Less than 48 hours after losing the Champions League final in Kiev to Real Madrid, Liverpool had already turned their attentions towards improving for next season. Instead of sitting on their laurels and basking in the glow of worldwide praise for their style and accomplishments (albeit without any actual trophies), they went ahead and fixed one of the major holes in their squad by signing Monaco midfielder Fabinho.
The move caught everyone else off-guard, and, just like last season’s big moves by Manchester City, has created a feeling of others needing to catch up. For Chelsea, that feeling is accompanied by an extra helping of gloom and doom, as we’re still just trying to figure out who the coach will be for next season, let alone trying to add reinforcements to a squad that will not be competing in the Champions League and could be facing several signficant departures.
Thankfully, some of those at the club right now are made of sterner stuff. Take Vice-captain César Azpilicueta, who has been with us since August 2012 and certainly has seen his share of ups and downs, wins and losses, trophies and palpable discords. He is confident the club will build a squad capable of challenging for trophies despite the lack of Champions League football in the upcoming season.
“Of course big players will still want to come to Chelsea because we win lots of silverware. I have no doubt that the club will get a squad that can compete to win for trophies. I am sure that will happen.”
“If the club decides that we need to get players in, I’m sure we will get the quality we want.”
This might be the one tangible impact of winning the FA Cup in fact, as it proves that even when the season itself is disappointing, the Blues are likely to be in with a shout for at least a trophy or two. There is a winning tradition at Stamford Bridge, and that was important to continue.
“It was important to win this season with a trophy. It shows we are still winners. When the results are not there, people look for something else.”
-César Azpilicueta; source: London Evening Standard
Two years ago, Chelsea finished their Premier League campaign in 10th place and without a trophy, even. But we still managed to convince N’Golo Kanté, Marcos Alonso, and David Luiz to join and they would all play crucial roles in the title win that would follow.
But other key members of that group have now either left or aged out, and their replacements have not quite reached the same level. They might one day however, which is one of the reasons the choice of next head coach will be extra important. If they do, Chelsea could have a strong core developing once again, one that can be augmented and filled out with smart spending in key areas. It won’t be easy, but if we can find a few more Azpilicuetas, we just might do it.