Ever since Didier Drogba won us the Champions League (merci!), we’ve seen Chelsea heading towards a new direction in their transfer philosophy. Before winning the European title, Chelsea had a habit of bringing in experienced stars hoping that they could lead or at least help the team to get the glorified title, the only one that was amiss in the Blues’ crowded trophy showcase. Such habit also brought many locker room problems, and many managers were dropped as they couldn’t be able to bring the players together. The last we’ve seen failing at the job was AVB.
Roman probably thought along with his board that maybe the Real Madrid way of signing star players ever since the Galacticos Era that Chelsea was reportedly inspired wasn’t the right approach. So, why not bringing in some young stars and crowd the club with them so they could enjoy themselves ever since the beginning of their young careers? Logical idea, but I still think it’s a flawed one.
You see, I’m all for getting young stars from different places in the world. I loved Oscar’s move, as I always thought he was a pretty special lad ever since he emerged while playing for Internacional but was neglected by the media as he wasn’t the "lights out" player type like Neymar and Lucas Moura. Eden Hazard was a special buy as well; a guy coming from France being disputed by both Manchester teams and Chelsea couldn’t fail, even though a bitter Sir Alex Ferguson latter said that the guy wasn’t that good.
But Arsenal has already shown us that an overload of youngsters doesn’t bring you any silverware.
Yes, it’s a need now that FFP brings that the club should look onto developing their youth talents from the academies so they don’t show any major losses that could eventually hurt the team in UEFA’s eyes. But it’s a mistake when we only favor buying players because "they’re young and talented".
You see that young players also tend to be pretty unstable. They don’t have enough experience to deal with high pressure games, and while they’re developing their physical ability, they also have a bit of a fragile mind to sustain a long run of games. There are some exceptions (e.g. Neymar in Brazil, Hazard in France and Lionel Messi in Spain), but most of them aren’t able to carry their teams on their shoulders like the good old dogs do.
A club that has shown that to us many times is Manchester United. You might not like them, you can even hate them to your guts, but you can’t overlook how stable they’ve been for the last 2 decades. If you take a look at their transfer philosophy, you’ll see how they brought many youth players – see Javier Hernandez (Chicharito) and Phil Jones – but also a few old players who will likely drop in value in the following years while having really big wages – see Robin Van Persie and re-bringing Paul Scholes.
This mix of youth and experience is exactly what Chelsea should look into. Those stars might not have a good "selling value" in the future, but they will bring at least a good chance of winning a cup or a league title. By the way, it was announced recently that for the first time in history, the Premier League winner might receive in TV rights a 100 million pounds. Isn’t it enough money to be able to go a bit "crazy" on transfers?
We’ve already seen how our young players have been struggling recently with the short interval of games, mostly due to fitness. The team also struggled a bit with injuries, but they will happen. We can’t expect every 23-24 years old player to have a fully developed physical build like Lukaku.
I know that the Fernando Torres saga has developed somewhat of a trauma to most Chelsea fans recently. What could go wrong? One of the most loved players in the world, who had been one of the best players in the world in the past few seasons heading to Stamford Bridge! Unfortunately, his form had taken a dip both in Liverpool and in the Spanish national squad. Remember that he went to the 2010 WC with high hopes ever since he won the UEFA Euro 2008 against Germany and was relegated to the bench mostly due to injury and poor form with La Furia Roja.
The same case with Shevchenko. While a fan favorite and a very nice guy, he was already too old, past his peak and trying to adapt his playing style to England. Also, both players had Drogba to compete with, and the Ivorian God properly ate both competitors and used their bones as toothpicks (it’s an amusing image if you ask me).
We seem to forget how we brought Michael Ballack in his 30s to be highly successful for us in a short term, but the titles we won with him wearing the Blues shirt at least amortized the loss we had with the wages he commanded. And isn’t success what we all want?
Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea isn’t a selling club. They’ll eventually have to sell some players who might turn out to be not good enough or who will be looking for some constant first team action, but the team is following the league to be level in importance with Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid – all the three of them who make investments on winning tiles and not on selling players.
It’s nonsense to me to read comments like "bringing Radamel Falcao isn’t wise; he won’t have selling value and we won’t be able to amortize his cost". You’re wrong, my friend; we should look into players that will improve our chances to win titles, to make the team bigger than it already is. Silverware is what matters, and not being a "develop-and-sell" club such as Arsenal, who might have the healthiest finances in England – perhaps in whole Europe – but has a clear lack of trophies in their showcase.
Players in form, at the beginning of their peak, who’ll be clear improvements over the players we already have, should be targeted on the transfer market as well. Yes, we could go for Bony, but there’s a huge leap to make from Eredivisie to the Premier League, and even though he’s Ivorian it doesn’t mean he’d have the same success as Drogba (by the way, he already complained this week about his family inability to get a permit to join him in Holland – and I’m sure he’d have the same problems in England).
Still, nothing makes us sure that Stefan Jovetic, Andre Schurle or Bony would be clear improvements over Torres. We need those players that, in the final minutes of a match, will be calm enough to lob a keeper or to make a powerful header that’d be as strong as a footed shot. Some of our young stars have been doing that, but not as constantly as we need.
In the end, what do you want: to play sexy football getting 900 passes per game or get trophies year-in year-out?