With a potential ‘striker clear out’ looming at Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, Inter Milan have been caught snooping about one Fernando Torres. Torres relationship with Chelsea fans has been a tempestuous one. Arriving for 50 million pounds in 2011, there were high expectations on the Spanish born forward. At Liverpool he had been a regular goal scorer, and was renowned for his lightning pace and lethal finishing.
The tangibility of Diego Costa’s transfer to Chelsea has now been further strengthened by the presence of Blues’ scouts at Atletico Madrid’s La Liga match with Granada last night. The potential buyers watched on as Costa scored the only goal of the match in the 63rd minute, gifting Atletico Madrid a 1-0 victory.
The goal only serves to prove what they surely already know: Diego Costa is in incredibly goal scoring form. While his finishing often lacks the eloquence of other world class strikers, no-one can deny his sensational record this season. With 29 league appearances, 24 goals, and 3 assists, he is second only to Cristiano Ronaldo in La Liga’s top scorers’ charts. These stats are further strengthened by his European performances. Having netted 5 times so far in Atletico’s Champions League campaign, the Brazilian born Spaniard is sure to demand a hefty fee.
Speaking recently in an interview about Chelsea, former Blues manager Ruud Gillet has offered high praise for Mourinho and the London Club. Speaking specifically about their Champions League chances, Gillet suggested that Bayern Munich and Barcelona are afraid of Chelsea, and their managers’ ability to prepare his sides for big European clashes.
“I think, at the moment, the team that frightens everybody is Chelsea. Their strength, their depth, the way they anticipate the game.’
“I think Chelsea is the only team that can beat Barcelona and Bayern Munich, in the way they play, and I think everybody wants to avoid Chelsea.”
Early reports are suggesting that Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o will be out for at least a fortnight as he recovers from a hamstring injury sustained in this weekend’s match with Arsenal. With glimpses of form in his recent games, the injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for the 33 year old Cameroon international.
Eto’o opened the scoring in the 6-0 demolition of Chelsea’s London rivals, with a composed curling effort on his left foot. Leaving the pitch almost immediately after, Jose Mourinho must have suspected the worse. Having scored 3 goals in his last 3 Chelsea appearances, his absence will be regrettable for Blues fans, at a time when winning every match is crucial to their title dream.
In a move that is uncharacteristic of Chelsea throughout the Abramovich era, manager Jose Mourinho has stated that the Blues will not look to strengthen their squad by bringing in another striker this January. Many suspect that the upcoming transfer window was the perfect opportunity for Chelsea to solve their striking woes with yet another splash of the cash.
“It’s not true what I read a couple of days ago, that his [Martinez’s] agent was in London meeting with me.
In the January market we are not going to buy any strikers.
Jose Mourinho may only be a day in the Chelsea job, but he doesn’t have much time to waste as he goes about organising his summer schedule. Chelsea have a good squad of players, but there is still a lot of work to do in preparation for the coming season. One of Mourinho’s first jobs will be to assess the squad and decide who stays and who goes. Identifying the needs of the team comes before any big moves in the transfer market, and while some decisions are easier than others, one of the biggest decisions he will have to make is what to do with Michael Essien.
It is perhaps a sign of how good a job Rafa Benitez actually did in the Chelsea dressing room, but there hasn’t been the kind of media outrage at John Terry’s exclusion from the Chelsea first team that we might have expected in recent years. Terry has struggled all season with injuries, and while he is still capable of big performances, he is in no way guaranteed to be first choice come the end of the summer. Terry fell behind David Luiz, Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill this season, and all 3 are far from falling into decline. It seems incredible that Terry can no longer get in to the team, but the question now becomes what will Terry’s role be at the club?
Poor Luis Suarez is reportedly devastated by his ten-match ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic last weekend, but only because it will probably destroy any chance he had of being named as the Player-of-the-Year for his goals for Liverpool.
He whined: “I am unhappy because this could break my dream of being recognised as the best forward in England this year.”
At least Suarez can console himself by being recognised as getting the biggest ban of the season, which eclipses the 8-game ban he got for racially abusing Patrice Evra a couple of years ago. I can’t help but feel really sorry for this decision as personally I think he should have been banned for life!
Chelsea have still got eight games to play this season. That includes the Europa League final at the Amsterdam Arena in Holland on May 15th. To get there, the Blues have got to get past the Swiss side Basel that knocked Tottenham Hotspur out in the last round. They are a good side, but Chelsea are better and have got the added bonus of Gary Cahill and Ashley Cole returning from injury.
The 27-year old central defender Gary Cahill seems to have been out of the Chelsea team for ages following a minor knee operation, but he is on the verge of returning. That is great news for Chelsea, as there could still be nine games to play if we reach the Europa League final by beating Basel in the semi.
There is an outside chance of Cahill making the match at Liverpool on Sunday, but if not then he will ready for the first leg against the team from Switzerland. He has already won the FA cup and the Champions League in his short career at Stamford Bridge and does not hide the fact that the group stage exit as holders of the European cup, along with exits from the English cup competitions were disappointing.