(PREPARE FOR A LONG POST)
Just for the sake of having fun, let's fantasise a bit. We choose the transfers, we collectively are the Chelsea
managers, and we're going to bring back our old dominance. (Oh, and we'll pretend that we actually use our youth
It's no secret that this current squad of ours is probably our weakest it's been since around... 1997... maybe even
before that. Over the years, we've had the greatest little Italian to ever grace the Premier League, the best defensive
midfielder (Yes, I rate our old Frenchman far higher than Arsenal's old Frenchman), a dominant Ivorian leading the
line, and fantastic squad players along the way consisting of handy players like Belletti who could play just about
anywhere on the pitch when called upon.
I miss all of this. Don't you?
Our most common formation over the years has been the 4-3-3, but there's been many loopholes found in this
formation now, hence many teams switching to a 4-2-3-1 including us, so for the purpose of this piece let's just use
a 4-2-3-1 throughout.
Using a 4-2-3-1 formation, what is our strongest line-up of all time?
In my personal opinion (I'm sure many will argue a strong case against this), I'd say -
Harris, Desailly, Terry, Cole
Duff, Zola, Robben
You'll notice that Lampard is in that awkward CDM position. I understand that he's better in a more attacking role, and that Zola is better as a 2nd-striker and not in that hole etc, but they had to be fit into this formation somehow!
So - Transfer-wise, how could we REALISTICALLY possibly re-create this team by say... January 2013?
Let me show you.
Kane, Cahill, Terry, Bertrand
Jarvis, Mata, De Bruyne
Butland, Isla, Luiz, Mikel, Ramires, Lalkovic, Sturridge
Now let me explain:
GK and Defence: Courtois needs another season out on loan to Atletico Madrid, a loan move in the Premier League, and THEN I think he'll be ready for us. We'll keep Cech until then. Todd Kane from our youth is a hard tackling defender/midfielder with a no-nonsense approach. He's also got a great shot on him which never hurts! (Well, it'll hurt the opposing goalkeepers hands!... wow, what an awful joke, I know.) I prefer players of the same nationality to be starting together in the back 4 simply for communication reasons, hence Cahill getting the nod over Luiz . Terry and Bertrand are obvious choices.
Midfield: This is one player whose hype is actually deserved. M'Vila is such a FANTASTIC talent. He's the natural heir to Makelele's throne. He can pass, he can tackle, he can shoot, he can run (a lot), he has vision, he has great positioning etc. He has it all. I do personally think Romeu could be just as good, but I do see Barcelona buying him back. Mascherano will be moved on soon I think (and he's being used as a defender now anyways), so with no real good back-up to Sergio crumbles-like Biscuits, they could do a Fabregas on us. Nuri Sahin is clearly out of favour at Real Madrid. Yes, he's had injury problems, but if the media are to be believed, Jose is starting to think it was a wrong purchase, at the wrong time. He's the perfect deep-lying playmaker. He can pass like Pirlo, tackle like Mikel (which means his tackling is decent enough), and has vision which will leave you in awe. We should at least try and loan him.
Wingers/hole: Jarvis is English. He's a winger. His team has just been relegated from the Premier League. He would be cheap. He can cross. He can shoot. What more could we want? Mata needs no explanation. De Bruyne, although naturally an attacking midfielder, plays great on the wing (and we already own him, so that's a bonus). I believe he's naturally right-footed, but when I've seen him, both feet look as good as eachother. He's also a free-kick specialist.
Striker: Cavani. No, he's not on this list just because he's suddenly 'famous' and has a lot of hype surrounding him. He's on this list because he plays like Drogba did in his prime. He's a work horse. He helps at set pieces, whether for or against his team, he can head and shoot, he holds up play well, has great teamwork, and looks like he'd be a fun guy to have around. He'd be a perfect addition.
As for the subs, Isla of Udinese is just the perfect utility player. Give him a job to do on the pitch, and he does it. Mikel has shone since RDM took over, and I believe he can play either as a defensive midfielder or playmaker. Ramires, as we've seen, is competent on both wings, and can play in a deeper role. Plus, I love his smile when he scores!!! Luiz should be obvious. A good player who will only get better. Lalkovic is a great youth product who IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE FIRST TEAM. Believe me. Give this boy some time, and he will shine. He can play anywhere as long as it's not a defensive role. Sturridge is...well... I'm not sure. I hate his personality and ego, and his selfishness has me pulling my hair out at times, but maybe if used in his favoured central role, things would change. Butland is just a great goalkeeping prospect. Simple as that. Probably England's future No.1.
M'Vila - £15mil
Sahin - Loan
Jarvis - £4mil
Cavani - £35mil
Butland - £2mil
Isla - £8mil
Bosingwa - £2mil
Cole - £10mil (To a team like PSG or Malaga.)
Essien (Love him but he's past it.) - £4mil
Torres - £20-30mil (Atletico Madrid, Malaga, etc.)
Malouda - £5mil
Kalou - £7mil
Hilario - £1mil (If we're lucky.)
Meireles - £8mil
TOTAL: Around £62mil
So to completely freshen up our team, we lose £2mil-ish. Not bad.
Now, I have some off-topic points to make which really irritate me. I'm sorry for sounding like a know it all, but listen.
Piazon, Feruz, Chalobah etc. are NOT yet good enough for our senior team. Yes, any of them would be competent if given a cup run out vs a League 1 side, and Piazon would probably do OK vs. a team like Wigan, but that's it. They need TIME. No need to rush them. As for McEachran not among my starting XI or subs, I simply believe he's not good enough YET. He should be used as a back-up utility option... like Meireles...kinda. A lot of you will be angry, confused or crying right now, but hear me out.
The reason why McEachran is held in such high regard is because he's English, and because he was better than most of the other youth players when he was playing. Put him in our current youth set-up, and he'd be drowned out by the quality of our newer players like Loftus-Cheek, Baker, Swift etc. If you've seen him actually play, you'll notice he doesn't run. Like, at all. It's actually quite baffling. He just casually walks, looks into the sun and crowd etc. Yes, he has great composure and passing for his age, but his mentality is all wrong, and it's hard to just fix a broken mentalty (see Balotelli.) He needs a strict manager to sort him out.
(By the way, one final thing you should know about me - I HATE 'journalism' or articles in which people just write about whoever's got a lot of hype at the moment. Players like Neymar, Hazard, van der Wiel etc. I'm sorry for sounding perhaps 'mean', but if all you've done is watch a Youtube compilation of a player and then gone around saying he'd be perfect for our team, just ssshhh please. Actually watch full games of players before singing their praises. van der Wiel is just a slightly more competent version of Bosingwa, where-as Hazard is horribly inconsistent and has an ego which would make Sturridge cry. Youtube makes even Heskey look like a world beater.)
Sorry for the little rant parts above.
This was my first post, so I expect, and welcome, criticisms. Have a nice day fellow blues.