The summer transfer market is now open. You know what that means, don't you?
Links with nearly every star under the sun (c. Kaka). Yes, wonderful links to wonderful players; links which are promptly denied or deleted with extreme force. Some of these rumors, mind you, have substance ... that is until said linked player publicly reveals his distaste for England or a childhood love of bitch assness (prevalent in Barcelona I'm told).
So, who's next to turn down an opportunity to be a part of the 2010 treble winners? Let's take a look shall we? Reminded: This is only a partial list; we've been linked with mucho jugadors already this summer.
Franck Ribery, Bayern Munich
The scarred Frenchman with an even scarier game is a wonderful player. A wonderful player in a position -- wing, preferrably right -- that should be our top priority this offeseason. With that being said, Ribery has been linked with almost every major club already this summer; Real Madrid, Manchester United and Barcelona are among his suitors along with us. ... F***.
Further dampening my mood regarding Franck was his recent statement regarding England: "(I won't move to England) because they have the same weather as in Germany," he's quoted as saying in Telefoot. Now, that quote seems a bit sketchy; However, I'm assuming the sentiment is not.
Still, there's hope the 26-year-old will be in blue next season -- not much, though. Bayern have confirmed their interest in Jose Bosingwa. Could the Chelsea and Portugese fullback be part of a deal for Ribery? Who knows (I highly doubt it).
Price: £50-65 million
Likelihood of joining: 3
David Villa, Valencia
Never really understood this one, though I'm pleasantly surprised the club decided to pursue Villa regardless of his obvious intention to remain in Spain. Chelsea's Spanish scout, Juan Cruz Sol, has revealed in Marca that we actually lodged a bit -- rejected, of course -- and that the Spanish striker that makes Fernando Torres look average is in "advanced talks" with Real Madrid. Obviously, never say never as nothing is confirmed ... but I'll say it: This isn't going to happen, people.
Price: £40-50 million
Likelihood of joining: Nil
Sergio Aguero, Atletico Madrid
Now this, this is what I'm talking about. Among positions targeted for improvement this summer, striker is near the top of the list. An impact player is needed, and Kun is ideal. Young, explosive, skillful -- all components Chelsea in its current makeup is lacking somewhat.
I've already written about the 21-year-old, but new developments have further wettened my appetite. The latest is a statement from Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo welcoming offers for Aguero. He also reveals there have been no concrete offers -- get on that Romes.
Price: £50 million
Likelihood of joining: 7
Yuri Zhirkov, CSKA Moscow
Chelsea has been strongly linked with the Russian international for some time, as a replacement/backup for both Ashley Cole and Florent Malouda on the left side. All this linkage with no real hint of official contact with CSKA or a firm bid.
Then, just a few days ago, Zhirkov unleashed this little gem for all to see: "I would prefer to play with Barça, although that does not mean that I will automatically discard Chelsea," he's been quoted as saying in several media outlets. Well, beat it then grouch.
That's not the even half of it, though, people. Now, the Daily Mail, is reporting that Roman himself has stepped in to convince Zhirkov to ink with Chelsea. Did this intervention involve a waterboard? Either way, it looks as if the 25-year-old may be our first signing of the summer.
I think the real question is whether or not we need to be spending £15-20 million on a potential backup. The answer clearly is no. I'd much rather see this type of money spent on a player like Valencia -- destined to join United it seems -- who could fill our right-sided problem with ease. I like Zhirkov, but we really don't need him at the moment. Nonetheless, depth has its advantages.
Price: £15-20 million
Likelihood of joining: 7
Edin Dzeko, Wolfsburg
This guy, who knows what his deal is. Dzeko, a superb prospect it must be said, was first linked with Chelsea in May when he revealed the club had shown interest in him. A month later, Dzeko, a 23-year-old striker with height (6-4) who has 34 goals in 60 appearances for the newly-crowned Bundesliga champions, has expressed a desire to leave Wolfsburg, stay at Wolfsburg, play in the Premier League and, now, fullfill a dream and join AC Milan. Is everyone following?
Price: £10-15 million
Likelihood of joining: 2
Glen Johnson, Portsmouth
Old boy Johnson? This has to be a joke right? Buy a player for £6 million, sell him for 4, then buy him back for 15-plus?
You're havin' a laugh. (Watch us sign him now.)
Price: £15-18 million
Likelihood of joining: 1
Ashley Young, Aston Villa
Young was among the first players linked with Chelsea following the Ancelotti appointment. He fits into our plans at a priority position (winger) and, at 23, provides much-needed youth for a side gradually reaching its apex. He also would bring with him bags of pace and a fairly solid service game -- his two main assets, a pair this current Chelsea side severely lacks.
Still, I don't know how I feel about a move for him. I think he struggles to improve play and lacks versatility -- enough for me to question whether or not he has the necessary skills to adapt against better defenders. On last season's evidence, that's a resounding no.
Then again, he proved to be a fulcrum for Villa, the player who was consistently called upon to produce not only service but goals as well. That wouldn't be the case at Chelsea; perhaps he would thrive in a less demanding role. That remains to be seen, though.
And, based on the ridiculously bloated fee we're looking at since he's English, I think there are much better -- and cheaper -- options on the market.
Price: £20-25 million
Likelihood of joining: 4-5
AC Milan quartet: Andre Pirlo, Pato, Gennaro Gattuso, Clarence Seedorf
With the African Cup of Nations stealing Essien and Mikel for a month or so next season, we certainly need an experienced midfielder or two to provide a seamless transition in their absence. Pirlo appears a solid candidate -- not a good or great one -- an exsquisite playmaker that relies on vision rather than speed. Would his game translate to the high-paced English style? Perhaps. Is he worth £20 million? Absolutely not.
Pato is the clearly the most attractive prospect of the four -- a former target of ours who, at 19, already has six caps for Brazil. Though new Milan coach Leandro has insisted he will not be leaving Italy, the Duck will meet with Ancelotti in the coming weeks. For what reason we don't know. Could it be for a transfer to Chelsea? Maybe. Could it also be a bit of gamesmanship to receive a pay hike? Definitely.
Price: £20, £30, £10, £8
Likelihood of joining: 4, 2, 1, 1
In all fairness, Ancelotti hasn't even taken over yet (July 1). I guess we should all wait until then and see who decided to turns us down.
Who am I kidding? I don't want to wait, and neither do you. Drop me a few lines on who you think would be a good fit -- and who wouldn't. Any other targets you want to bring up? Do it.
Start the discussion, people.