As the Champions League game gets ever closer, so speculation in the press increases. And why wouldn’t it? An all English final; for Fergie, an opportunity to add to his already impressive hoard of trophies and do the double in the process; for Grant a chance to win a significant piece of silverware during his first season in charge; and the first ever Champions League final in our history. It’s certainly a game that could signal changes at Chelsea, not least of all in terms of personnel.
Much has been made of Carvalho’s recent interview suggesting there could be a lot of comings and goings at Stamford Bridge following Wednesday’s game, but he’s not telling us anything we didn’t already know. Certainly, we’ve looked like a side in dire need of a change this season, with last summers additions at Utd only serving to highlight Jose’s deficiencies in putting together a squad capable of really playing. Add to that the efficient, resilient, but ultimately defensive mindset they’ll have difficulty getting out of and the free flowing, attractive football Roman craves just isn’t going to happen with the current squad.
So, who’s ready to move on, who’s moving whether they like it or not and who can’t quite make their minds up? Well, let’s start with the obvious. Steve Sidwell showing just what an ambitious young man he is considering he’s barely got his boots dirty all season, is in the ‘I’d quite like to stay’ category, which is unfortunate for him seeing as he probably heads the list of departures. Clubs rumoured to be interested in securing his signature, if not his excessive salary, are Everton, Newcastle, Middlesbrough, West Ham and Man City. Tal Ben Haim, who very publicly put himself on the ‘can’t get out of here quick enough’ list is sure to go and I can only imagine he’ll be very happy to see himself linked with both Spurs and Feyenoord in the press. Another defender likely to be heading for the Stamford Bridge exit whether he wants to or not is the out of favour Juliano Belletti. Never a favourite of Grant’s anyway, the recent signature of Jose Bosingwa and a new contract for Ferreira would appear to have sealed his fate. And as for Pizarro, I don’t think any of us are going to break our hearts if Mr fifty-pence foot heads for Germany in the summer.
On to the box marked ‘debatable’ then, and this is where we’re likely to see the consistently underachieving Shaun Wright-Phillips. Although not for the want of trying, the only thing he seems destined to do on a consistent basis is frustrate everyone around him and after 3 years of persevering, it may well be time to give it up as a bad job. Whether he’ll form half of a deal with Anelka (another possible departure) heading to North London and Berbatov coming our way remains to be seen. A surprising departure after an unremarkable year at Stamford Bridge could be that of Florent Malouda who’s failed to live up to the early signs of potential following his arrival, although to be fair, he seems to have picked up a bit in his last few games, so his departure is more of a ‘wait and see’. Less of a surprise though would be Andriy Shevchenko, with Fenerbahce offering 7 of the £30million we paid for him. Obviously Turkey would entice Sheva much less than a return to Milan would but then again they don’t even want to stretch to £7million if reports are to be believed. Finally, before we put the lid on this particular box, we come to Cudicini, who is rumoured to be ready to come out of Cech’s shadow. Obviously we’d all be pretty sad to see such a capable back-up keeper go, especially to Spurs if recent rumours are to be believed, but he really is too good to be sitting on anyone’s bench. And talking of keepers, I can’t believe I missed out Hilario – this bloke’s just got to do us all a favour and find the front door quick.
And that brings us to the final category – and the by now, perennial want-away sagas. It’ll come as no surprise to any of us that Drogba already has one foot in the ‘will-he-won’t-he’ box, after all, we’ve heard nothing else all season. About as decisive as Man City’s defence against Boro, I’m only surprised he managed to sign a contract in the first place. But since I’m sick to death of hearing it, I’ll move straight on to a slightly newer member of this reassuringly small group – Frank Lampard – who I’d like to think has some ball-breaker of an agent twisting his mind. Because if that’s not the case, then his failure to agree a new contract with us puts him in exactly the same category as Drogba and from where I’m sitting, that’s not a very nice place to be.
And last but by no stretch of the imagination least, back to the man who slipped such a well kept secret (of a Chelsea clear-out) to the press this week and I’m not even going to entertain the accompanying rumours of his departure. As far as I’m concerned, he’s got a contract, he’s our best central defender and the idea of him being allowed to go anywhere right now would be pure media speculation. The rest of course, is fact! Or is it?
Filed under: Rants