Shark ENG (1)
May 312013
 

After beating Chelsea to the signing of striker Falcao, newly rich Monaco are reportedly looking to continue their massive spending ways by trying to lure Branislav Ivanovic away from Stamford Bridge. Monaco have already spent huge sums signing Falcao, Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez, and they believe they can convince Chelsea to sell Ivanovic for a fee approaching £25 million pounds. Ivanovic, playing as a centre half under Rafa Benitez has seen his stock rise this year, and both he and David Luiz are now seen as first choice ahead of John Terry. However, a certain someone might have something to say about any proposed transfer. Jose Mourinho is a known fan of Ivanovic, and it is very unlikely that he would be willing to sell a player he so admires. While £25 million pounds is very difficult to turn down, especially for a 29 year old defender, Chelsea don’t need the money. Quite aside from the financial side, where would we find a replacement?

There are few stand out candidates, and the ones that do stand out would carry a price tag equal to anything we might receive from Ivanovic’s sale. We have the opportunity to start the new season with a settled and nicely balanced back four, and it would seem crazy to sell Ivanovic (or Luiz, for that matter) when our defence is showing so much potential. With Azpilicueta continuing his development at right back, we have an extremely promising full back whose best years are ahead of him. At left back, Ashley Cole shows no signs of slowing down yet, and we are reportedly already looking at long term replacements. In central defence, Ivanovic and Luiz combine extremely well in a partnership that has both experience and energy.

Our most impressive central defensive partnership of the last decade was John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho pairing that combined the brawn and outright determination of getting anything on the ball from Terry with the incredible anticipation, tackling and attack-building skills of Carvalho. It was a fearsome partnership, and one that I believe we can replicate with David Luiz and Ivanovic. Now is not the time to be selling players, now is the time to move forward, and to do that we must hold on to Ivanovic.

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?

May 192013
 

There are two different stories doing the rounds about the future look of the Chelsea strike force and both cannot be true. It seems to boil down to whether Fernando Torres is still at the club next season. If he is, then it seems as if Radamel Falcao will not be coming to Stamford Bridge, because the Colombian striker does not want to share his duties with Torres.

This season, Chelsea have primarily used the single striker, supported by the creative attacking skills of Juan Mata, Oscar, Hazard and others, so it would be Falcao or Torres or Demba Ba. This might not be the case with the new manager, however, so whoever it is (Jose Mourinho) needs to talk to Falcao.

He probably already has, although the Colombian played a big part in wrecking his chance of leaving Real Madrid on a high this week when Atletico won the Spanish cup final. A Manchester City supporting friend of mine alerted me to this story, which suggests that Falcao could be heading there, although The Sun reports that Torres is going to be sold this summer, for £30 million less than we paid for him. I f that’s what it takes to get Falcao, though, who cares? Roman can afford it.

Torres has done a lot better this year, but still not enough and Chelsea are looking for the Premier League title next season. You could see the difference having a real top class striker made when Manchester United signed van Persie. Chelsea need to do something similar, hopefully with Falcao.

May 012013
 

Chelsea to Revamp Forward Line This Summer

Chelsea have had a strange relationship with their strikers in the last few seasons. Last season Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka were dropped in favour of struggling Fernando Torres who is the only striker of the three still left at the club. Halfway through the season Nicolas Anelka was released and moved to China where he did not stay for long. Through the rest of the season Daniel Sturridge took Anelka’s place and Fernando Torres remained the front man until the knockout stages of the Champions League when he was dropped in favour of the big Ivorian Drogba.

Drogba famously led Chelsea to their first Champions League trophy with the winning penalty in an incredible match against Bayern Munich on their home ground. Drogba was then released from the club leaving just Sturridge and Torres of the strikers and Torres was Number One again. As we know this season Sturridge was sold to Liverpool and Demba Ba was brought in and now Torres and Ba are rotated but it seems Torres has reached the end of his Chelsea career.

Torres will likely be sold to Atletico Madrid for a fraction of the fee Chelsea paid for him while Atletico’s Radamel Falcao looks to be heading the other way as long as Chelsea can put forward a huge sum similar to what they paid for Torres. If the deal for Falcao falls through, Chelsea will perhaps look at Napoli striker Edison Cavani who is also going to attract high bids from the top clubs in Europe.

If Chelsea do get one of these players they will still only have two strikers available so will look for a younger backup player. Wilfried Bony has scored 31 goals this season in the Dutch Eredivisie for his club Vitesse Arnhem. He is a player who resembles the now Chelsea legend Didier Drogba and would prefer a move to Chelsea if the opportunity came and would fit right in with the rest of the squad. Or perhaps Romelu Lukaku could come back to the fold?

Apr 252013
 

The ex-Chelsea star Michael Essien had suffered from multiple injury problems up to last season, which led the club to allow him to move to Real Madrid on loan last summer to let Jose Mourinho to manage his rehabilitation. It seems to have worked and the versatile Essien has been given regular game-time at the Spanish giants.

