Should Chelsea Let Ramires Go?
The rumours surrounding Ramires’ future at Stamford Bridge are starting up again and the speculation does pose a conundrum for both the player and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.
It’s no surprise that Juventus are considering a move for Ramires after losing both Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal from their midfield this summer and, while the rumours about Paul Pogba have quietened down of late, there is still time left in the transfer window for something to happen.
Reports have suggested that Juventus are closing in on a loan deal for Ramires, but should Chelsea let the 28-year-old leave Stamford Bridge, even if it is only for a season?
Ramires has spent the past five years at the club after joining from Benfica and he was an influential player en route to the club’s Champions League success in 2012, even if he was suspended for the final. He made 47 appearances that season, starting 44 times, and the following year, he became an even bigger fixture in the side.
During the 2012/13 season, Ramires appeared in 64 games in all competitions, starting 54 of those. But, since Mourinho returned to the Bridge in the summer of 2013, Ramires’ role has gradually become less important to Chelsea.
While Blue Square have looked at how Mourinho can galvanise the career of Radamel Falcao, he at times seems to have had the opposite effect on Ramires.
He did make 46 appearances during Mourinho’s first season back at the Bridge, with 41 of those starts, but the signings of Nemanja Matic and then Cesc Fabregas have reduced Ramires’ starting opportunities.
Having consistently started nearly 30 Premier League games a season for Chelsea, Ramires was used only 11 times from the off last season. In all, he made 34 appearances in all competitions and started only half of those games.
After playing for Brazil at the World Cup, Ramires struggled to make an impact in the first half of last season and was challenged by Mourinho back in January to raise his game as Chelsea fought Manchester City for the Premier League title.
But, even though Ramires was only an infrequent starter for Chelsea last season, it didn’t initially appear as though Mourinho was ready to consider letting him leave during the summer transfer window.
There were reports that Ramires was in talks over a new contract to extend his stay beyond 2017 and that Mourinho likes his versatility and work-rate. But could the events of the last two games have changed Mourinho’s mind?
Ramires started the Community Shield against Arsenal, but was replaced by Oscar on 54 minutes and he was then an unused substitute in the 2-2 draw at home to Swansea in the opening Premier League game.
It hints that Ramires will be used in the same way he was last season and he must consider, even if he is happy at the club, whether he needs to move so he can play more regular first-team football, which he would certainly enjoy at Juventus.
For Mourinho, he must decide whether he has a squad capable of managing without Ramires, who offers qualities that no other Chelsea player possesses.
Juan Cuadrado and Victor Moses can provide back-up on the right of the attack, where Ramires is capable of playing, but in the centre of midfield, there is no-one in the squad with Ramires’ ability to get up and down the pitch.
John Obi Mikel and Kurt Zouma can play a holding role, if Matic is missing, for example, but there is no senior alternative to Ramires to offer an injection of midfield thrust.
Perhaps a loan move to Juventus may suit Ramires the most. It would give him the chance to play regularly and remind Mourinho of what he can offer, and that he is still capable of being the midfielder who led the charge to the Champions League final. But his absence from the squad would certainly be felt by Chelsea at some stage of the season.