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!