So I have £100m to spend and looking at the the half-way reliable rumours floating around, this could very well be the figure spent this summer.
To decide where we need to strengthen we must first know our weaknesses. I, like many, hold the view that the positions we need to strengthen are Pivot/Defensive midfielder, Striker and Centre back, in that order. In my opinion, we need a starter at ST and DM. I am fairly happy with the starting Centre backs we have, however depth is needed given that Terry gets injured every other game he plays and Ivanovic is cover at Right Back. I also believe that depth is needed at other positions but not as urgently.
I am going to deal with each position individually and reveal my master plan for both who to bring in and who to let go:
This is where the talking points are and where the Chelsea community is most divided.
Whether to recall a certain Belgian:
Sell a Spaniard who's "BACK!!!!1!!!" every couple of months or so:
Purchase a hulking Uraguayan:
There's even talk of a young Englishman being the cure for our ails:
Now you know why the page took forever to load! I have to say I am unsure about this one. On one hand I think Lukaku is probably just below the level we need right now, however I do think that he would improve immensely given a starting spot at Chelsea. The other realistic options that I see are buying either Edison Cavani or Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang. Obviously these are not the only two players on offer, but they are the two I have chosen as the ones I fancy the most.
Cavani has been pretty well covered here: Link
Edison would cost around £45m according to reports.
Aubameyang is a 23 year old currently plying his trade at St Eteinne. He is quick, a decent finisher and he also has a leg up on Cavani in that he is versatile; able to play on either wing. He is the second top scorer in France behind big Zlatlan with 19 goals. However Giroud was the top scorer in France last year. I believe Aubameyang could be got for £15m and it is a case of you get what you pay for here in my opinion. Cavani is a world class striker in his prime. Aubameyang is a decent young player with still a lot of potential and some stand-out attributes however he is nowhere near the attacking force that is Cavani.
Then there is the issue of the strikers currently on our books. I think everyone is very well acquainted with Torres, he had a decent season statistically and played well towards the end, but overall his level of performance wasn't consistent enough. He was terrible for large parts of the season.
Coming towards the end of the season Demba Ba's form went the opposite direction to Torres'. However he played well when he first joined and I really don't don't think given his form over the past two seasons we should judge on the last two months. The same goes for Torres.
My Verdict: Aubameyang for £15m and recall Lukaku. I believe this gives us the best of both worlds. We have a quality striker if Lukaku doesn't perform every game and we don't run the risk of another 50m flop or the pressure to play Cavani every match.
In terms of selling players I really think it's time for Torres to go. Get his massive wages off the books and have Lukaku, Aubameyang and Ba competing for places.
Gross Spend: £15m
Net Spend: £5m
The band of three in our current 4231 is undoubtedly our strongest area at the moment in terms of starting players. Mata and Hazard are possibly the two best creative/attacking players in the Premier League, Oscar is extremely good as well . However when one of The Three Amigos are rested Moses is the man to step in. Moses has been poor at times and his decision making can really leave a lot to be desired although he is still young and is obviously talented. When two of the three are rested Benitez opted for Benayoun... which leads me to believe depth might just be needed! And is essential if Mourinho continues with the 4231. If Mourinho decides to switch to a 433, I would see Oscar playing in the midfield three with Mata, Hazard and a striker ahead of him. So in my opinion depth would still be needed in the winger spots.
So what are our options?
We have a BELGIAN!!
Aaaaannndd that's about all we need in my opinion.
De Bruyne has shown his quality with Werder Bremen and I think he is ready for the step up, although I can see the argument for another loan. Schurrle is a quality player who does the job of running at players better than Moses and is also a decent finisher. In case you are worried about overloading the squad with AMs both De Bruyne and Schurrle are versatile players, Schurrle able to play at Striker and De bruyne in a deeper role.
Now to players we have on our books: Hazard, Mata and Oscar should be rested for the new season, annoyingly Oscar looks set to play in the Confederations Cup. Benayoun is dead weight and, sadly, Marin was pretty terrible on the few occasions he played. Piazon should be loaned out, maybe to Malaga again should they lose Isco. Moses had a largely decent first season and hopefully next season will be better. The less said about Malouda the better, I'm none too happy about Chelsea's treatment of him though.
