This morning's somewhat-unexpected news that Sky Italia are reporting we're close to a deal with Inter to sign Maicon in the neighbourhood of £8m has got me thinking about our right back situation, and what kind of options we actually have for replacing the dearly-departed Bossman.
I know a lot of you would say that signing a soon-to-be-31 Maicon would be idiotic, and, in some sense, you're right. That said, Maicon is only a poor choice if we're looking at him as a starting full back, and I don't think we are, if we're looking at all. If we're going to sign Maicon, it's going to be as a backup to Branislav Ivanovic, who is still one of the best right backs in the world.
In fact, I'd go so far as to say that there aren't many options better than Ivanovic for relatively-cheap. Two of the names, other than Maicon, who we're said to be chasing, are Frenchman Mathieu Debuchy and Pole Lukasz Piszczek. In my opinion, they're better than Maicon, but have one principle disadvantage. They're fairly-young. That means they're either going to be around for a while or will have to be sold.
Why is that a problem, you ask? Enter Todd Kane. Yes, the 19-year-old who travelled with the squad to Munich, and can be seen all over the celebrations. I'm sure you all know it by now, but Kane is very-highly-rated by Chelsea, and has excelled in the youth ranks for the last two seasons or so. I truly believe, barring any nerve-tonic- or mystery-spot-related mishaps, Todd Kane can be Chelsea's future right back. As mentioned, he is still just 19, but he's at a point where he should be challenging for a starting role in four or five years. With that in mind, I'm not sure Debuchy or Piszczek make more sense than Maicon any more.
With either of the two younger guys, you're going to have plenty of capable years left in them, which kind of blocks Kane's path to the first team. Ivanovic is only 28, and should have four or five years of quality left in him. Having two good right backs for that time is only going to block Kane. That's why Maicon is an attractive idea to me. He's 31, should settle well with our Brazilians, has plenty of experience in big games, and most importantly, should be gone in two years. Adding experience to a squad is never really a sin, after all.
At 19, Kane is old enough to be considered for a loan this season. He's not really good enough to be more than a bit player this season anyway, so a loan to the Championship, or possibly even a low-level Premier League side would serve him well. Follow that up with another loan the following year, and a 21-year-old Todd Kane should be ready to return to Chelsea and play a backup role similar to Ryan Bertrand this year, only on the right. With two or three years of backup work, Kane could then step into the top job, and continue in it for years.
Now, until it's confirmed we do have to treat Maicon as a rumour, and we have to admit that Debuchy and Piszczek are better players. Todd Kane is also a youth prospect, and an uncertain one at that, so we have to remain cautious over him, but getting a player who can more-easily fit into the process of bringing him through has to be something of a priority, since the staff at Chelsea rate Kane very highly. In that sense, Maicon, even though he's old, and not really that good any more, makes the most sense. He's just the sort of medium-term cover we need to let Kane grow up on loan, while providing definite experience to the squad. Plus, you know, Maicon tends to wear the number 13, and we haven't had one of those in a while.