So the Gary Cahill move is all official and stuff now, and that means I've got some opinions! They say that the human body is 80% water, but I'm at least that much in opinions and pithy comments, so clearly science is a sham. We'll have a long chat with Lion of Vienna Suite about our new defender later today, but for now let's just do some bullet pointing...
- First of all, Cahill's had an rubbish season. Whether or not that's because Bolton's two best players are out injured, thus leaving the defence exposed, is up to you, but I find it staggering that anyone could compare Cahill's play to any of Chelsea's four centre halves and pencil him in for a starting spot on the team. He's made more mistakes than any of them. While it's nice to have another England international around, it's difficult to see him slotting in as first choice immediately. On paper, he's CB number three at this point, and I find the thought processes of anyone praising Cahill while calling (say) David Luiz a liability utterly baffling. But hey, opinions, man.
- The main asset Cahill brings to the table is his aerial ability. With the fullbacks having issues with crosses and the defence as a whole struggling to deal with long balls, having Cahill around to mop things up could be very useful if Chelsea are expecting an aerial bombardment. In much the same way that Carlo Ancelotti used Branislav Ivanovic at right back over Jose Bosingwa against bigger teams, it wouldn't be crazy to field Cahill against, say, Stoke City. And, of course, he's helpful in dealing with set pieces at both ends of the pitch.
- Stylistically, Cahill's a reasonably close match for John Terry, and it wouldn't be particularly difficult to see a long-term partnership of David Luiz at left centre back and Gary Cahill on the right if Terry's missing for whatever reason. With there being some question (to put it delicately) on how many more games Terry will be able to play this year, this moves makes a lot of sense in that sort of context.
- With Cahill earning £80,000 a week and Chelsea paying Bolton £7M for his services, the overall package is about £30M. Manchester United paid out a total of £31M to acquire Phil Jones over the summer. Jones is a comparable player right now with a significantly brighter future than Cahill (on account of being more than six years younger). This deal looks significantly less attractive with that in mind.
- While the £80,000 per week figure seems outrageous compared to some of Chelsea's other buys - Ramires, Juan Mata and David Luiz are on significantly lower wages - I'd question whether it's fair to compare guys moving from other leagues (especially the Primeira Liga) to established Premier Leaguers who also happen to have regularly played for England. The amount of money Cahill got makes a little more sense when you remember that he's played more than 150 games in the league.
- This doesn't make a bit of difference to Tomas Kalas or Jeffrey Bruma. If they're not good enough to force Cahill out, neither is good enough to play for Chelsea anyway.