After witnessing our midfield having to cope without the dynamic twins N'Golo and Kanté in Sunday’s loss against Manchester City, the need for reinforcing that area (among several other areas) of the squad has once again become clear.
While it's debatable whether we'll actually see any major changes in personnel in this specific department — Kanté, Drinkwater, and Bakayoko are all signed on long-term deals and Fàbregas is looking for an extension — one former Chelsea midfielder has coincidentally opened the door for a potential return back to his “second home”.
“It’s the team for which I will always have a special affection and where I still have the desire to play before ending my career. I’ve been dealing with an injury recently [but] I can say without a doubt that it’s like my second home I know that the doors of the Stamford Bridge will always be open for me, and to go back to wearing the club shirt someday would be spectacular.”
Ramires, who joined Chelsea from Benfica after the 2010 World Cup, suddenly left in January 2016, shortly after the sacking of Mourinho and the arrival of Guus Hiddink, who did not favor him in his lineups. The “Blue Kenyan” — a nickname he earned for his indefatigable playing style while at Cruzeiro — has been playing for Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning ever since, collecting 17 goals and 11 assists in 70 games, but generally flying under the radar when compared with the likes of Paulinho. But just like his former international teammate, Ramires is hoping to earn a move back to Europe.
He’s been strongly linked with Inter Milan, a club also majority-owned by Suning, but a January move did not materialize. Ramires has not given up hope for a summer move however even as he remains focused and committed to his current club.
“Everyone knows Inter are a great club and that playing in Europe again is a wish of mine, but for now I’m thinking about helping Jiangsu have a great 2018. Nothing else is going through my head right now.”
-Ramires. source: UOL Esporte via Google Translate
As romantic as the idea might be of yet another former hero returning to the club, this scenario seems highly unlikely to actually happen.
Ramires is coming off of an injury, is about to turn 31 and his best attributes as a Kanté-esque midfielder were already on the wane two years ago. He may have done well in a relatively weaker league, but the Premier League would certainly be a tougher nut to crack. His age also falls on the wrong side of Chelsea’s over-30 policy, which was thoroughly tested in January but largely passed when 31-year-old Olivier Giroud agreed to an 18-month contract.
On the other hand, after yesterday’s performance, we could use somebody with the capacity for the spectacular, the never-dying spirit of a Hero of the Camp Nou, the fight of a feisty Ramires. As a true backup for Kanté (which we do not have), we could probably do worse.