My Verdict: Release Benayoun and Malouda. Loan out Piazon and Marin. Recall De Bruyne. I am going to pass on Schurrle because I think considering we have already bought Aubameyang and Hazard is the undisputed starter there is no need to spend £22m for someone to sit on the bench or be an impact sub. I really do like Schurrle, I just don't think he is needed and especially not for that price.
Gross Spend £0
Net Spend £0
*We would probably gain about £8m p/a on wages but I'm not going to include these.
I am going to cover both the pivot in a 4231 and the Midfield three in a 433 here.
Our inability to control the tempo of games, and slow games down to protect a lead has been the single biggest problem with the team this year. In the 4231 we need a "Destroyer" to break play up and a "Regista", a deep lying playmaker to start attacks from deep. This year we have lacked both really. Lampard's passing isn't that bad, but he is more direct than a Modric. David Luiz isn't a midfielder (Although he can fill a hole in an emergency), Ramires isn't a pivot player and sadly Mikel has been injured.
In a 433 we have a lone holder, a Mikel or Romeu, and his two midfield partners are usually box to box type players. Looking at the current squad our best Midfield three would probably be Lampard/Oscar-Mikel-Ramires. However now Romeu is the only other player suited to a 433 in the squad. As I said earlier this is the position we need to strengthen most.
So who have we been looking at and who should we be looking at?
Marco Van Ginkel
To name a few. We have been linked with numerous other players and there are plenty of other players available, but these are the players I have chosen to focus on.
Van Ginkel has been excellently profiled by Stephan here. A great young, complete midfielder suited to both a 433 and 4231. As always though the worry is if he'll be able to handle the step up to the Premier League.
Thiago Alacantra's Buyout has been confirmed at €18m, obviously a steal for a player of the 22 year old's caliber. However this announcement came with the caveat that he'd like to play further up the pitch. We don't know how strong he is on this and maybe he would accept playing in the midfield of a 433 however slotting him into a pivot doesn't look promising. Nonetheless an outstanding player for that type of money.
Daniele De Rossi is a fantastic player and would work as a destroyer in the 4231 and as a holder in a 433. He is a great tackler with decent passing and offensive abilities as well. However De Rossi is nearly 30, on high wages and would quite possibly be expensive probably the £15m-£20m range.
Luka Modric is a world class Regista, a deep lying play-maker. Modric hasn't got anywhere near the playing time he would get at almost any other team in the world at Madrid due to possibly the best passer in the modern game being on Madrid's books. We have tried twice in the last two years to get Modric, only Porto like negotiation from Levy keeping him from our grasp. Modric is a world class player, however he is two years older than when we first bid £40m for him, at nearly 28. Modric would be fantastic, but there is no need for Madrid to sell so the question is, is he still worth £35m-ish given his age? For anywhere around £20mish, he would be fantastic.
Sami Khedira would me more the "Destroyer" in the 4231, however he is also technically sound as shown by the gif above. Khedira is almost a workhorse type player. In the Real Madrid team he is pretty restricted to defensive role, however for Germany he is allowed to be much more adventurous and he excels in both roles. I personally don't believe that Khedira is on the same level as a De Rossi in terms of destroyer and he is nowhere near a Modric offensively but his selling point is that he can do both. I would very much welcome Khedira at Chelsea, but the big obstacle here again is the club he currently plays for. Why would Real sell?
Xabi Alonso one of the best strikers of the ball in world football. He plays alongside Khedira as the regista in Real's 4231. He would certaintly improve Chelsea at this point. However there are a few major drawbacks to Alonso: He is 31 years of age which means that not only is he past his peak but also we would probably only have him for 2-3 before his level of play drops significantly (if it hasn't already). Another drawback is, again, the fact that he plays for Real Madrid. If he is available on a free as reported a few weeks ago, Alonso would be a great stop-gap for a year or two, otherwise..
