It’s official – Oscar is staying at Stamford Bridge, for one more season at least. He’s confirmed it in comments he made to the French newspaper L’Equipe. When asked about his futue, he admitted that he had “had contacts” with Paris St Germain but no more, and that they had not gone any further.
PSG have, of course, been chasing after both him and Eden Hazard for some time now, and have reluctantly thrown in the towel on their efforts to prise the Belgian loose from the Blues. Now it seems they are set to be doubly disappointed.
And yet, Chelsea fans should be somewhat disturbed by this news. Firstly, they should be asking themselves why Oscar feels the need to be talking to anyone at PSG anyway. He is an established member of a squad in the race for domestic and European glory, he is paid a handsome salary – why would he need to discuss a possible move away?
Secondly, how is it that PSG are allowed to make contact with Oscar when, presumably, they do not have permission from Chelsea to talk to him? I am aware that this is how much business is conducted in the footballing world, but it is still against the rules and is normally carried out behind closed doors. A public admission such as this should bring sanctions on PSG’s heads – and would on Chelsea’s if the positions were reversed.
Thirdly, Oscar’s words do not provide much comfort beyond 2014/15. He is quoted as saying “Next season, I will stay at Chelsea”. It would have been preferable if he’d said “I intend to see out my contract with Chelsea” or “I’m at Stamford Bridge for the foreseeable future”. Still, let’s be tahankful for small mercies and hope that these comments do kill this “transfer story” stone dead for at least one window.
Now that we know Oscar will be with the Blues next season, we can begin to think more about where he will fit in in the reshaped first team. It seems clear that Jose Mourinho will try to play new signing Cesc Fabregas alongside both Hazard and Oscar, in which case it becomes even more likely that Fabregas will play in a slightly more withdrawn role, behind a three-man attacking midfield of, say, Hazard, Oscar and Willian, with Nemanja Matic tucking in behind him in the “Makelele role”.
Of course, there is always the possibility that Chelsea may be willing to sell Oscar regardless of the midfielder’s preferences. £40 million is the price that has been suggested and while that might seem a little on the low side, it has the feel of an opening offer. If Chelsea were to recoup, say £50 million, that would be a handsome mark-up on the £25 million they paid for him and would mean Mourinho would have more money to improve his squad.
Depending on how Oscar and Chelsea do next season, that could well be an issue to discuss next summer, rather than this one.