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Jun 082013
 

It’s the time of year that Homer Simpson loves more than any other – the cut. Chelsea have announced the release of 8 players – and there aren’t too many surprises. While some of the names on the list are relatively unknown, there are several players that once showed promise and potential. Of the youth players, Amin Affane, Aziz Deen-Conteh and Archange Nkumu are the unfortunate leavers, and they leave with the club’s best wishes for the future. Joining them are Ross Turnbull, Hilario, Florent Malouda, Paulo Ferreira and Yossi Benayoun.

Turnbull has never really inspired confidence between the posts, and few fans will be sorry to see him leave. At 28, Ross is far older than most people assume, and he should be hitting his peak. Hopefully he can find first team football elsewhere and move his career forward. Joining him on the bus out of town is 37 year old Hilario – another goalkeeper departure that few fans will be concerned about. Hilario spent 7 years at the club and yet only managed 20 first team appearances. I’d love to say he’ll enjoy his retirement, but by all accounts he’s been enjoying it for a few years now.

Yossi Benayoun was a promising signing in 2010, but he never really established himself, and spent the majority of his playing time out on loan at Arsenal and West Ham. Benayoun was rarely anything but a bit part player, and it’s good for the club to get his wages off the books. However, Paulo Ferreira and Florent Malouda were far from bit part players. Malouda was a £13 million pound signing from Lyon who made almost 150 appearances for the club before falling out of favour with both fans and successive managers. Similarly, Paulo Ferreira was one of the first big signings of the Abramovich era. He joined from Porto in 2004 for €20 million euro, and quickly established himself as first choice right back with some tremendous performances. Although he has struggled in the last two years, Ferreira was a dedicated and exceptional player for us, and he was rightly applauded for his cameo against Everton on the last day of the season. Ferreira now retires from professional football, and we can do nothing but thank him for his service to the club.

And so here we are – out with the old and in with the new. The spots that have opened up in the squad will now be filled by youth players and new signings – and that is far more exciting for any fan…despite what Homer says!

Feb 122013
 

The ex-France international Florent Malouda has been an excellent squad player at Stamford Bridge for five years now, but this season has been totally excluded from the Chelsea team (and forced to train with the U21s) amid rumours of refusing to allow the club to buy out his contract and make him a free agent this summer.

The Frenchman revealed that he is under a confidentiality agreement and not allowed to tell the world the truth about this saga, but he intends to make sure we all know when his contract finally finishes.

But he did tell France-Guyane: “The details I’ll explain when I’m free, but the strategy they use is to make me look like a player seeking substantial compensation,”

“It’s petty but more than anything else it makes me smile because it shows how these people regard me.

“If you are excluded for one year, it is very, very long. You must be armed mentally.

“All this is done to break me mentally, but in reality it motivates me enormously.”

The Frenchman is now 32, but at least he had the pleasure of playing his last game for the club in the Champions League Final and walking away with a winners medal, but it seems strange that players like Drogba and Anelka were allowed to depart for fortunes in China while Malouda is stranded in the wilderness…..

Sep 102012
 

One of Chelsea’s summer targets, Hulk, looked like he was never going to the move he desired away from Porto, after the club rejected 50 million euros offered by the Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg. Zenit must have been determined, because they have now signed the Brazilian for a reported 60 million. With Edinson Cavani pledging his future to Napoli, Chelsea’s options in January look like being Falcao or Falcao. We’ll take Falcao, then.

Portuguese midfielder Raul Meireles has left Chelsea after just a year to join Turkish side Fenerbahce. He was one of AVB’s men and had fallen pretty much out of contention with Roberto Di Matteo in charge. With the departure of Michael Essien on loan to Real Madrid, some fans wonder why Meireles has gone as well, possibly leaving a lack of cover in defensive midfielders. Well, I can confirm the reason, he is an idiot.He must be if this quote is real.

“Fenerbahce is as big a club as Chelsea.” Okay Raul, whatever.

Another player on his way out of Stamford Bridge seems to be Florent Malouda. The 32-year old Frenchman was not included in the squad for the champion’s league and has not been included in the squads for the three Premier league games. Malouda is now training with the under-21’s at Chelsea. His former club Lyon are reportedly ready to offer him a lifeline.

