Bob the Builder: How will Di Matteo restructure Chelsea?
Deals may have been done already, but nothing is officially confirmed until Michel Platini unlocks the sash fittings at UEFA towers and tells the world to buy and sell players.
June 29th, 2012
After six weeks of rumour, speculation and intrigue, would you believe the transfer window doesn’t actually open until Sunday? Deals may have been done already, but nothing is officially confirmed until Michel Platini unlocks the sash fittings at UEFA towers and tells the world to buy and sell players. So with two months’ worth of trading ahead, what will Chelsea’s squad look like on 1st September?
Didier Drogba, Saloman Kalou and Jose Bosingwa have already made their final bows before the adoring Stamford Bridge crowd (adoration in varying degrees depending on the player). Florent Malouda is expected to join that list shortly: being linked with a move to his wife’s home country of Brazil. And a series of loan deals are expected to be renewed: with Thibaut Courtois confirmed as staying at Atletico Madrid; Kevin de Bruyne likely to be heading somewhere else on-loan (possibly in the Premier League); and Gael Kakuta continuing his loan tour of Europe. There are question marks over where Romelu Lukaku and Josh McEachran will play their football next season. I would expect Lukaku to go out on loan only if Chelsea can secure a proven goalscorer; while with an ageing Frank Lampard in midfield, this could be McEachran’s chance to star for the Blues.
Chelsea have already bought width, in the form of Eden Hazard and Marko Marin, but they are clearly after a front man to replace Drogba. In a summer of much talk about ‘false nines’ there is some debate whether Porto’s Brazilian star Hulk, often more at home on the wing, is the man Blues need. Falcao has the goalscoring pedigree, but Atletico Madrid insist the Colombian not for sale: a thinly-veiled code meaning ‘offers over £50m only’. There is also debate about whether a South American touch is what Chelsea need up front. If not, then Fiorentina Montenegrin Stevan Jovetic could be the way forward. The other obvious gap in the squad is at right back: where Chelsea lack cover for the versatile Branislav Ivanovic. Stamford Bridge has seen some forgettable faces in that position in recent years (Khalid Boulahrouz springs to mind), hence fellow Dutchman Gregory van der Wiel’s brand of surging forward runs combined with reckless defending might not excite Roberto di Matteo. In recent days there has been speculation Borussia Dortmund’s winning Scrabble hand Lukasz Piszczek may be west London bound. Finally, Chelsea will undoubtedly be seeking a long-term replacement for Lampard. As stated above, it is a matter of debate whether that means McEachran, but if not then a player of the calibre of Bastian Schweinsteiger is needed (though the chances of it actually being Bastian Schweinsteiger seem slim). Chelsea are likely to spend much of the summer being linked with Luka Modric, and Tottenham will use this fact to make as much money as possible. At 11.59pm on 31 August, I expect the Croatian to be in a taxi from Barajas Airport to the Bernabeu. Written by Dan Levene.