Despite his long, ill-tempered relationship with Spanish paper Marca and his being in Cote d'Ivoire on a humanitarian mission, Jose Mourinho has seen fit to grant his former adversaries in Spain an exclusive interview, where he seems to have dropped some rather large bombshells about Chelsea's plans over the summer.
The first, and certainly the main story for the Real Madrid-favouring paper, involves Ramires. Despite the recent too-good-to-be-true rumours of him being used as some sort of pawn in a move to finally land Croatia's Luka Modric from the Champions League title holders. Incidentally, you can take the non-essential organ of your choice from me to make that happen. Thankfully for my gallbladder, he had this to say on the subject:
"Se queda en el Chelsea, no se vende."
According to my non-existent Spanish skills, that's something like:
"He stays at Chelsea, he's not for sale."
Apart from the disappointment of not seeing Modric coming the other way, and his inherent annoyance, I'm still pretty glad Ramires appears to be staying. We're not exactly tripping over quality midfielders of the non-attacking variety, so shipping one out without a replacement lined up is a pretty silly thing to do. Should that Modric thing be real, though, I'll drive Rambo to Madrid myself.
After discussing the Brazilian, the interview moved onto the midfielder we've actually managed to sign, Cesc Fabregas. Like Marca, Jose has had some well-publicised beef with the ex-Barcelona man in the past, and I don't mean that time they got drunk and went to the steakhouse*. In any case, their relationship seems to have vastly-improved of late.
"Cesc es un gran jugador que da una nueva dimensión a nuestro equipo. Es diferente a Matic, Ramires y Óscar. Con él tendremos un centro del campo muy completo. Al fichar a Cesc yo pretendía un centrocampista con un perfil determinado y ahora con su llegada ya lo tengo"
Translated, that's something like:
"Cesc is a good player who brings a new dimension to our squad. He's different to Matic, Ramires, and Oscar. With him we'll have a more complete midfield. When buying Cesc, I was looking for a certain type of central midfielder, and with him, I'll have it. "
It's good both that Jose is fine with his newest charge now, and that he's excited to have him. No matter what you think of Fabregas, there's only one man whose job it is to figure out how he fits into the squad. That man is Jose Mourinho, and that man is happy to have him. Therefore, he has a plan to use him to maximum effect.
On the theme of Spaniards and Brazilians, Marca naturally wanted to know about long-rumoured transfer target Diego Costa, who may-or-may-not have already agreed a move to Chelsea in principle. Jose said:
"Es un futbolista que quiero tener en mi equipo. Se lo he pedido a mi club y tengo total confianza en que lo vamos a conseguir y finalmente fichará por el Chelsea"
"He's a player I'd love to have in my team. I asked the club to sign him, and I have total confidence we'll agree a deal and finally sign him."
All I can say is, "Finally!" Diego Costa has been "a Chelsea player" for a good few months now. I, for one, am getting pretty sick of the "Maybe he'll sign this week!" stories.
For their final topic, Marca and Mourinho picked one of the biggest in English football, if not European or World football. Who will be Chelsea's No. 1 keeper next season. Finally, we seem to have a solid answer:
"Aquí no hay ninguna historia. Según acabe el Mundial, Courtois regresa directo a Stamford Bridge"
There is no story. After the World Cup, Courtois will return directly to Stamford Bridge."
That sounds like a pretty solid answer to me. If Courtois is coming back to Chelsea, and we know he doesn't want to do that without knowing he'll be No. 1, it follows that Courtois is very likely to replace living legend Petr Cech in goal for us. Of course, that leaves the question of what we do with Cech, but it's unlikely to me that we have him as our "cup keeper", especially after re-signing Mark Schwarzer.
Really, the only issue I've got with this is that it's a highly-convenient interview, clarifying a lot of important points of discussion with good answers, from a source known to be somewhat-antagonistic with Mourinho. I'm sure Marca are reputable enough not to up and fabricate quotes like these, but there's still a grain of doubt in the back of my mind. I'm sure it's nothing, though, and that we can trust these quotes.
[*This anecdote may not be accurate.]