A few more cheques that Roman would be happy to sign.
Chelsea has held the reputation of having a history of big money signings and (read ‘especially’) on the wrong players. Here is a list of players the club would do itself a great deal of good by bringing in:
Defensively, Chelsea were a roster that remained a powerhouse all over Europe, but after introducing fresh faces in the attacking department for the last season, defense seems to have taken a back seat. The blues are known to posses and produce the best of defenders, while the current crop begs a few questions. David Luiz has proved beyond doubt that midfield is where he belongs. This leaves a few academy youngsters like Jeffrey Bruma and Tomas Kalas waiting to come up while the likes of Sam Hutchinson still in hunt for some quality game time in a blue jersey. All of this calls for someone to support Cahill and Terry at the back.
Options : While Subotic appears among the expensive options, Mourinho could fish for smaller fish in the sea with the likes of a Hector Moreno, Sebastien Langkamp or Timm Klose. Dejan Lovren appears the best option, due to his age (23), skills and champions league experience at Lyon.
Defensive Midfield : One of the 2 stand-out features in a characteristic Chelsea midfield of the ‘Special One’s’ era was a bison in the holding midfield involving strong players like Makelele, Essien and Geremi. As of now, except for an average and much criticized John Obi Mikel and a Michael Essien past his prime, Chelsea’s ball winner cart is pretty much empty.
Options : Sven Bender meets meets all the requirements of a top-draw defensive midfielder, but Dortmund already having lost their central playmaker (Mario Gotze) and talks of Lewandowski following the door, it would be too expensive a purchase, that too only if possible. Kevin Strootman is another cheaper option alongside Maxime Gonalons. Sami Khedira isn’t among the best options as with Alonso already making the headlines for his departure, Los Blancos would cling on to the german pretty tightly.
Central Midfield: The other stand-out feature of the ‘Special One’s era consists of an experienced long ball orchestrator. This included the likes of Ballack, Deco and later Lampard getting the responsibility once Mourinho left. Right now, except for an ageing Lampard, Chelsea lack a long ball specialist with good precision.
Options : Having lost out on a quality ‘regista’ like Joao Moutinho, it is best for the blues to look for a youngster like Marco van Ginkel – an exuberant youngster hailing from a country with a long list of talented playmakers. He could take over the mantle once held by ‘Super Frankie’. Once again reports of a Modric arrival are plain farfetched.
Winger : With the ‘3 Amigos’ sizzling with their sleek yet profound display of attacking football, the blues are not a squad light on the flanks. Nevertheless, bringing someone on the wing would allow Mata and Oscar to play more often in the centre and allow Moses and Marin more game time.
Options : The stocky brazilian with immense passion and affection for the blue jersey is hands down, the best option. With the evident unhappiness and tensions between the club and the player, Chelsea could strike a deal for close to €40m. Others in the market include Jesus Navas and an €80m-worth Gareth Bale. Once again Mourinho also has the choice of investing in lesser known wingers like the Ukranian Yevhen Konoplyanka.
Striker: Goes without saying that the club simply does not possess any striker at the moment who can perform consistently. Torres has finally managed to shut his critics, but one still wonders if he is the man who can stand up and spearhead Chelsea against the best of European defences. Ba on the other hand, still hasn’t clogged the crisis of strikers. Chelsea need to invest heavily on a talented and experienced talisman up front. Options : While Radamel Falcao's move to Monaco was undoubtedly a punch in the gut for a Chelsea faithful, it won't spell doom for the club as plenty of capable stars are still available and who better than Chelsea to possess the deep pockets required to fill the void with another elite talent in the transfer market.
Options : Cavani definitely heads the list with falcao out of the way. Reports of a Torres + 30m swap seems to be in the right direction as it ensures offloading Torres for €20m and rope in Cavani for 50. Stevan Jovetic comes next with his a knack of goal-scoring, performing at his prime in Serie A. If none of these, we could see Higuain following his manager at Stamford Bridge. Lazar Markovic is another name familiar with the Chelsea fans and at 19, the lad is extremely talented. Playing the role of a trequartista at Partizan Belgrade, the Serbian can also back-up as a playmaker.
Now the ones to be shown the door include:
1] Branislav Ivanovic : He’s been an impeccable member of the squad for the past few years, but doesn’t seem on course to follow a great career. His days of regular starts and quality performance seem a thing of past. He’s not fast enough to feature in the Premier League and depletion in the levels of strength doesn’t help either, not to forget the occasionally horrendous performance.
2] Ashley Cole: Another great contributor to the team. He has been and most definitely still is the best left-back in the world, but questions still loom as to how long he would be able to keep up that level of performance. With talents like Ryan Bertrand warming the bench, he definitely won’t be missed. Having extended his contract could be either to rope in one last season of classical left-back performances or to offload the veteran for a quality price if he doesn’t click good form.
3] John Obi Mikel: A sensational talent, turned out a good midfielder, but always remained to be called an ‘unsung hero’. All said, his performance this season or the last one isn’t really flattering. His strength is simply not up to the mark, speed is much below par, rate of interceptions is rock-bottom while his passes never lead to progress in play. Chelsea can ill-afford players like these if they have to cut down on the wages to fit themselves within the financial fair play regulations.
4] David Luiz : Informed about the eye-brows that would raise on mentioning this name here, it only makes sense to see that Mourinho would not tolerate light-headed players with immense recklessness on and off the field. The talent that ‘Geezer’ possesses is definitely a unique one, but one mistake in an important fixture could ruin all the effort put in by the team.
5] Florent Malouda: Needless to say, his exclusion from Chelsea’s season plans and lack of starts has made one thing clear – Malouda already has one foot outside the door. Lacklustre performances for the past 2 years remain the major reason.
6] Yossi Benayoun: Another player evidently having a foot outside the door. Wrong side of 30, lack of form and a misfit in the team, all point in only one direction. Why he was bought in the first place remains a good question, yet rhetorical.
7] Fernando Torres: Despite a late surge this season, Torres remains a misfit in a blue jersey. Playing alongside Ba has revitalized the Spaniard by getting some rest and also being a part of the 2-top formation. Nevertheless, Torres can leave the club on a high and fetch some good cash facilitating the arrival of another top-draw striker.
8] Demba Ba : Called a bargain for 7m in January, was never able to repeat the kind of goal-scoring form he managed at Newcastle. Ba was bought as an additional support for Torres to help both perform better, but at this juncture, a top European club cannot possess either of them.