There have been a great number of rumors flying around now that Mourinho has returned to the managerial post at Chelsea. There were always bound to be bits of gossip; some will be reasonable, while others will have only the most hilariously thin threads of sense attached. Fortunately for you and unfortunately for me, the WAGNH writers have been on top of all of this. However, since the rumors have been coming in fast and furious, I thought it'd be best to do a centralized comparison of the rumors, placing them on the same scale in some specific categories. With that in mind, it's time to look at all of those players linked to Chelsea as "desired by Mou" for additions to the squad. I'll consider price, value, and likelihood on a scale of 1 to 10.
The price has to be relativized to the player's position, age, experience, and talent to some degree, so I'll take that into account. In essence, a pittance for Lazar Markovic might be <£1 million, while >£15 million could be considered mini giraffes. I think his market price should be about £5 million. Chelsea often pay above market price because of the types of players they pursue. However, paying £34 million for Eden Hazard, while not qualifying for market price, falls short of mini giraffes because of his age, experience level, and talent. Torres was mini giraffes for sure.
I chose these three players, because they give a good idea (and the opinions of them are more or less unanimous). Benayoun is dead weight to a squad (I didn't want to label this category Malouda for sentimental reasons), Cahill is helpful support, but clearly not first choice. Mata is the proverbial Man of the Match, Player of the Season type.
This one is pretty self-expanatory. Based on price, need, desire (of us AND them), and contract length, I'll assess the likelihood of this type of deal going through from the rarity that is a Lamps miss, to the odds that Petr Cech does the difficult task of keeping one out from 12 yds, to the certainty that one day you will be brought breadsticks by Napoli's best waiter.
Stevan Jovetic (Fiorentina)
At around £23 million, Jovetic could come in for just about the going rate for attackers of his caliber. He's had some difficulties with injuries with 5 instances over the last two years, though only one of them was long-term. He's 23 and has played in the Italian top flight for almost five years now. One of the brightest talents in Europe, £23 million is not too much.
In 40 matches this season, he contributed 14 goals and 7 assists, sixth in Serie A. Jovetic is not the proverbial center forward, preferring to play with someone else leading the line. That said, he's a talented finisher and has good technical ability on the ball, and has the vision to facilitate direct attacking play. He could improve his pace and aerial ability. With his strengths and weaknesses, he reminds me of Lampard in his prime years (though perhaps not at that level yet). There's no doubt about his promise and experience (unless you're Graham and not Stephen), but I give him a 7 knowing that he'd be a long way from contributing as much as Mata/Hazard, especially with no system in place as of yet that would make smart use of him.
I believe that Mou admires the player, but Jovetic's skill set matches our squad's strengths rather that its weaknesses, and you can bet he and the board are aware of this. He's not really meant for the wing, but may be able to make the transition. In that case, though, I don't think he'd be better than Schurrle. I agree with Graham, we shouldn't go in for him unless we fill some other holes first. I have to admit this: I'm a huge fan, and I'd love to see him made a close second priority once our weaknesses are addressed. Unfortunately, he's more likely off to Arsenal before we get the chance. Frankly, I was surprised to see this rumor surface from such a good source, but I wasn't surprised to see no quotes attached.
As Graham mentioned, it's hard to imagine Dzeko leaving City for less than his transfer fee to City from Wolfsburg (£27 million). With that in mind, the price seems relatively steep at first. He's proven himself with City, but never earned the starring role he probably had in mind when joining up with the Manchester side. Add to that the fact that he's aged 2 and a half years since then and you see why the price seems a bit much. Of course, £22-25 million for a 27 year-old striker with one of the best goals per minutes ratios in the Premiership* doesn't sound over the top, especially when you consider that similar alternatives are almost all more expensive. In fact, with the exception of Lampard and the detestable Adam le Fondre, it's hard to imagine any of the players in the top echelon of that stat category going for £25 million or less.
*7th, behind the likes of Lil' Pea, Lukaku, Van Pussy, le Fondler, Lamps, and Hannibal Suarez.
I hate to say it, but Dzeko would pretty much be the answer to Chelsea's biggest issues in the striking department. This season, Ba and Torres have demonstrated a complete ineptitude for direct and intelligent movement around goal. Moreover, they've struggled with converting a high percentage of the multitude of chances CFC's hobbits have created for them. Dzeko may be fairly unidimensional (as you can tell from the above clip), but his knack for poaching goals is one dimension Chelsea definitely lack.
The price would be an issue since he'd be coming from a rival, and his lack of starts would be a troubling matter for the marathon sprint that is a Chelsea season. He makes sense, and could be cut-rate, but Chelsea are just as likely to fill the need with a big name like Cavani. His arrival wouldn't provide enough surprise to blow any minds, but since there haven't been any official links, this is not quite 50-50 for me.
