Jun 232013

Following the release of back-up goalkeepers Ross Turnbull and Henrique Hilario, there were rumours that Jose Mourinho might look to keep Belgian starlet Thibaut Courtois in London as second choice keeper behind Petr Cech.

However, it seems that short-term reliability has been sacrificed for long-term gain, and Courtois has been allowed to return to Atletico Madrid for the third season running. Courtois is seen as the long term successor to Petr Cech, and at 21 he has already impressed fans and managers across Europe with some incredible performances in Spain. He will be allowed to continue his development on loan for the 2013/14 season.

Courtois has been a resounding success at Atletico, and he has already won the Europa League, the UEFA Super Cup and the Copa Del Rey. This coming year will see him afforded the chance to play in the Champions League as he helped Atletico qualify for Europe’s premier competition for the first time in four years. It will give Courtois tremendous experience and bodes well for Chelsea in the coming years. Last season, Courtois earned the Zamora trophy in Spain as he conceded the fewest goals out of all the top keepers, letting in just 29 goals in 37 appearances, and the player himself is excited to return for one more year.

Speaking about the news, he said: “I am very happy because it was what I wanted. I have always said that I wanted to continue at Atletico next season and take part in such an important competition as the Champions League after we qualified for it in such a brilliant way. I am only thinking about continuing to enjoy the incredible support that we have and I hope we can continue to bring them a lot of happiness.”

While the decision is the right move for Chelsea long-term, it does mean that Mourinho has a decision to make over his goalkeeping options for the coming season. With Turnbull and Hilario released, the next in line to deputise for Cech should he become injured is Chelsea youth keeper Jamal Clint-Ross Blackman. Blackman has already featured on the bench for much of 2013, but it would be a huge risk to thrust him in to important games should Cech be unable to play. The question that Mourinho must answer is whether to trust the young inexperienced keeper or whether to buy a slightly more experienced keeper who is happy to sit on the bench for much of the season. The player himself is eager to prove himself, telling media recently: “I am well equipped to deputise for Cech following the release of Ross Turnbull and Henrique Hilario as I have learnt a lot. I was on the bench for most of the tough games in the FA Cup and the Europa League and I have understudied Cech so well. I will deliver when I am called.”

Much is likely to depend on how Blackman performs in training in the coming months, but it will be interesting to see whether he is given his chance or whether we buy a stop-gap keeper to see out the season.
Tell us, would you sign a new back-up keeper or would you place your faith in Blackman?

May 292013

It seems incredible, but it really appears that Radamel Falcao will snub Chelsea in favour of a team that has just been promoted to the top tier of French football. AS Monaco have been successful in the past, winning seven league titles and five French cups, but have had all sorts or problems and were relegated in 2011. They have a new owner in the Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev and are throwing his money around lavishly.

It can surely only be the money that has attracted Falcao to Monaco, where lots of rich people live because it is a tax haven. Monaco will pay Atletico Madrid the release clause of over £50 million for the Colombian striker, but there were a number of clubs willing to do so. Earlier in the season it was thought that Chelsea had almost sealed the deal for Falcao, while Jose Mourinho is known to be a big fan, so his decision to choose Monaco is clearly not motivated by dreams of football success.

The former Chelsea player Ricardo Carvalho has also joined Monaco this summer, along with the highly rated Moutinho and Rodriguez from Porto. With the French champions PSG also bankrolled with mega money, you have to feel sorry for the other French Ligue 1 sides. The way these two clubs have been spending money makes a mockery of the new proposed FFP rules, because there is not much TV or matchday revenue in France.

One thing is for sure, Mourinho will need to act quickly to secure the services of a top class striker, because Demba Ba and Fernando Torres are not enough to fight for the Premier League title. Hopefully, Romelu Lukaku will get his chance, but who else should we sign?

Apr 062013

There have been stories in the English and Spanish media lately suggesting that Chelsea had won the battle to sign the Colombian international Radamel Falcao from Atletico Madrid, but the striker has denied that any agreement is in place. This does not mean that he won’t be coming to Stamford Bridge in the summer, but it seems that there is still work to be done by the Blues to secure the services of one of the most coveted players in world football.

“I have received no concrete offers to leave Atletico Madrid,” revealed Falcao. “I have three years of contract with Atletico.”

This news may alert some of the other big clubs around Europe that they may still have a chance to get the prolific hit man. Maybe it is a ploy by Atletico to get Chelsea to hurry up, or to squeeze a bit more out of the deal, but it is a little worrying for Chelsea fans.

