So, it seems that Raul Meireles will be following Michael Essien out of the exit door, albeit on a permanent deal which will make him the second central midfielder we will lose in a matter of days. The motivation for selling Meireles to me are unknown, he's performed well when used this season against Newcastle and was fantastic last year in the latter stages of the Champions League. His versatility has been a key for Chelsea in the rotation system, and selling him when the British transfer window has now closed, to me, could be one of the worst moves we have made for a long time.
It would be wrong to say Meireles was a starter in the first choice Chelsea side, but the season is long and with John Obi Mikel, who seemed to be doing the job of two people in Friday's encounter with Athletico Madrid going to be ruled out from January for the African Cup of Nations, Chelsea will be left with a selection dilemma. Frank Lampard is 34 now, and it is still a work in progress for him to develop into a deeper sitting midfielder. Due to his inability to make the same amount of ghosting forward runs and contribute as many goals as in previous seasons, Di Matteo has seemingly attempted to re-style Frank into a more defensive player, in an attempt to keep his influence on the pitch, as there is little doubt he still can make a great contribution in the upcoming season.
Then, we have Ramires. He's been playing out on the right under Di Matteo and I would prefer to see that change. He's great at breaking away, and when faced with a broken field situation there are few players better - but, when waging against an organised, well positioned defence, his crossing can sometimes let him down and he can look stuck for ideas on how to break them down. There is no-one better however for industry, and I see throwing Ramires into that midfield position the key to adding more energy to our central midfield, and allowing us to play at a higher tempo, which would suit the clever forward players such as Hazard and Mata, as well as freeing up space on the right for either Marin when he returns or the new signing Victor Moses.
Oscar played the 10 role for Brazil at the Olympics and looked superb, but I think it could be a while before we see him more at Chelsea. He has a very slight build, and will take more time to mature in to the English game, but when this eventually happens converting him into a central midfielder could solve all these problems. The issue is, that his creativity would be better spent further up the pitch in areas that could lead to goals - and this is the way he has always played football, so we are still unaware of the quality of his tackling and positioning and these traits can take time to be acquired. The last suggestion I've heard recently is to bring back Michael Ballack on a free transfer. He had an indifferent season at Bayer Leverkusen last year, but he would undoubtedly be welcomed back by the fans. If he could get back to near the level he was playing at Chelsea, we really would be on to a winner, but its a lot to ask of a player who turns 36 at the end of this month. Worth a try? Definitely.