Eliaquim Mangala (Porto)
Porto's asking price for Mangala has been cited at £30 million recently. Let that sink in for a moment. That's well within shouting distance of the amount we payed for Eden Hazard, two time player of the season for Ligue 1 and one of the most sought after young talents in the world. The center back is 22 years-old, a year older than Hazard was when Chelsea made their purchase, and at the risk of sounding redundant, I'll re-emphasize- he's a center back. Only Rio Ferdinand and Thiago Silva can claim to have cost such a price, and they had certainly proven themselves by that point. Sergio Ramos is the highest transfer of a center back under 23 and went for £24 million. Wild craziness, this is.
It's nearly impossible to quantify the benefit Mangala could have in our squad. Stephen noted that Mangala has impressive physical gifts, but he also mentioned the raw and inconsistent nature of his play. Considering the variability of our current center back situation, I'm not sure he wouldn't be a detriment in the Premier League. He could, of course, turn into as spectacular a talent as the men I referenced in the above paragraph.
There are several interesting targets out there that Chelsea would benefit from by adding to the central defense. Mangala is one of the least proven, and sits at the high end of the scale in terms of price. If Chelsea are going to spend silly money, they may as well try to force a transfer of Varane from Real Madrid. That actually seems more feasible to me (barely), given his close relationship to Mourinho.
Andre Schurrle (Bayer Leverkusen)
I think we're all pretty sure Schurrle would register £22 million from the bank. This is pretty standard fare for a young and skilled attacking midfielder with years of Bundesliga experience.
On the one hand, Andre seems like a good fit for the squad, especially considering that he could fit into several different roles in more than a few systems. On the other, he's nowhere near the most talent German attacking midfielder/winger, and he has hit a bad spot of form in recent weeks. Still, 11 goals and 7 assists is an impressive haul from 34 Bundesliga matches. For me, he's like Arjen Robben but not as good nor half as technically gifted. I guess, in his favor, he also falls down less often.
It's tough to know for sure, but Chelsea have marked their territory on this player, and Leverkusen will probably be forced into making the deal work with us, regardless of the KDB situation. Schurrle will be wanting away by this point, and other suitors will be warned off by the scent of Roman's riches. If I were a betting man, I'd be putting money on the deal going through, but we may be made to wait a while to see it completed.
Update: Likelihood lowered to 7 due to recent reports of the deal falling apart. I still think it'll happen, but it's getting shakier.
Daniele De Rossi (Roma)
How can you not love this face? - via e1.365dm.com
£10 million is totally tenable for the accomplished midfielder, and it'd be reasonable to tack on a couple more million. That is, it'd be reasonable if it weren't for the immense wages we'd be forking over. He's 29, so a four year contract would see us paying more than 6 million euros in salary to a 33 year-old. Woof.
While you'd be hard pressed to find a better defensive midfielder who can control games, the fiery Italian has struggled a bit of late, and seen fewer games at Roma than he would be expected to contribute at Chelsea. As Graham alluded to in his article, there are serious questions about his play going forward, but he's certainly able to add something to our current midfield.
While Chelsea may be keen, Roma likely aren't. If they wind up parting with Marquinhos, the sum will allow them to hang on to their beloved captain. We want him, we need someone like him, but we'll probably have to look elsewhere.
Lolz, I can't write these damn things fast enough. He's off to Man City already. Damn, that's a frightening midfield.
Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray)
With no reason to sell, Gala will want to hold on to one of their stars. He's worth his weight in notoriety for them.
He said it himself, he's not what we need in the midfield. His experience and leadership would be valuable, but he's not really a match for the likes of Mata and Hazard. I'd take Oscar over him as well, especially when you consider age.
Mou was linked to Schneider when he went to Madrid as well, but the deal never materialised then, when Wesley was closer to a move and closer to his finest form. This link is a thin as can be. Sorry Wesley.
Nemanja Matic (Benfica)
Not only would the cited price of £25 million be a supreme over-evaluation for the 24 year-old late bloomer, but his wages would surely have to be augmented in order to get the lad to agree to rejoin the team that cast him off just a few seasons ago. No way, Jose.
He's not Modric or Khedira, but he'd fill a hole probably as well as anyone in the squad, including Mikel. It'd be nice to have an upgrade on Romeu and Essien in the central defensive midfield role(s), but Matic would only be an improvement defensively. His passing in the Champion's League and Europa League this season combined for a dismal 78.7% accuracy rating.
I really don't see the draw for Benfica. They're in no need of selling, and the player can't be eager to jump back in the deep end at Chelsea, so they won't be forced to move him on. In all likelihood, we see him suit up in Benfica's red next season.
Such a spectacular video, I had to use it again.
Sure, he's still young enough and well-regarded. He's a big name, with big talent, at a big club who don't really need the funds. However, he wants to go, and the number of clubs lining up that would be willing to foot the bill for his wages is dwindling daily. That could help to lower his price into the reasonable range. He'll probably go for £22-26 million. A hefty sum, to be sure, but practically a bargain considering his market price last summer.