The stories in the papers this week about Chelsea’s young keeper, Thibaut Courtois, who is on loan at Atletico possibly coming back to England to spend a year on loan at a Premier League club may have something to do with this. Atletico would love to sign Courtois permanently, or at least keep him on loam for longer. Courtois looks set to be one of the best keepers in the world, so we do not want to sell him, but may have to in order to get Falcao. I think it more likely that Chelsea are using the threat of stopping his loan deal to persuade Atletico to release Falcao and not screw us too much on the price.

The other factor is Fernando Torres. It has been suggested that the Spaniard could return to his former club in part exchange for Falcao, but Torres is in the paper today saying that he wants to stay at Stamford Bridge. Obviously Atletico will have a big hole to fill if they sell Falcao, so they will be concerned about a replacement. Add to that the uncertainty over who will be in charge of Chelsea for next season and there may be quite a few twists and turns before we know if Falcao will soon be wearing Blue.

Mar 272013

If Rafa Benitez was brought in to replace Roberto Di Matteo as manager of Chelsea because Roman Abramovich thought he would inspire Fernando Torres to find his old form, it failed. Benitez will not be at Stamford Bridge next season and neither, hopefully, will Torres. The club must accept that there is no chance of getting back much of the £50 million they paid to Liverpool for the Spaniard, but he may help the club in his own way.

Torres began his career at Atletico Madrid and burst on to the scene for club and country. He supported the club as a boy and may be heading back there. The manager, Diego Simeone, has spoken about Torres and suggested that he would be welcome back. That should be all the encouragement Chelsea need to offer Torres as part of a deal to bring the Colombian international striker Radamel Falcao to London and the Premier League.

It could make the difference in fighting off the likes of Real Madrid, PSG and Manchester City for the prolific 27-year old. Falcao, with 27 goals already this season, is on course to beat last year’s tally of 36, and the Spanish club have accepted that they will have to sell him this summer. Chelsea need to make sure that he does not go anywhere else but the Bridge.

Mar 202013

The story that hit the papers this week about Chelsea possibly listening to offers for the Czech international keeper Petr Cech always seemed hard to believe. Arsenal were reportedly interested and have been keeping an eye on the situation with Courtois at Atletice, but Cech has spoken about the story and it is clear that there is not a scrap of truth to it.

“It is an interesting piece of news but it is such speculation that I think it’s not even necessary to comment on it,” Cech said.

“I know of nothing, nobody has contacted me and, to be honest, I can’t even imagine it.

“I don’t even normally notice such rumours. But when it does get to me, I naturally look at it to know what to say about it later. There are players who read newspapers.

“Some players read match reports to know what was written about them and where. I don’t do this, I don’t read newspapers because of such things. I don’t take rumours like this seriously.”

30-year old Cech has plenty of years left at the top of the game, so Chelsea would be crazy to even consider letting him go. There may be an issue about what to do about Courtois, because he has developed quicker than the club expected and is drawing interest from clubs all over Europe. He is already too good to warm the bench at Stamford Bridge, and will probably gain valuable Champions League experience with Atletico next season. Then there may be a real fight for a place at Chelsea between the two, which can only be good for the club.

Mar 132013

Chelsea have a fantastic keeper in Petr Cech, and the Czech international does not miss many games. 30 years old is not much for a keeper either, so the decision to let Thibaut Courtois go out on loan has made perfect sense. The young Belgian keeper has gained valuable experience playing for Atletico Madrid, and he has let it be known that he is happy to stay where he is for the time being.

“I am happy. I like my life here, my team mates. It is not just my decision, Chelsea and Atletico also have to talk,” said Courtois.

“But everyone knows I like it here and, if I can, I want to stay.”

It is coming up to the time when Chelsea need to decide what to do with the 20-year old. Courtois is a hugely talented keeper, so there is no way that Chelsea want to let him go anywhere permanently. Maybe there is a worry that he will get too settled at Atletico and want to stay forever. He will be in his third season at the club next year.

Having already become first choice keeper, Courtois is playing regularly and getting better all the time. He has had experience in the Europa League, even winning it last season. Next season, barring disaster, the Spanish club will be in the Champions League, giving valuable experience that the keeper would not get if he returned to Stamford Bridge. There is a possibility that the keepers could share the duties at Chelsea. This would promote competition between them, but it would not give the defenders the same stability they currently have with Cech.

