Transfer Window of 2014 and Possible Formations
Is it August yet? It is a good thing that the World Cup is back because normally this time of year consists of me checking frantically at possible transfers for the beloved Blues. I, like all of you, am ready to kick off the 2014-2015 Premier League campaign. First order of business is how is the Special One going to create a squad to dethrone Manchester City?
Como estas? I believe that is a proper way to begin any discussions about the latest transfer activity surrounding the Blues. With the additions of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas along with Torres, and of course DAAAAAAAAAAAVVVVEEEEE, we have summoned quite a few Spaniards. I personally love the addition of Cesc Fabregas, I believe he is a pivotal signing (pun intended) to winning over the Premier League through the midfield. Some people are questioning the ability of Cesc in playing that role and I believe he can thrive in that spot. Let’s all agree that one of our biggest weaknesses last season was our ability to break down defenses. Cesc has the ability to create fluidity and structure in the attack coming from that pivot midfield that will open up pockets of space for the likes of the Hazard and Willian on the outside. Cesc fits this "pivot" role quite well because of the attack dog mentality in defense of Oscar. I remember watching a game with my mom who does not follow the Blues, and she said in a game, "That guy who looks like he is twelve hustles back and is very aggressive to get the ball back." Mom nailed it. Oscar is a pest for any player attempting to establish possession in midfield. This allows some of the defensive pressure to be lifted off of Cesc, we saw last year that in that same role Ramires was able to move forward as well. One thing I admire about Jose Mourinho is that I believe he has planned Cesc for a while. He has wanted a player in that pivot role who brings the ability to break down defenses. His attention to strengthening the defensive skills of Hazard, Oscar, Willian, and Schurrle can now be appreciated as the side is now more built to not only break down defenses but also sit back and counter. I have no problem playing a counter game, it has worked. Just as Bayern. Also, one cannot deny the elephant in the room when it comes to Cesc Fabregas that has nothing to do with the tactical structure of the squad. You better believe Jose was playing a few mind tricks with his old pal Arsene. Cesc is absolutely determined to succeed in the Premier League, hence why he was able to leave his boyhood club. When Fabregas to West London talks began to surface people were shutting them down because of the past grievances between Jose and Cesc. The ability that Jose has to get players to buy in is remarkable. He knows people. He can fire people up, he can get under their skins. Cesc has said earlier in his career how he despised the Blues, and now he proudly wears the shirt. Why? Trophies and Jose. I personally think Fabregas is one of the missing pieces to bringing the title back to West London.
The Side Right Now
I know it is July and it is right in the thick of the transfer window, but let’s assess the side as is. Let’s begin with goalkeeping. To our disposal we have Courtois, Cech, and Schwarzer. No club in the world can touch our talent between the pipes, but unfortunately only one keeper can play at a time. I believe it is time for Courtois to wear the keeper shirt. Say what you want about Costa, the Atletico back four, or the likes of Koke and Arda Turan, Courtois was the reason this side made the Champions League Final and won La Liga. The 6’6" mammoth brought an unseen athleticism and calmness when the likes of Messi and Ronaldo were pressing against the less talented Atletico side. Also, Courtois has played outstanding for Belgium in the World Cup, keeping two clean sheets in the group stage and making pivotal saves in the quarterfinal against the United States. He is younger and more talented than Cech at this moment. I love Petr as much as anyone, but the youth movement is evident and Courtois brings a young dominant force in between the pipes. Here is the starting eleven I would throw onto the pitch right now if we had a match:
This lineup boasts an array of offensive talent to go along with a stiff back line and goalkeeper. The key to this lineup for me is Namanja Matic. The arrival of Fabregas as noted earlier signals an emphasis to break down opposing defenses. Nobody in our squad however is as versatile as Nemanja Matic. His emphasis defensively and his composure in sound tackling and establishing possession is among the best in the world. Just ask Yaya Toure how he feels about playing against Matic. If Matic can be a force in the middle and establish a ball demanding force, it will allow some pressure to come off the shoulders of Cesc Fabregas so he can go forward and pick out pockets of space for the attacking trio along with Diego Costa. Let’s hope we just purchased an injury free, Atletico form Diego Costa and not a Spanish form of Diego Costa. Costa brings a striker who has an uncanny ability to hit the frame, make channeling and darting runs, and win a lot of free kicks. His ability in front of goal with the ball is outstanding, the way he moves towards a pocket of space to shoot reminds me of Luis Suarez. I think Mourinho is impressed with his focus to finish, he is as pure as a striker can be. I think he will have the chances to score frequently with the offensive weapons we have at our disposal to set him up, but if there is one area I would like to see him improve, it is his aerial ability. For a 6’2 forward he loses the war in the air frequently. I personally think that by the end of the season Diego might be our number two option at striker, as I am a huge fan of Romelu Lukaku. One cannot deny what Jose did with Didier Drogba, and the build of Romelu is eerily similar to the Ivorian legend. Not to mention that Romelu still owns multiple pieces of Drogba merchandise, as he idolizes him. Romelu has shown he can score goals against top tier competition. The massive Belgian led Everton in goal last season, and boasts a combination of power and speed to go along with a relentless sight at goal. I favor him in the air over Costa, and he also has a higher ceiling. He has everything at his disposal to succeed, he just needs to have an attitude that will allow him to grow into the player Mourinho and the club see him as being. All in all, I love the current side. I could see a few more additions and subtractions, but this side absolutely has the quality for top silverware.
