Shark ENG (1)
Jul 222014
 

Jose Mourinho’s claim that Chelsea has now finished their summer spending may just leave some fans concerned there is still not enough frontline depth at Stamford Bridge ahead of the new season. Diego Costa was always Mourinho’s top forward target and his arrival from Atletico Madrid was wrapped up weeks ago after a near six-month long pursuit. Some predicted the deal would include Fernando Torres heading back to his old club but the fact he has stayed at Chelsea means Torres is likely to be given at least one more season to rediscover his best form in Blue. Fans will hope he can find it because Mourinho does not, at the minute at least, have many more options.

If we are to believe Jose when he says he is finished in the transfer market this summer (and he has plenty of previous when it comes to being economical with the truth in these situations) then a cursory glance at the squad for 2014-15 means there are only three established out-and-out centre-forwards on the list – and one of those is Romelu Lukaku.

Granted, World Cup winner Andre Schurrle can do a job up front, while there is plenty of quality and no shortage of numbers in the supporting cast as Oscar, Eden Hazard, Willian, Mohamed Salah and new boy Cesc Fabregas will all get forward and are expected to chip in with goals.

But, following Samuel Eto’s exit, whose nine goals last season proved vital, and the expected departure of Lukaku again, there is only Torres and now Costa as recognised central strikers. That may not be too much of a problem if both players stay fit, because Mourinho is expected to start with just one lone frontman (Costa to begin with) in most games. However, if one or both were to get injured, it leaves the likes of the talented but relatively untested Patrick Bamford (if he doesn’t go out on loan again) or even forgotten man Victor Moses having to step up.

Mourinho’s treatment of Torres is intriguing as he has continued to back the former Liverpool man despite the fact his performances, goal record and sometimes his body language have suggested he would rather be elsewhere. The fact the manager has now said he doesn’t plan to make any more significant signings should offer Torres plenty of encouragement because, with another Champions League campaign and the domestic Cup competitions high on the agenda, there is no doubt he will get plenty of games, even if he may not be first-choice in the Premier League and unlikely to be among the frontrunners for top scorer in bet365’s football markets.

Of course, it could be that Jose has another trick up his sleeve and another striker will join before the end of August, while some have claimed Lukaku should finally be given a chance at the Bridge after his very impressive seasons at West Brom and Everton.

Whatever happens, fans will, of course, trust the manager to get it right, they’ll just hope there is enough with Costa – and Torres as back-up – to deliver the goods when and where it matters.

Jul 032013
 

Sky Sports are reporting that Chelsea are fighting with PSG for the signature of Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani. Cavani scored 38 goals in all competitions last season for Napoli, and his record of 104 goals in 138 games is staggeringly good. However, Napoli are so far refusing to budge on their release clause figure of €63 million Euro, the equivalent of almost £54 million pounds.

PSG have reportedly lodged a bid of £43 million, but it is unlikely to be enough. Napoli don’t need to sell, and they will hold out for as close to that release clause as possible. It would be most surprising to see Cavani go in to the new season at Napoli, and while he would be a fantastic addition to any team, the question is whether he is worth such a staggering amount of money?

Cavani’s record is beyond reproach. He is a remarkable player, but does he justify the remarkable price-tag? Unfortunately, it depends which way you look at it. When Andy Carroll and Fernandinho are £35 million pound players, Cavani’s price seems reasonable. However, compare it to the £2 million Swansea paid for Michu or the £10 million United paid for Hernandez and it seems grossly inflated. That is the problem with these astronomical fees being considered – the amount any club is willing to pay is directly influenced by how much they require the player. So do we need Cavani?

Honestly, any team needs Cavani. He is one of the best in the world, and he would score bucket-loads at Stamford Bridge. Do I think we should pay it? Not necessarily. Signing Cavani means limited time for Lukaku, Torres and Ba. While it might not surprise me to see Ba move somewhere else this summer, Lukaku’s development is not best served by Cavani’s arrival. Similarly, it acknowledges that we have given up on Torres becoming the player we know he should be.

Replacing one £50 million pound striker with another is very exciting as a fan, but being completely honest, I’d rather we didn’t sign him right now. £54 million on the Uruguayan is the kind of transfer we’ve got used to making, but the point of Mourinho’s return is to build a dynasty – a legacy. That is far better accomplished by developing the players we have. Cavani could well guarantee instant success, but is it the right move for the club? I’m not so sure. He would improve us, but at what cost?