I think he should stay with Atletico for next season, to experience the Champions League and hone his skills further, but should then come back to England, either at Chelsea or on loan to a Premier League club.

Mar 092013

It is the news that Chelsea fans have been waiting for and, in my opinion, it is long overdue. Fernando Torres will be released by the club for as little as £15 million in the summer, apparently. Roman Abramovich has stubbornly stuck to his guns where the Spanish striker is concerned, but it seems as if the Russian owner has finally seen sense.

The report in the Express claims that the two clubs most likely to sign him are the Russians Anzhi Makhachkala and his former team Atletico Madrid. Torres would prefer a move back to Spain, while Chelsea would prefer it also if it helped us to get the Colombian striker Radamel Falcao in part exchange.

Earlier in the season it seemed as if Torres was recovering his form, but that was just a flash in the pan and he is now worse than ever. The £50 million transfer is sure to go down as one of the worst ever. Perhaps that is why Abramovich has been so reluctant to abandon it, but we have to cut our losses sooner rather than later. Hopefully Demba Ba can stay fit for the rest of the Premier League games, because we must finish in the top four, but with Torres the only option in the Europa League, we have little chance of winning that.

Feb 222013

The Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez came to the defense of Fernando Torres after the Spanish striker had another difficult night in the Blue of Chelsea. He missed a number of chances and his whole game seemed off against Sparta Prague, and the Blues were only rescued from extra time by a last minute Eden Hazard strike.

“I thought he was playing well. I disagree he was playing badly. But of course we want him to take the chances that come his way. If he continues working like today and playing like he did today, he will score goals. I am convinced about that.”

I understand that Rafa is trying not to inflict further damage on Torres’ confidence, but the truth is he nearly cost us the game last night. Demba Ba is cup tied so could not play, but you could have left Torres on for another 90 minutes and he wouldn’t have scored last night. How long is it going to take before Chelsea say enough is enough?

Ever since being promoted to the Spanish top division with Atletico Madrid in 2002, Torres managed at least 10 league goals a season. He got nine with Liverpool before they sold him to us in January 2011. Since coming to Stamford Bridge, though, it has not worked for him. One goal in his first season from 14 games, six from 32 last season and just seven so far this time is not good enough.

Nov 152012

Chelsea Target Radamel Falcao´s coach, Diego Simeone, has praised his prized asset this week, admitting that he spoke to Falcao about future interest in him, before last seasons Europa League final.

Simeone goes onto say that he wishes him all the best, “Everything that happens with Falcao I am fine with because I know the boy,”

The Athletico coach goes on to say: “We spoke about everything before the final against Athletic. We talked about the fact that he would have offers to go to one of the world’s biggest clubs.

“That is the norm with the great players.

“It will all depend on any agreements with other clubs. I know Falcao and believe he deserves only good things to happen to him.”

This is not only a great compliment to the Columbian ace´s ability, but to his personality as well.

These quotes seem to be accepting the loss of Falcao to a ´bigger´ team, and the fact that Athletico Madrid have decided not to play the prolific hitman in Europe this season, leads me to believe they are likely to sell the player come January.

Chelsea, as well as Manchester City and Real Madrid are all said to be following the player closely, but with Falcao talking of playing in another league, and his talk of the Premier League this week, draws me to believe we are favourites for his signature, with Man City an unlikely destination as they already have 3/4 world class strikers, and with Chelsea in need of a new striker to give Torres some proper competition.

May 172012

It has become clear now that Chelsea will have to watch and weep once again after their transfer target Radamel Falcao, as the Columbian declared that he has no wish to leave Spain’s capital.

Falcao had an amazing season with Porto last year, and now has managed to repeat the performance with Athletico Madrid, winning the Europea League trophy twice consecutively and becoming one of the most wanted strikers on the transfer market.

Despite the intense interest Chelsea has in him, Falcao doesn’t seem to be interested in the possibility of making a move away from Athletico Madrid.

“Chelsea or Manchester United? I prefer to stay with Atletico,” he told RCN Radio.

“Next year with Atletico will be a new challenge. My thoughts are that I have four years left on my contract. I try and ignore rumours. The leaders at the club will take any decisions.”

Chelsea had wanted to make the transfer last season as well, but Falcao chose to join the revolution which was going on at Atletico Madrid rather than going to Chelsea. Some have argues that he’s not ready to put up with the pressure and that he doesn’t want to have to compete for a first team spot. What do you think?