The season is nearly at a close, and it's simultaneously been one of great success and great fatigue. Sunday night I was confident of a trip to Lisbon to watch my team play come the 24th, alas it was not to be, but there is still the slimmest of chances in the Prem, and then comes silly season. A time of great joy, and greater frustration.
And on this note, I began thinking of how I would enjoy the summer in a (moderately) ideal world. Now, I'm not talking about a world in which Neymar, Messi, Ronaldo and perhaps Ibra too all confess an unadulterated love for Chelsea and complete free transfers on minimum wages, I'm talking the ideal realistic scenario.
And I'll warn you now, it gets a bit long, but I'm hoping it's worth a read (I avoided listing all the sales and loans etc. to try keep it slightly shorter).
The only place I can really start is...
GK: An issue of controversy, and I know many will oppose my view here, but I want Courtois back, and I want Cech here too. Give Cech every cup game, Courtois every league and CL game, and then continue from there as the season progresses. If this is not possible, then keep Courtois and sell Cech whilst we can still make a profit, then perhaps even take Schwarzer as backup again, and if not him, then sign another experienced goalie who wants to have one year at a top club on the cheap.
Defence: To start, give Terry another blinking contract. Just one more year, he's been magnificent, nothing short of it, and speed hasn't been a necessity without the AVB high line, which I'm still convinced he was high himself when he concocted. Then I would say keep Cahill and Dave obviously, as well as Iva, and I'm also going to say as well as Cole. When he's stepped in he's still looked among the best in the world, and quite frankly, I would rather have Azpi at RB and Cole at LB. Controversial, but I prefer the attacking threat of Azpi and Cole than the occasional manbear-wondergoal that Iva produces. However, I don't want to miss out on Shaw, I see him as a future star, and no matter the cost, I want to invest in that, if he turns out to be Cole-level, then he's worth it, I would already say as raw as he is that I prefer his play to Baines', and he's valued at nearly 30 million too. Make Cole into the backup, and give him a more coaching role at the same time, with his influence, Shaw could be the real, real deal.
Keep Kalas around, maybe give him a few more games than this year, and use Iva as a RB and CB backup, give Zoum-Zoum-Zouma a premier league loan.
Midfield: To start, you'll see Luiz's name hasn't been mentioned among defence, this is by no means a sign of my desire to sell him, it is merely recognition of a permanent transfer to the Chelsea midfield. He has everything, technique, build, and skill (if you still doubt it, watch his bicycle kick against Atleti again, inches away from goal of the millenium). Matic, is quite indubitably now the first name on the teamsheet, don't even dare question it.
That leaves us with MVG, Ramires, Lampard and Mikel. Now I hear many hailing Mikel's defensive attributes, but I would rather have a youngster or a CB in there than Mikel. His defensive contribution is great, but his negative, slow play kills me. Sell. Lampard, I want him converted into a Giggs style player coach, able to step in if needed, but mostly switching to a coaching role. Ramires, I would sell. His stamina is undeniably great to have, but I can feel bad things coming whenever his name hits the teamsheet, my ideal world, we replace him with someone young, perhaps someone maybe not quite the finished article. This would leave Matic and Luiz as starters, with this new signing as a strong contender alongside MVG. And then the give Ake and maybe some other youths more of a shot. If MVG doesn't fully seem ready after injury though, keep Ramires around at least til January, and see where we are then.
Suggested New Signing: A year ago I would have begged for Romulo, him and Oscar together at the Olympics were phenomenal, almost psychic communication. Since then he signed for Spartak and got a major injury, he has looked good after coming back, but I'm not sure. Pogba is obviously up there, everybody wants him, but it's possible no one can have him. For me another possibility is Gabriel, of Botafogo, he's a young rising star, much akin to Romulo and I think he could be incredible, a very classy, balanced midfielder, with a good defensive mind. Then there's other commonly sprouted names such as Gokhan Inler and Arturo Vidal, etc. etc. You decide, I don't really mind, so long as they can do the job and have more than 5 years in the tank, I'll be pleased.
Attacking Midfield: Firstly, no signings here please, I'm happy. With a rest for Oscar at the start of the season I want to see him blossom. Salah and Hazard excite me greatly on the wings too. With regards to our youngsters, Baker has potential as fitting in Mourinho's concept of a No. 10. Thorgan, Piazon, Atsu and Traore all have potential to be great, keep them loaned, but maybe get a bit more aggressive for some depending on how they seem in the summer training camps.
Striker: Buy me Costa. Buy him now. I want him. I may sound like a spoilt child, but I don't care, at 32 million and a relatively young age, he has everything I want. He is passionate and win at all costs, and is the perfect fit for Mourinho. Expect to see him behaving himself in Blue too. Then there's the curious case of Lukaku and somebody-buy-him-please-Torres. Lukaku, he's a Titan, but he's not yet ready to lead our line, look at his performance in the back-end of the season, and you'll see why. Keep him as second choice though, and for God's sake make him stop talking to the media. If nobody buys Torres, keep him too, if we can give him to Atleti, that would be preferable, I want him to succeed more than anyone, but there comes a time, where we need him to do it elsewhere. Go save your legacy Nando. If we can get rid of him, keep Eto'o instead, or bring Drog back to be another Giggsy style player-coach, able to rise in times of need, much like a Marvel superhero....
Azpi - Cahill - Terry - Shaw
Matic - Luiz
Salah - Oscar - Hazard
Subs: Cech, Kalas, Iva/Cole, NEW MIDFIELD SIGNING, Van Ginkel, Willian, Lukaku
Others: Blackman, Iva/Cole, (Lampard), (Drogba), Schurrle, RLC, Ake, Baker, (Maybe a Loan-Recall).
And that my friends, is how we won the Quadruple...