Tell us, would you sign Cavani for £54 million pounds?

Jun 212013
 

There is a reason why players like John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba are rightly considered Chelsea legends, and it’s not solely because of their performances on the pitch. During their time at the club, these players have always expressed their love for the club and their absolute desire to succeed and prosper at Chelsea. That kind of dedication means everything to the fans, and it often shows on the pitch. Players who are desperate to succeed become players that do succeed. That drive and determination turns players into winners, and it very much looks like in Romelu Lukaku, we have just that kind of player.

Lukaku posted a picture of himself relaxing in front of the television ahead of his return to training, but it is the caption that he attached to the photo that has caught my attention. He said: “My last night of being lazy like this…From 2morrow on my pre-season upcoming season will start. I will train every single part of my body to be twice as good as last year. Stronger, faster, bring more quality into my game just to be as deadly as the great masters of the game. It will be hard but when you work hard you play hard. Season 13-14 is the season when I stop playing like a boy and will play as a MAN!! #ambition”

This is the kind of thing every fan loves to hear – a player who doesn’t just want to succeed, but wants to succeed at Chelsea. Lukaku scored 17 goals for West Brom last season, and many young players may see that as a successful season, but for Lukaku it’s not enough – he needs to be playing at Stamford Bridge. It’s refreshing to see a player who hasn’t forgotten that he is a fan first and foremost, and it’s an attitude and willingness to improve that we could do with more of.

As we’ve mentioned her recently, this season does provide Lukaku with a huge opportunity. Mourinho chooses players on merit alone, and Lukaku could make a very strong case for himself being a one of our better striking options. One thing is for sure – he will be afforded opportunities this season. It is up to him to make the most of them, but if his attitude is anything to go by, that isn’t going to be a problem. Lukaku has everything needed to be a future club captain, and we can’t wait to see him given his opportunity.

Tell us, do you think Lukaku should be given the chance to prove he can lead the line for Chelsea?

Jun 162013
 

Amid reports suggesting that Barcelona may be interested in signing Fernando Torres, the Spaniard has come out to deny such a move would tempt him. Despite scoring 22 goals last season, Torres has failed to live up to his own world class standards set during his time at Liverpool. Many considered Torres to be one of, if not the best striker in the world during that time, but things haven’t gone as smoothly for Nando since his £50 million move to Chelsea. Demba Ba was brought in as competition this January, but he failed to cement a place and Torres since rediscovered some form.

Speaking of his future at Chelsea and a potential move to Barcelona, Torres stated: “I want to continue, I want to complete the contract I signed and continue winning trophies and I would like to be the best in the world in my position again. It’s always nice to hear about interest from clubs like Barcelona, but my plan is to stay at Chelsea. There’s no better place than to be than at Chelsea with Mourinho, he has won a lot more than many of us. It’s a new challenge and we’re looking forward to it.”

It’s refreshing to hear that Torres hasn’t lost his desire and his willingness to fight for his place. A fully firing Torres is a terrifying prospect, and if there is any chance that he can rediscover the kind of form he’s capable of, we should look to keep him at The Bridge. Torres, Lukaku and one new signing up front is an extremely well rounded set of options, especially with Mata, Oscar, Hazard and Schurrle playing behind.

There are some fans who would much rather we cut our losses on Torres, but I am no one of them. Demba Ba is a very good forward, but I don’t see him as the kind of striker that will lead a team to trophies. Torres has previously proven that he has that ability, and who better than Mourinho to bring it out of him. At 29, Torres should still have his best years ahead of him, and it would be a terrible shame to see him performing at the highest level elsewhere.
I truly believe we should give Torres one more season do you?

Jun 072013
 

It’s no secret that new Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho will be given money to spend by Roman Abramovich, as the club looks to wrestle the Premier League back from the two Manchester clubs. Bayer Leverkusen have already admitted that they are in talks with Chelsea over the German attacker Andre Schurrle, and the Brazilian Hulk could be next.

News of that particular transfer should be forthcoming in the next 24 hours, but one potential transfer that not many people have been talking about is the possible signing of Brazilian striker and wonderfully named Hulk. The striker, 27 this summer, has revealed that Mourinho is definitely interested in bringing him to Stamford Bridge.

