Long term transfer target Edinson Cavani is reportedly top of the list this summer as Roman Abramovich looks set to open his chequebook once again this summer. Cavani, the 26 year old goal-scoring machine, has been at Napoli for three seasons where he has netted an incredible 104 goals in just 138 appearances. The Uruguayan has long been admired by many of Europe’s top clubs, but we look to be the first to make a big move this summer in the hope of beating other big spenders like Man City to his signature. However, there may be one big unknown in this situation – Rafa Benitez.
Andre Villas-Boas returns to Stamford Bridge tomorrow night for the first time since he was sacked as the manager last March. The 35-year old has spoken before about it and is obviously unhappy with the way he was treated, although he must have known that Abramovich has been going through managers the way most people go through toilet rolls.
His Tottenham side are currently lying outside the Champions League places in fifth place and they desperately need a win to push them above Arsenal. So you would think that AVB would not try to do anything to wind the Chelsea players up and make his task even harder. Well you would be wrong, because the Portuguese coach has suggested that it was the players’ fault he was sacked.
Chelsea will definitely have a new manager next season. Rafa Benitez even admitted as much in his much publicisedrant last week. The fact that his job title was interim manager was a bit of a clue as well. The question is, who will it be. Earlier in the season it was widely thought that Roman Abramovich had arranged with the former boss of Barcelona to come to Stamford Bridge after his year away from football. Pep Guardiola surprised everyone, however, by taking the job at Bayern Munich.
Today is an absolutely crucial day for Chelsea, and could decide whether the rest of the season is a dogfight with today’s opponents Manchester City to see who comes second in the Premier league, or a battle with Arsenal and Tottenham for the Champions league positions.
At the moment, the Blues are at a tipping point. A win today at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester will put us just a single point behind Roberto Mancini and last year’s champions. That would put us in a clear race with City, and also pull us clear of the chasing pack.
The most successful period for Chelsea was also the most successful period for the manager at the time Jose Mourinho. The `special one` has also proclaimed those three-and-a-half years as his happiest time in football. The beautiful friendship could soon be rekindled, according to another former manager of the Blues Ruud Gullit.
The Dutchman thinks that Mourinho is set to take over from Benitez at the end of the season, and also that he was going to come back to Stamford Bridge last summer. The only thing that delayed his return was that Roberto Di Matteo guided us to Champions league glory.
The Chelsea captain John Terry is the only current player to have been at Stamford Bridge longer than the 34-year old midfielder Frank Lampard, and he is keen to continue playing with his team mate longer than the end of the season. Terry has joined in the debate about whether the club should offer Lampard a new contract despite his age, and the 32-year old defender is in no doubt whatsoever.
“Frank has so much more to give and he has been an inspiration to everyone at the club.
“He has got years ahead of him and we all hope they will be spent here at Chelsea.
Rafa Benitez has claimed that Chelsea are doing much better now, and believes Fernando Torres’ return to form is proof.
Benitez had claimed that the squad he inherited was unfit, tired and lacked fight, but insists he is overseeing great improvement in the players.
‘Two or three things that we are doing for some players are really good,” Benitez said, claiming the sharpness in the majority of his squad was improving.
‘Fernando is one of the examples.’
He added: ‘He’s scoring goals and the team is winning and playing well, so he’s really happy, not just because he’s scoring goals but also because the team’s doing well.
Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed that Rafael Benitez is ‘very lucky’ to be hired just before Chelsea’s trip to Japan to compete in the World Club Cup.
Rafael Benitez was hired as Inter Milan boss, the season following on from Jose Mourinho’s treble winning exploits, and won the World Club Cup with Inter. He now has the opportunity to win a second with another squad he had no say in assembling.
Ferguson said: “On his CV he could have two world championships and nothing to do with the construction of the teams.
Chelsea and the Premier League seem to have been at loggerheads all year since the Anthon Ferdinand incident, and the Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo is now extremely annoyed that the Blues have not been allowed to cancel their League match against Sunderland ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Japan for the World Club Championship.
Di Matteo raged: ‘We are very happy to go to Japan and we have tried to postpone the Sunderland game to give us the best chance but the Premier League didn’t agree to it,’ .
The Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is well aware that another loss at Stamford Bridge today, a ground where they haven’t won for ten years, could be very important in the race for the Premier League title.
Man United could end the day seven points behind the leaders if they suffer another setback and the bookies think they face an uphill task and have set the United Odds up at 2/1 or higher to win the game today.
No-one in the Premier League has a better record against United than Roberto Di Matteo’s men, and Ferguson has explained why he thinks Chelsea have performed so well over the decade, despite seemingly changing their manager every year!