Tuesday, 12 June 2012

One more signing required?

After the inevitable signing of Hulk goes through, which in my opinion will be before the end of the month. And is only being stalled by the agent in an attempt to increase wage demands. This should end our buying for the summer for a number of important reasons. As continuing signing players could have a negative impact on the club and squad.

Firstly Fifa Fair Play rules, despite being given £49.5m for winning the Champions League its not all money we can spend on players this year. The price of a player is the overall cost divided by the amount of years and then accounted yearly for FFP rules. (E.g. Hazard costs £32m and signed a 5 year deal so for each of the 5 years we have a £6.4m cost rather than a blackhole of £32m to fill). This means we will still be paying off the Torres deal plus as a club we are also making a loss due to high wages and need to use some of the money from the Champions League win to clear the deficit. Therefore continued spending this summer would have a damaging effect, at best we are unable to sign players for a couple of years while the buys recently go through the duration of their contract or at worst we break the FFP rules and are expelled from Europe which would have a devastating impact financially on the club.

The problem with signing players every time the squad is not deep in talent is that it is expensive as well as youth are unable to be brought into the side. There are people saying the club should sign another striker, the problem with this is that if you sign back-up for Torres, someone better than Sturridge, in my opinion costing at least £20m (E.g. Lewandowski), and if Lukaku has a good year on loan. Then you could start the 2012/2013 season with Torres/Lewandowski/Sturridge/Lukaku, which is over £100m worth of talent fighting for one position on the pitch. Resulting in most likely Sturridge and Lukaku leaving due to lack of first team football.

This links to getting the right balance for squad depth, it is important that there are enough players to allow rotation and cover injuries but at the same time making sure that the squad is not too deep so that everyone gets the playing time they desire to remain happy. Torres is most likely to thrive if there is not too much competition so he can focus on being the main threat and getting plenty of game time under his belt. Its about getting the right balance and treating each player the right way to get the best out of him.

Goalkeeping Transition?

I'm fairly happy with where we are right now, we have Cech who despite the odd mistake has pulled of some amazing saves last season and nothing short of a goalkeeping master class in Munich. He has recently signed a new contract and looks to be around for the next few years.

Turnbull has just entered the last year of his contract, I would look to extend this by three more years, taking him to June 2016, we have young promising goalkeepers who would benefit from going out on loan. So why they develop he is a okay back-up choice, people said after the Liverpool game he should go. He was awful in that game but so were Terry and Ivanovic and I wouldn't think about getting rid of either of them after one bad game. He had some great cup games this year and I'm confident if he needs to step in from time to time.

Hilario has one year left, this for me will be his final year at the club, he like Turnbull is there just to cover the transition period between youngster and first team squad for the prospects. He is unlikely to be called upon and has been a good servant, especially when you look back to his miraculous debut against Barcelona where he kept a clean sheet.

Courtois is one of the most promising goalkeepers in world football, with both Barca and Madrid interested in his talent. But there is no way we are selling, he is set to spend next season back at Atletico Madrid where he had a phenomenal season last year. After that it is likely he will spend one year on loan to a Premiership side before a year as Cech's understudy before taking the reigns in the 2015/2016 season allowing us to sell Cech in three years, aged 33 still demanding a fee in the region of £10m.

Blackman has been a promising keeper in the Chelsea youth set up, since Hilario signed a new one year contract in March I expect him to go out on loan for a season to gain first team experience, most likely in the second or third tier of English Football before returning to the club for one year to work as Cech's understudy before spending a year on loan in the 2014/2015 season to gain further experience and finally returning to the club in 2015/2016 to be understudy for Courtois.


There has been several discussions about what formation should be played next season. For me there is no debate 4-2-3-1 is the only sensible formation. With the quality wingers we have signed in Hazard, Marin to complement Mata and the imminent signing of Hulk (despite his agent playing games to try increase the offer) we need a formation to utilise this talent.

It will take time for our back line to get used to having a slightly higher line. Not as high as it was under AVB but work as a unit to press team and get back the ball to break on the counter. The majority of the back line will have no trouble at all adjusting. Ivanovic will take a little while to get used to it but has the pace to keep up. Terry is likely to be the one who will find it the hardest but his quality and the fact he will most likely be between Cole and Luiz/Cahill lightening the need for pace.

The midfield 2 will be split into two distinct roles, a Makélélé style holding midfielder who will look to sit back more and defend while the other midfielder and full backs attack. Also breaking down opposition attacks and quickly launching counter attacks. The other midfielder will play more of a box-to-box style player who will counter when possible but will also get back and help out when needed.

The three attacking midfielders will interchange much like what we saw when Robben and Duff were at their prime. This will cause defenders problems because at times they could unbalance and have two on a wing or switch between each other to go from the physical threat of Hulk to the skill and pace of Hazard.

The centre forward will get much more support in this formation compared to the days when we just used to lump the ball to Drogba in a 4-3-3 and he could hold the ball up all day. This supply will overwhelm defences and create a much more attacking flare which Roman is after. The problem with having so much attacking outlets on the field is that the defence is not as strong as possible, this means we need the wingers to pressure the players close to them. The majority of the players playing the attacking roles we have are we known for their lazy defence, something RDM is going to have to work hard on to stop.

RDM gets the job...good news

I'm over the moon that RDM looks all but certain to be given the job on a full-time basis. He has done an amazing job of uniting the side since taking over from AVB. The cup run did cover over the poor league form but hopefully next season with the full pre-season and world-class additions such as Hazard, a top four spot looks extremely likely.

At Chelsea due to having a European approach to the way the football club is run it is not important that we have someone astute in the market to manage transfers while being the manager. This gives us the advantage of people at the club being able to establish a 5, 10 or even 15 year plan when looking at transfers. I think Emenalo has done a brilliant job since being in the role of Technical Director. Securing the signings of several promising talents, the main ones being Hazard, Mata, Lukaku and Courtois but many more have been purchased as young as 12.

I'm also happy with the fact we are offering managers a one year rolling contract with clauses that guarantee an extra year. Thought to be Champions League the following season, this means that the manager has job security as he knows he gets an extra year if he performs the minimum target and also the Club knows if the manager fails there is no cost to sack him. Financially a solid system as well as setting a minimum target the manager is motivated to achieve.

The players believe in him, the fans believe in him, everything is set up for him to achieve next season and continue the rebuilding at Stamford Bridge.