One player on the up at the Blues is Ryan Bertrand, who was called upon for the champion’s league final. His impressive displays after being asked to move forward from his left back position have convinced Chelsea to give him a new five year contract

 

Jul 192012
 

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan claimed yesterday that Chelsea had put in another bid for 21-year old Victor Moses of £5 million and that Wigan had rejected it. The Wigan chairman values his player at about double that amount but the deal is complicated by Moses’ fervent desire to come to Stamford Bridge.

Roberto Di Matteo is obviously keen on the young winger and has said “He had a good season last season. He is young and an interesting prospect.” It doesn’t look like Chelsea are going to give up on Moses, who can also play as a support striker. He claimed six goals and six assists for Wigan last season and is continuing his football progression. Whelan has tried to persuade him that his education would be better served by staying at Wigan, but to no avail.

Chelsea have told their 32-year old Frenchman that he will be allowed to leave and reports were linking him with a transfer to Brazilian club Santos. His departure would have made room for the arrival of Moses, but he may now see out the last year of his contract with Chelsea. Apparently his wage demands have put a stop to his Santos move.

Malouda has told L’Equipe that he is looking forward to taking part in the Club World Cup this December. Di Matteo has admitted that Chelsea were lacking in the wide department last season, but the arrival of Eden Hazard and Marko Marin should have sorted that out. Malouda might find himself warming the bench if he does decide to stay.

Hazard and Marin enjoyed their Chelsea debuts yesterday, both scoring in a 4-2 victory over Seattle Sounders. The other two goals came from the young striker Romelu Lukaku. The 19-year old Belgian is eager to prove himself and force his way in to the starting line up. He is certainly going the right way about it.

Jul 162012
 

Roman Abramovich and Roberto Di Matteo are in full accord over the need for a new right back. I am not sure if they agree on who that should be, however. Chelsea have been linked with almost every right back going this summer, but we do not seem to be any closer to a signing.

Reports today claim that the 31-year old Brazilian Maicon is close to completing a move to Madrid. Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid are believed to have offered Inter Milan £6 million for the defender and, unless Chelsea move quickly, Inter are ready to accept.

If Abramovich and Di Matteo were determined that Maicon was the man to replace Jose Bosingwa, then he would already be at Stamford Bridge. Unless the player himself has been holding out for a reunion with Mourinho that is.

Mathieu Debuchy, Gregory van der Wiel, Lucasz Piszczek and Rafael have all been looked at but nothing has been done. Has Di Matteo got somebody else in mind? I hope so because the new season will be upon us soon and any player needs time to settle in to a new club.

Florent Malouda may still be a Chelsea player when the new season starts after his wage demands have put the brakes on his proposed move to Brazilian club Santos. The club definitely want him but have described his wages as “scary.” If Malouda really wants to play regularly, he will need to accept a significant drop in earnings. How likely is that?

Jul 062012
 

It looks like Roberto Di Matteo is determined to sign 21-year old Victor Moses from Wigan. Having had an offer of around £4 million turned down as “insulting,” Di Matteo will return with an offer of £7 million up front that could rise to £10 million with add-ons, according to The Mirror. The versatile player has been used mainly on the left wing by Wigan and had a great seasom in the Premier league with the club.

His arrival, along with that of Eden Hazard and Marko Marin, probably signals the end of the line for Florent Malouda. Di Matteo has stated that he expects all his squad to be focused on the coming season, but Malouda will know that his position is very precarious. The signing may also mean the end of Chelsea’s interest in Alvaro Pereira from Porto.

26-year old Pereira also plays on the left side of midfield but more often as an attacking left back. His agent, Alexander Savich, has told Portuguese radio “if there is an interesting offer it will be Porto who decides.” Despite hearing about interest from a few English clubs, the player seems happy to stick with Porto for now.

Chelsea’s preferred option at right back would prefer to rejoin Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, according to MARCA. The 30-year old Brazilian international has won 11 trophies during his time at Inter Milan, including the Champion’s league,Italian cup and league treble when Mourinho was manager.

Jun 262012
 

Despite having signed a lucrative two year deal with Shanghai Shenhua, Chelsea legend Didier Drogba has been linked with a shock move to Spanish giants Barcelona. Meanwhile Florent Malouda is considering a move to Vasco de Gama in Brazil.

32-year old Malouda has a year to run on his current deal, but Roberto Di Matteo would not stand in the way of a transfer deal. Chelsea are in the middle of a rebuilding operation, having signed Marko Marin and Eden Hazard. They are also, supposedly, in advanced negotiations with Porto for Brazilian star Hulk. The Blues have to make room for any additions due to the 25-man squad rules in England.

