There was a time when I hoped to write/read a similar headline announcing that Chelsea have signed the supremely talented Slovakian. Alas, the days of The Project (starring Andre Villas-Boas) are long gone Left with no other choice, Marek Hamsik has instead opted to commit himself to a different Project, this one starring his current employers:
I love this jersey [...] I'm very happy here. I have married this project and I want to continue to play here.
-Source: ESPN Soccernet
The 24-year-old's comments came as he signed a one year extension to his already long-term contract at Napoli, "ensuring" his stay in the South of Italy until 2016. Of course, contracts being malleable as they are in the world of pro sports...well...what I'm trying to tell myself is that this may not be the end of the road as far as the Hamsik-to-Chelsea rumors/hopes/dreams go.
But it sure looks less likely...and it wasn't all that likely at all to begin with, especially considering our rumored competition: Paris St. Germain and Manchester City, both of whom have recently beat us to prized signatures (hello there Javier Pastore and Sergio Aguero).
The fact remains, however, that our midfield will need some freshening. Frank Lampard & John Obi Mikel have been resurgent under Roberto Di Matteo, but the former is still not getting any younger, while the latter seems incapable of fully convincing all observers. Michael Essien has become a shadow of his former self (although still better than Raul Meireles, I'd argue). Oriol Romeu may or may not actually be alive at this point (my money's on a 'Weekend at Bernie's' situation). Josh McEachran won't be able to do it all on his own (although Ramires might).
In any case, Marek Hamsik would be (would have been?) a great fit at Chelsea and so now I'm a bit sadder. I guess I'll go re-watch yesterday's heroics for a quick fix.