The 30 year-old is set to return to Stamford Bridge next summer, and has fully enjoyed his reunion with Mourinho in Madrid. He said: “It’s been good, I can’t complain. I’m happy and have enjoyed the football.

“I’ve played a lot at right-back and I’ve enjoyed playing.”

“It doesn’t matter what position, it is just nice to be on the pitch.”

Last year Essien may have been forgiven for thinking that his career at Chelsea had come to an end, but with Mourinho expected to return and take charge of the squad, it seems certain that Essien will be included in his plans although Chelsea are sure to strengthen even more once The Special One is back in charge.

Most European papers are suggesting that the arrival of Mourinho is certain, and that Abramovich has lined up Radamel Falcao as a “welcome back” present to the Portugese manager. Andre Schurrle is another 90% certain arrival, and with just those two added to the other new young players at Stamford Bridge would give Mourinho a formidable array of talent to wrest the Premiership title back from Manchester United.

Apr 252013
 

The long- maligned Chelsea striker Fernando Torres has come in for a lot of stick in his few years at the club but now he feels that he has finally regained his old form (although a lot of us may disagree with that!) and he is ready to help Chelsea to win further trophies in the coming seasons.

Chelsea have already acquired competition for Torres with the arrival of Demba Ba, and it now seems likely that the prolific Radamel Falcao is also going to join the Blues strike force next season. Torres is not worried about that and in fact is looking forward to the competition for places.

He said: “When you play for Chelsea you’re always hoping big players come. Since I came to Chelsea only top players have come so it would not be a surprise. You cannot stop that. Every player is welcome at Chelsea. Every top player.”

“I’m still young,” he continued. “We’ve won the Champions League and could win the Europa League this season, but we can win much more. The squad and the players we have are young and we can do great things. I would like to be involved in this team for the next few years. We can become one of the best teams, not just in England, but in Europe.

“When you see Manchester United’s players celebrating you can see how important the Premier League trophy is and I want to bring it to Chelsea. We have to believe in ourselves and believe we can win it next season.”

“Much of the ability we have here depends on the talents of individuals – Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Oscar and some other players. We have to learn to become a team, which is different. It’s difficult in this team because we really depend too much on individuality.

“Normally when you’re building a team it takes time, and it is coming together. We’re playing more as a team, especially in Europe and in some Premier League games as well. We need to stay together and keep improving. The key is to adapt to a new system, new players, a new style of football.

“In my case, it has maybe taken more time than it should but after a couple of seasons here I can see how different the team are compared to when I arrived. My mind is more open than before and I can see what I have to do to improve. This season has been better but not at the level I want to be. Hopefully next season is going to be much better.”

There have been many rumours linking Torres with a move away after the arrival of Falcao, but he doesn’t see that happening and has received no indication from Chelsea that will be surplus to requirements. He said: “I have always felt part of the club,” Torres said. “Things change. I really think the club always told me the truth. They have hopes of me. They trust in me. I know I want to stay here. I want to be at Chelsea at least the next two years. If they change their minds it’s a different question but the relationship between me and the club is always very straight.”

I think that Torres will stay, but with Falcao and Ba in the squad I can’t see him being more than a supersub for next season and as a reasonable cover in case either of the other two get injured. Every top team needs at least three top strikers to challenge for all the trophies which seems to be Abramovich’s dream season.

If Torres is happy to play that role, who are we to complain?

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 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 272013
 

It is fair to say that Chelsea have been missing Didier Drogba this season. Fernando Torres has been better for the Blues this year, scoring 15 goals in all competitions so far, and Demba Ba has added some physical presence up front since signing from Newcastle in January, but has only scored once in his six league games so far. There is a player on Chelsea’s books who has the strength and pace to replace Drogba, and he has scored 12 league goals this season. The problem is that 19-year old Romelu Lukaku has been scoring them for West Brom.

It is no surprise to hear that the West Brom manager Steve Clarke would love to keep the young striker at the Hawthorns for another season, especially after one of his other forwards, Peter Odemwingie, showed zero loyalty during the January transfer window farce with QPR. Clarke would love to take the Dutchman permanently but would need to win a jackpot at www.MansionCasino.com to afford to pay what the Dutchman is worth!

Clarke said yesterday: “If Chelsea want to leave him out for another season somewhere, I think we would have a strong chance of getting him back here, but it is a discussion for the summer.

“It’s a package that has been good for all three parties. For such a young player, the sky is the limit.

“He has all the attributes to be a really top player. He is very level-headed and he understands why he came here and what he has got to do in the future to be a big player at a really big club.”

A lot will depend on who is in charge of Chelsea for next season, almost certainly not Rafa Benitez, and what Abramovich decides to do about Torres and any new signings. We have been linked with Falcao and Cavani, but we are also short on strikers. Lukaku has come on in leaps and bounds at West Brom and is still very young, so maybe it would be better if he has another season there.