Malouda is well aware that he will only be a bit part player for Chelsea in the coming season and is keen on a move to Brazil, Talksport reports. He would be reunited with Juninho, who was his friend and team mate at Lyon, if he did move to Vasco de Gama.

Apparently Drogba has a clause in his contract with his new club that allows him to rip it up if Barcelona are interested. Drogba would love another tilt at major honours and is hoping that Barcelona will offer him the chance to do this.

The story has drawn ridicule from some sections of the press and Barcelona have denied any offer, but Drogba has put himself on offer to them and is waiting to see what happens.

The 34-year old Ivoriam would not demand the same wages that he is getting from China, but money isn’t everything.

Jun 252012
 

England and France were knocked out of Euro 2012 at the weekend, meaning that John Terry, Ashley Cole and Florent Malouda will have no more effect on the tournament. Malouda’s last game was not a memorable one, as the whole French team failed to have any significant possession against Spain. Terry and Cole were a lot more noticeable as England held out manfully against Italy.

Terry and Cole have been two of England’s best and consistent performers during the Euros, and last night was no exception. The two defenders gave their all, and kept an inventive and creative Italian side at bay to take the game into penalties.

Cole now knows how his club captain must have felt in the Champion’s league final against Manchester United in Moscow. United’s Ashley Young had already hit the bar before Cole stepped up to take England’s fourth penalty. He needed to score to put pressure on the last Italian penalty taker, but Buffon went the right way and the kick was a bit tame.

Cole will feel bad today but he played brilliantly throughout Euro 2012. England surprised many by their performances but they were unable to replicate Chelsea’s Champion’s league heroics.

The only Chelsea players left in the competition are Spain’s Juan Mata who has not kicked a ball yet, Fernando Torres and Raul Meireles of Portugal. The two Iberian sides will contest the semi-final on Wednesday, and Meireles will need to be at his best if he is to see his team beat the defending champions.

Who knows whether Spain will start with Torres or with six midfielders again. It cannot be helping his confidence when midfielders are being used as strikers ahead of him.

Jun 242012
 

Mathieu Debuchy of France and Lille started Euro 2012 with a performance against England that was described as outstanding. He marauded down the right flank, even giving Ashley Cole some serious problems.

Last night against Spain was an entirely different story. Maybe because he was played in a different position, or maybe he just had a bad night, but he looked like a different player. French coach Laurent Blanc tried to negate the threat of Spain’s midfield by pushing Debuchy further forward and playing another right back, Reveillere, behind him.

Blanc chose not to play Man City’s Samir Nasri from the start but it did not work and France struggled to make any impression. Debuchy did get himself into one of France’s few scoring opportunities but put his header over the bar.

Debuchy was also at fault for Spain’s opening goal. He let Jordi Alba get past him way too easily to cross the ball for Xabi Alonso of Real Madrid to head in the opener.He was put out of his misery after an hour when France made a double substitution. Florent Malouda was brought off as well.

Malouda struggled, as did all of the French side, to get any meaningful possession. The arrival of Nasri and Menez made no difference to the pattern of play and Spain added a late second.

One bad game when played out of position against the best team in the world should not be punished too severely, but Roberto Di Matteo may be having second thoughts about bringing Debuchy to Stamford Bridge.

Jul 242011
 

Florent Malouda is the latest player to talk about new manager Andre Villas-Boas and what he has brought to Chelsea, and has already noticed a difference in his team-mates as they prepare for their latest friendly against a Thai Premier League XI later today.

Malouda played for 45 minutes on Thursday and he is hoping for a longer run out today. Speaking ahead of the game he had the following to say. “The coach said some people will play longer this time, and I’d say that our fitness is improving all the time.”

Chelsea have won all three of their games in pre-season so far, and Malouda feels that it is important to keep that run going. “I can feel the difference from last year, when we lost almost all of our friendlies, and this year we are improving, so that’s a good sign! What we’re trying to get is that winning mentality and we have to work in the friendlies to be ready for the season.”

Last season Chelsea had a terrible time in pre-season, but started the Premier League season like a house on fire winning games and scoring for fun. They will be hoping that the opposite does not happen this year, and Florent Malouda for one thinks that the new “winning mentality” is a good thing for Chelsea.

It is all shaping up nicely then ahead of the new season, which is now less than three weeks away, when Chelsea get under way with a visit to the Britannia Stadium to play Stoke City.

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