Hulk signed for Russian moneybags Zenit St. Petersburg in September 2012, in a deal rumoured to be worth more than 40 million euros. Hulk had previously scored 78 goals in 169 appearances for Porto, and a big move to a Champions League club looked likely before Zenit made their move. Rumours of Mourinho’s interest are not coming from the usual sources, but from the player himself.

When asked about any interest from Chelsea, he responded, “If I said there wasn’t anything in it, I would be lying. But that is not for now. At the moment, I am 100 percent focused on Brazil and I hope to be a Confederations Cup winner with my country. Other matters will have to wait until afterwards.”

While the news will delight fans (yours truly included), it is perhaps not what Torres, Ba or Lukaku wanted to hear in Mourinho’s first week at the club. Mourinho likes to play with one main striker, and a move that would bring Hulk to Stamford Bridge could have the Brazilian as first choice, although he could also be used in a wide role.

While Lukaku may be happy to go out on loan for another season as he looks to stay fit and in contention for the Belgian national team, it would mean Torres and Ba accepting supporting roles in the team, and that is something that we already know doesn’t sit well with either player. It would not be surprising to see either player move on this summer and Lukaku stepping up in the pecking order. That, however, is nothing more than speculation, and I expect it will be some time before we have any clear idea of how our squad will look at the start of the season. What we do know is that Jose is looking to strengthen, and with a full summer ahead, the future is bright.

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 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?

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.

Aug 152012
 

Romelu Lukaku arrived at Chelsea last summer with a big reputation as a prolific goalscorer with Anderlecht at just 18 years of age, but since his arrival for a massive £18 million he has languished in the reserves.

With Drogba, Torres, Anelka and Stuuridge at the club last season, Lukaku was hardly going to get many chances and really he should have been left with Anderlecht for another season or perhaps should have been sent out on loan to another Premier League club, like Sturridge had been during the previous season.

Lukaku was upset most of the year, and he has revealed exactly how frustrated he was in a statement yesterday after his arrival at West Brom to start a season long loan. He said: ‘I decided in March I wanted to go out on loan, and told my agent to find me a club. I am relieved to have found a solution.

‘On the first day of pre-season I told the manager I wanted to leave.

‘Roberto Di Matteo told me I ought to think about Chelsea as there weren’t going to be many other strikers this season, but this is the time for me to think about myself.

‘I got sick of watching the others from the bench. I just played 12 games and when I was playing well, they would take me off.

‘I lost my hunger for the game over the past year. I won’t beat about the bush – my season at Chelsea went very badly.

‘As regards getting minutes on the pitch, I wasted my time.

‘Last season I was in the reserves alongside a young lad who’d barely turned 15 and I asked myself what I was doing there.’

Well as Chelsea fans we can only hope that he becomes a resounding success at West Brom this season and can be integrated into the Chelsea team next season, but if he doesn’t find his scoring boots very quickly it may mean that Chelsea have wased a large amount of money on a precocious big-headed youngster.

What do you think?

Aug 042012
 

Roberto Di Matteo is confident that Chelsea will see much more from their Spanish international striker Fernando Torres this season. The Italian boss is still looking to add a t least one quality striker to the Chelsea squad, in order to push Torres and to provide cover during a long and arduous season.

Di Matteo had hoped that 19-year old Belgian international Romelu Lukaku was going to step up into the first team reckoning but, despite impressing in pre-season, it has been decided that the best interests of the club and the player would be served by a loan spell at another Premier league club. Lukaku needs to play regularly to gain sharpness and experience, and Chelsea know that they cannot promise him that.

Daniel Sturridge who is currently with team GB at the Olympics is, therefore, the only other striker in Chelsea’s squad and Di Matteo knows that he needs more. The Blues have been linked with Hulk and Edinson Cavani but neither deal seems to be on the cards at the minute.

With just two weeks left before the new season starts, it is becoming imperative that a deal is sorted out. New names being considered, according to Metro, are Loic Remy from Marseille and Stefan Keissling from Bayer Leverkusen. I would add to that list the 22-year old Venezuelan international Salomon Rondon. The powerful young striker is one of the players set to be sold by Malaga to ease their financial problems.