Normally when I write up a rumour, it's been vetted for some semblance of plausibility. That's not the case here. The Mirror is saying that Andre Villas-Boas wants to clear out a whole host of big-name players in a £70M selling... spree. How'd they get that number? By taking earlier rumours of a Chelsea summer clearout and attaching random names and figures to them, of course.
Here's the Mirror's list:
*NB: Chelsea have apparently rejected an £18M bid for Essien already.
That is indeed £70M worth of player sales (or £78M, if you want to value Essien correctly), and looks like the sort of thing one would do if you signed up with Chelsea while playing a video game and decided to try to break even. It's worth noting that many of the players with huge salaries are on this list, so cutting ties with them makes some sort of sense in that it would drastically reduce the wage bill. However, not all of them will be leaving at once. Ever.
But, you know... we can have some fun with the idea. What if Chelsea just decided to blow up the team and reinvest the money (plus their rumoured £100M war chest) in a completely revamped squad? Let's play a game. We can 'acquire' players known to be available or those on release clauses, starting with £178M in funds. And when I say "let's" I actually mean, "I'm going to write stuff down and you will disagree with me in the comments."
Alexis Sanchez: He's on the market, Udinese are demanding £45M for him, and he's a perfect fit in a 4-3-3 without Nicolas Anelka. Would instantly be the best player on the team and one of the best in the Premier League. Cost: £45M; £133M left to spend. Replaces: Nicolas Anelka
Javier Pastore: Another star Serie A player who's ready to move onwards and upwards, the Palermo midfielder is going to command a huge transfer fee due to his age and relatively low wages. Fortunately, we have tonnes to spend. Come right on in! Some may prefer going for Wesley Sneijder here, but he's nowhere near as thrilling as Pastore when the latter is on his game. Cost: £40M; £93M left to spend. Replaces: Frank Lampard.
Radamel Falcao: One of the best centre forwards on the planet. Wants to come to Chelsea, on a relatively cheap release clause. With Drogba shipped off, there's no reason not to take him on. Cost: £26M; £67M left to spend. Replaces: Didier Drogba
Eden Hazard: Worth buying for two reasons. 1) His name. 2) To annoy Arsene Wenger. Oh, and he's also really rather good at football. Cost: £26M; £41M left to spend. Replaces: Florent Malouda.
Joao Moutinho: Like Falcao, he's supposedly on a release clause of around £26M, meaning he'd be cheap. We need a midfielder to replace Mikel, and he's it. Presumably would like to reunite with Andre Villas-Boas. Cost: £26M; £15M left. Replaces: John Obi Mikel.
- Gregory van der Wiel: We are in desperate, desperate need of a two-way right back. Van der Wiel is the answer, and has always been the answer. Let's do it. Cost: £15M; £0 left. Replaces: Jose Bosingwa.
This exercise has probably been seen as incredibly self-indulgent to some, but it's fun to immerse yourself in a world where money doesn't matter and much of the team is cleared out for you to play with as you like, which is essentially what the Mirror have done here. So I had some fun with it.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Petr Cech; Ashley Cole, John Terry, David Luiz, Gregory van der Wiel; Joao Moutinho, Ramires, Javier Pastore; Eden Hazard, Ramadel Falcao, Alexis Sanchez.