Alex Song is by no means World Class, but he is a player who would improve our midfield that isn't getting any playing time. Song is solid defensively and also a decent passer of the ball. Barcelona acquired him for £15m last summer and I would say that evaluation is fair. He is also only 25, so he has a few years left in him yet. I really don't see any reason why Barcelona wouldn't sell, so I would say that barrier would be easy hurdled. This one would make a lot of sense, and I really would like to see it happen for around the £10m mark.
In terms of the players already on our books; I think we should keep all the senior players on our books. Chalobah and McEachran should be sent out on loan to Premier League or Bundesliga clubs in my opinion along with Ake, possibly Loftus-Cheek as well. I don't think any of our other youths are ready for a top level loan.
My Verdict: To start off I am going to purchase Marco Van Ginkel, Van Ginkel has shown some great stuff for Vitesse, he is young, quality and Stephan, who has watched more Vitesse games than anyone I know, thinks he's ready. So for about £12m Van Ginkel is in. With my next signing I am going for more youth with the 22 year old Thiago Alacantra for £15m(€18m), he is able to play all over the pitch in midfield and I think he would complement Van Ginkel's skillset very well in the squad. I am backing Mikel and Romeu to be enough depth at the lone holder/destroyer position.
These are the only purchases I am going to be making because I am naturally frugal and this is the only value I really see here (apart from possibly Song). However I would be delighted with any of the players above coming to Chelsea, and I few other names that I've seen mentioned are Gundogan and Strootman. The reason I din't include these is because I really don't know them enough. Bottom line though, I am going to continue our current policy towards youth and value, but at this stage I would take anyone in Midfield given our current roster.
Gross Spend: £27m
Net Spend £27m
At the moment in Ashley Cole we have an extremely solid Left Back. Then we have Ryan Bertrand and Patrick Van Aanholt. Cole has agreed to a one year extension, while Bertrand and Van aanholt both seem at be on roughly the same level and that level isn't quite Ashley Cole's level sadly. So our options are to hope that one of them improves enough over the course of the year either at Chelsea or on loan, or sign someone new. The name bandied around has been this man:
Fabio Coentrao is a 25 year old attacking Left Back currently plying his trade at Real Madrid. He, along with the entire Madrid squad, has been linked with Chelsea these past few weeks amid quotes from the man himself more or less confirming that he's going to leave this summer.
I would put Coentrao, in both quality and playing style on the same level as Ashley Cole now, although I'm sure most of you have seen him play for Real in the Champions League and Portugal in EURO 2012, where he was one of the outstanding performers. Coentrao would push Cole for his starting place next season and would certainly be a great addition, however, as with all the Real players we've looked at thus far, his price might be an issue. Two years ago, Real payed €30m for Coentrao.
Another player that has been talked about is Luke Shaw, who has garnered 25 premier League games for Southampton at just 17 years old and is a Chelsea fan to boot. For £10m a buy and loan back would seem like a good option here.
By far the most pressing issue here is what to do with Ronan of Fluminense. Why is this so important you ask? Because he is my namesake! Having a legitimate reason to get "Ronan" on a jersey would be amazing! Thus a buy and loan back would be cool here as well. In two or three years I fully expect Ronan to be played in every match regardless of performance.
My Verdict: Buy and loan back both Shaw and Ronan to their respective clubs, for a combined cost of £15m, I would say. Loan out Van Aamholt again and keep Bertrand. For Coentrao it all depends on price, if he can be got for around £15m then I would go for it, anything over that and I would be a bit iffy. Here I am going to leave it because I believe with Monaco and PSG out there that he would cost over £20m, but for the record I would be all for it for around £15m.
Gross Spend: £15m
Net Spend: £15m
Technically we should be ok at centre half, we have Terry, Ivanovic, Luiz and Cahill(Champioins League winning partnership!!!) but Terry gets injured every second game and Ivanovic is right back cover. That leaves only two reliable, full time Centre backs so allowing for injuries strengthening is certainly needed.