Transfer Banter, 3 In 3 Out
Transfers! Spending lots of oil money! Surprisingly we have had a lot of very good business decisions lately. From selling Mata for 37 million pounds and David Luiz for 48 million, we have loaded up some more funds to bring in some elite talent. For this portion I will dive into three players rumored to be coming to Cobham that I would love to see, and three players I would like to see leave West London. There are more than three players I would like to see leave, but we will look into three that are polarizing to me. We will begin with 3 out.
Petr Cech- This move has nothing to do with his ability or his past performances. He has been fantastic, but sometimes if an upgrade is available you have to upgrade. Courtois at this stage is an upgrade to Petr Cech, and although he has been a dominant force for years, we could get some funds for his services. The likes of AC Milan, PSG, Monaco, Barcelona, and any random Russian team with cash could be interested in his services.
Marko Marin- I just do not see a scenario where Marko Marin will ever wear a Chelsea blue kit ever again. The German spent last season on loan at Sevilla where he did capture the Europa League, but he lacks quality to be inserted into the side. He has the ability to play centrally or on the wing, but he is more suited for a central role. With the likes of Oscar, Fabregas, Van Ginkel, and Matic, he will not crack the line up. The only way a player cracks the lineup with those players in front of him is if he is a specialist. Mikel will play because he is a defensive specialist. We can use him in a role. Marin does not have enough quality to impact offensively in a number 10 role and is too small and passive for a pivot, it is time to cash in on him.
Ramires- Controversy! Yes, I believe we should listen to Real Madrid and cash in on the Brazilian. After a stellar campaign in 2012-2013, Ramires lacked to impress me. Too frequently did he give the ball away in the attacking third and too often did he cost us with a stupid and out of place foul. I think Mourinho is looking into another central midfielder who is an obvious upgrade, and Fabregas and Van Ginkel are already better suited for the pivot role under Mourinho. If Real is actually offering 30 million pounds, I say show Ramires the door.
Now we upgrade the squad with 3 in.
Filipe Luis- Another Luis who is a defender who has crazy hair. Filipe Luis brings another piece of quality to the side along with chemistry to flow with fellow Spaniards. His defensive structure from left back is strong, and he has the ability to press forward and pump balls into the box. His maturity and positional awareness are what impress me the most, and with Hazard attacking on the left it helps having a solid presence. This also allows Azpi to slide to his preferred right side, and Ivanovic can move to his preferred center back to provide much needed depth with the departure of David Luiz. An offer of 18 million pounds could bring him to West London.
Raphael Varane- Here we go. Big money. The young 21 year old Frenchman has spent time under Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid and has inserted himself into the fray of the defensive arsenal at the Bernabau. At 6’3 he offers a large strong presence who is exceptional at positioning and tackling. Varane would be an elite long term replacement to Terry who unfortunately cannot play forever. He has experience under Mou and it would be a blockbuster signing. Roman would have a big check to sign, with the rumored fee being around 55 million pounds.
Paul Pogba- Les Francais! If we were to add Paul Pogba, we would be adding in my opinion the world’s best young player. Pogba is a central midfielder who brings power, pace, creativity, aerial ability, and defensive awareness to the fray. A young Yaya Toure type of player would instantly thrive in a pivot role, and would bring an ample amount of ability. Imagine a threesome of Fabregas, Matic, and Pogba to rotate. I am currently drooling over the thought of this. He would be a massive upgrade over Ramires and could be had for around 60 million pounds.
That’s all for the July edition of the Blue Tennessean, Up the Chels and Blue is the color!