provides at multiple positions makes him valuable. I think he would be an excellent pickup, if the money is not stupid.

  10. Slim says

    I love dis 1. Fist of all u said em.. Fellaini, wel he is strong ad tall bt wat i like abt him is wat chelsea have been lacking all dis years sinne ballack left(ohhh my derlin BALLACK, he would always remain in my heart)ad dat is d riding(bully) of us in d midfield. Most club always ride us in midfield bcos we re not all dat strong so there fellaini comes in he can ride midfielders furstraight dem ad dat wat we need.

    Pjanic i haven’t seen him play bt any player 4rm seria A dat ppl say is good is good bt y sign him wen players like de bruyne, josh mcechran ad chalobah is Der bullshi* we don’t need him, it will be a insult 2 our youngstar(de will be saying 2 Der self re we not good enough or wat ad de wil jealous ad will want 2 move 2 anode team ad say i will show u. D like of Sinclair,stoch,di santo ad borini has showed us dat imagine our stoch collected d world best goal in anoda club f**k,di santo making d starting line up 4 wigan ad being Der keyman up front,sinclair even scored against us ad was bought bt city ad even borini being Roma boy ad was bought by Liverpool. Dats d sign of i will show u) so respect our team

    shaw is absolutely stupid idea watt!!!!! How can u sign a 17 yr old wat u tink van aaniholt,gordon, Nathan ake ad bertrand(do he is d none better among dem) menn!!! Dats wat i mean ad mean while aaniholt, Gordon,ake ad bertrand re even more experience den him so y sign him(useless).

    Damiao. Hmmmmmmmmmmm wat can i say he is a samba boy ad wat u always see in a samba boy bt attack adgood quality yeah he may be good bt not needed bt if he will come cheap y not bt any player 4rm international(brazil) not cheap ad i read abt dis guy he actually stop playing cos de said he was nt good mean he wanted 2 try if he can play soccer nt bcos he can ad cos of wat furstaightion mean if comes ad don’t perform well he will get furstaighted he will lose his head ad i say Torres is better Dan him ad menn we have lukaku,piazon,davilla,feruz(do he is nt matured yet bt time) if we really need a samba i say we go 4 a young 1 my pick will be henrique(he has physical presence ad i compare him with aguero. Mate Google him ad find out urself watch is video) ad my summary wil be only fellaini ad wat is lukaku doin in west brom wen he is suppose 2 here playing 4 us come we bought him 4 18 million pounds ad i say dats much 4 a teenager ad imagine he cost d same amount with ramires ad de didnt lone him oo ad look at dis now he is among d top scorer 4 wba wow hehehehe dats my boy

    so sign fellaini ad henrique ad he young also

  11. Octavio Louis says

    I love reading your posts. There is so much to read about, and I love it when you mix your life with those tips! Super!

  12. Smart Phone says

    Interesting article, keep it up!

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