I don't really think a starting player is needed here, just quality depth. we haven't really been linked with any players but let's take a look at a few possible candidates;
Mangala is a 24 year old defender for FC Porto. Mangala is good from what I can tell but I really don't know much about him. From the few games I've seen of him I'd be willing to pay around £15m on him. He is certaintly good enough for depth and should be able to push for a starting spot, but, once again, Porto aren't the easiest club to negotiate with.
I think at this stage we are all very well acquainted with Raphael Varane. The 19 year old Frenchman has taken the world by storm following his post Christmas performances with Real Madrid. Varane is not only a great defender but also possesses real pace as shown by the gif above. However as outlined here by Graham unless Real are crazy this isn't going to happen for
almost any price. Sadly.
Marquinhos is another player I have garnered most of my information about by reading. From what I have read though he is a player just turned 19 who is consistently starting for Roma, and is very good. Sadly we will face the same problem here as with Varane. Roma aren't in any real financial difficulty and again won't really sell for a reasonable price.
My Verdict: For now I am going to assume that Mangala would be available for £15m and send Kalas, Christensen and Omeruo out on loan. Kalas to a Premier League club, maybe Christensen and Omeruo aswell. If Mangala wasn't available for a decent price I would consider keeping Kalas at the Bridge. Adil Rami and Kyriakos Papadopoulos would also be decent options.
Gross Spend: £15m
Net Spend: £15m
I think this is one of the more straight forward areas of the pitch this summer. Azpilicueta has proven himself a worthy starter and Ivanovic is very worthy cover. Leave Wallace at Fluminense.
We once again have a very pressing issue in Paulo Ferreira and his expiring contract. I think he should be given a coaching role and a £5m p/a rolling contract.
My Verdict: As above, keep Dave and Bran, loan Wallace and KEEP PAULO!!
Gross Spend: £5m
Net Spend: £5m
We currently have two of the best keepers in the world on our roster in Ross Turnbull an Henrique Hilario, but seeing as we're letting them go we're left with Petr Cech and Thibuat Courtois. This is a real tricky one as Cech is not only a legend at the club but he has just had another amazing season. Courtois was Goalkeeper of the year in La Liga at just 21 years of age. I would be comfortable with either as keeper for next season but I think it would be a shame to sell Cech now ,so despite being uncomfortable with how attached Courtois has gotten to Atletico Madrid, I'm going to let him stay and taste Champions League football there.
Thus we will need a back-up keeper for a year, I am for promoting Jamal Blackman at this point and reviewing again next year.
My Verdict: Loan Courtois to Atletico again. Keep Cech. Promote Blackman. I don't think it's worth buying an understudy to Cech seeing as his heir has already been chosen.
Gross Spend: £0
Net Spend: £0
There it is folks! My Summer Spending Spree or Summer Reserved Spending, either way this is how I would go about the summer spending given the opportunity. Hopefully we can keep away from another Torres? Please?
I would like to apologise here for any players we have been linked to and especially youth players that I have missed out on. I really am not as up to date on the youths as I should be.
I think the squad I have ended up with is a good one. We were a decent midfield away from a title challenge last season even with our problems at striker. I think here we have a good midfield and a good all round squad, one that will be here for a long time.
GK Cech, Blackman RB Azpilicueta, (Ivanovic) CB Terry, Luiz, Cahill, Mangala (Ivanovic) LB Cole, Bertrand DM Mikel, Romeu, Van Ginkel, Lampard, Ramires, (Thiago Alacantra), (Oscar), (De Bruyne) AM Mata, Hazard, Oscar, Moses, (De Bruyne), (Thiago Alacantra), (Aubameyang) ST Lukaku, Ba, (Aubameyang)
As you can see I have leaned towards versatility with my signings, almost every one of them able to play in multiple positions. This will be very useful if we have another long season or injuries become a real problem. I really think this could be a squad ready to challenge for the title.
Jose Mourinho, Jose Mouriiinho, Jose Mourinho, Jooooooose Mourinho
Total Gross Spend: £77m
Total Sales: £10m (+ wages saved)
Total Net Spend: £67m
This was my first FanPost on WAGNH( 3600 words!!) so take that into account. and stuff. I would also like to thank Stephan and Kevin for the help on twitter.
So what did you think? Please let me know in the comments!