I loved the We Ain't Got No History Summer Shopping Spree. It gave us all the chance to impart our squad-building brains that had been confined to he shackles of Football Manager on the community. I loved writing mine and reading the others, especially the lengthy, well-written ones. Each of us created Chelsea squads that would have been set to conquer on all fronts, only for reality to snap into view and show us that, in fact, we didn't buy Cavani, Lewandowski or Marquinhos, and Romelu Lukaku is no longer at the Bridge. It's been far from plain sailing this season, with this afternoon's edgy win over Palace a good example of that.
With that in mind, I am proposing a We Ain't Got No History Winter Shopping Spree. Every single player in the Chelsea squad has come in for some criticism this season, in particular Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard, so which course of action will you take?
Is Ashley Cole's time up, do we need him to step aside? Has Frank Lampard lost his mojo to the extent that he should pack his bags and head for the States? Is the any way back in for Kevin De Bruyne and Michael Essien? What to do with Nathaniel Chalobah when he returns from his loan at Nottingham Forest? And what are the areas of weakness that need to be upgraded? The dreaded P-word seems to be the common consensus, but do we also need to find an upgrade to our strike force?
And who are your targets? Paul Pogba seems to be flavour of the month, but is his price tag too prohibitive? Nemanja Matic might solve a lot of problems, but would you be willing to pay his exorbitant release clause, thereby making the January 2011 transfer of David Luiz effectively cost around £60m? Is Radamel Falcao genuinely unsettled at Monaco? Or will you exploit the free market to tie up pre-contracts for the likes of Pirlo, Alonso, Lewandowski and Matuidi?
I think the £100m budget that was used for WAGNHSSS would be an excessive amount to spend this winter, so I suggest a limited net spend of £50m. If you're unsure of a particular player's probable price tag, then Transfermarkt usually provides a reasonably realistic price (although there are exceptions e.g. Paul Pogba, whose £22m Transfermarkt valuation is probably less than half what he'd realistically cost). If in doubt, go a bit higher than what you think is necessary, you'll generally get nicer comments. Take care to ensure that your proposed squad stays with the boundaries dictated by the Premier League and the Champions League, otherwise you could end up with key players being ineligible for certain competitions.
For new members to the community: in the summer, every member of WAGNH was invited to write an article describing how they would shape Chelsea's summer transfer business if they were Director of Football with supreme power over all new arrivals and departures, under the constraint of a £100m budget. This was called the We Ain't Got No History Summer Shopping Spree (abbreviated to WAGNHSSS) and the community response was spectacular, with dozens of submissions over the course of a few weeks. My proposition is for similar articles outlining who you would like to buy and sell this January, with reasons for your decisions and how the first team squad would look if you had full power.