Gonzo wouldn't be the typical Premiership target man, but he has plenty of experience at the highest level of European competitive football. He's excellent on the ball, and knows where the net is. He's more often one to put the game on his shoulders and alter the course of a match than provide excellent team play, but frankly, we have quite a bit of the latter in our midfield and all too little of the former in the striking department. Thank said, he's still more technically gifted than Torres or Ba (or Lukaku at this point). He'd be a certain upgrade.
Well, this little piggy clearly wants to get the hell out of dodge, so you can be sure that RM will try to move him on and possibly even bring in another striker (Suarez? Cavani? Chicharito?). On the other hand, there's been little indication that Mou would want to go after him, considering he was often second choice for the man in Madrid. On the other hand, Mou convinced him to stick around last time (as D-Peezy's recent post noted), so maybe the two would cherish continuing their professional relationship. A move to Juventus has fallen through (due to their purchase of Tevez), and thrifty Arsenal seem to be the most commonly linked suitors out there, so a deal really could happen. What's unclear is the interest level of Chelsea, and the willingness of RM to deal with us, despite any bad blood with Mou.
Hulk (Zenit-St. Petersburg)
Couldn't help myself. - via www.totalprosports.com
He signed for Zenit just one year ago, and the sum was probably more than we were willing to pay then (£34 million), since he wound up there instead of here. That's an exorbitant fee; more than we payed for the delightful and highly-touted Eden Hazard. The only reason this silly amount doesn't register as mini giraffes is that Zenit may be looking to offload the Brazilian, who has been feuding with the club and manager since January. Guys, you wouldn't like him when he's angry. This bad press, and the fan reactions might just lower his price nearer to the reasonable range, but my hopes aren't high in that regard.
Don't get me wrong, I think Hulk is a special player, capable of the spectacular. He's a serious offensive weapon, and Chelsea look to be interested in adding a winger to the squad. However, he's had a tumultuous year in Russia, and finds himself in a frustrating situation in his prime years. If he struggles at Chelsea, his re-sale value will plummet, and even if he doesn't, can a player really ever live up to that kind of price tag? I don't know of many teams in the world that wouldn't benefit significantly from having a weapon like him, but he just wouldn't be able to justify the money it will take.
Hulk wants to go, but who'll spring for him? The tabloids think Chelsea's about the only possibility. Monaco seems interested in spending stupid amounts of money for names. That's much more likely. FFP and all, Chelsea have other bids lined up to fill the role. If Zenit put up a fight, CFC will be happy to overlook the Brazilian. At the risk of sounding like a broken record: no, no, no no no, no, no no, NO.
Julian Draxler (Schalke)
Put "looks good in blue" in the Pro column. - via thelionspitch.com
If reports are to be believed, it would take €45 million to pull Julian from his native land and plop him into a different blue kit. So why am I even writing this? Oh yeah, to avoid writing my final papers.
I'm ranking him just slightly above Hulk because he's been in good form and he's a bit younger. I actually have a soft spot for the kid, because he plays with immense passion. He reminds me of Thomas Müller in that regard. He'd be a great young addition, and he'd be an alternative to Schürrle, since he can play out wide as a winger/second striker type. That said, his skill set is more similar to Kevin De Bruyne, although I would probably put my money on Draxler put one in the net if I had to choose. On another note, he wears long or short sleeves really well, so if he flops, he could be a kit model!
Recently some German magazine called "Kicker" reported that Chelsea had some interest in Draxler, leading SportsWitness.com to claim the player is part of Jose's wish list as well. That's about the only reason this bit is even included in the post. That and I'm becoming a Schalke fan lately. This guy is one for the future.
Edinson Cavani (Napoli)
I challenge you to find a picture where this guy doesn't look like a behemoth. - via static.guim.co.uk
This isn't a 10 because he's just that good. Last season, the Napoli president was saying he wouldn't go for less than €100 million. Know why? Because he knew if he held onto him, the striker could actually go for more than £50 million. Unbelievable. I would put a 10 up there, but he's really the best striker available now that Falcao's gone to Monaco. He's unquestionably one of the best in the world.
The availability of strikers that could be effective alternatives (Lewa, Higuain, Jovetic, Dzeko, Bony) is the only thing bringing his value down. He would be an instant and massive upgrade on every one of our current strikers. He is now what we hope Lukaku will be in a few years. Clinical finisher, line-leader, smart runner, and strong holder-upper, he's the total package.
We just crept above 50-50 with the talks undergoing and MCFC having done quite a bit of their summer spending already. I don't know of another club that could compete with our buying power at this point, other than Real Madrid. There's been much less linking him to them, though, despite Higuain wanting away. On the other hand, when the likes of Real and City are backing away after a look at the price tag, maybe it's prudent to examine other alternatives.
I'll probably come back and edit this, adding any other pieces of intrigue that pop up as they come, and I'll revise some of my considerations as more news flows in. Who knows? If I find some comments convincing, I may even qualify some of my judgments based on persuasive arguments. Until then... live the Blue, geezers!
Boom. - via img.thesun.co.uk