While the rumour mill was pointing to a possible Robinho transfer and Lampard departure Chelsea TV was busy letting it slip a certain Portuguese midfielder had arrived at Stamford Bridge. And despite their attempts to cover it up, it wasn’t long before it became apparent we’d signed Deco. Not necessarily a surprise, with him already being widely regarded as a player Scolari favours, although the timing of it – a day before the Brazilian has even officially taken the reins – probably got the press a bit excited.
He becomes Scolari’s first, and Chelsea’s second signing of the summer, with the club already bringing in his Portuguese team mate, Jose Bosingwa earlier this summer. And the Portuguese connection doesn’t end there, with Scolari having coached the pair of them at international level – no wonder he wants to hold on to Carvalho and maybe even the extension to Paulo Ferreira’s contract last season makes a little more sense now than it appeared to then? Could it be that the Brazilian really did know about this job 12 months ago as recently reported in the press and wanted to keep the unspectacular but consistent player as back-up?
Anyway, back to Deco, and one man who won’t be happy with the move is former boss and persistent admirer Jose Mourinho. Deco was part of Mourinho’s Uefa Cup, Champions League and domestic title winning Porto side and very much a player on Mourinho’s wish list at Inter. And with the ex-Chelsea boss having previously thrown more than the odd hint he could persuade any player he wanted to join him, losing out to Chelsea might not sit well. Still, with Lampard doing very little to play down rumours of his move to Inter, it looks like Mourinho will have something to console himself with.
Deco himself seems more than happy with his choice, stating “It is good for me to be here and first of all I am very happy to be here. I am sure I have come at the right time to do great things and be able to help Chelsea go back to the way it was and come back to being the first one, not only in England but also to win the Champions League that has been their dream for so long. The Premier League is a great league and it is getting better and you can see that with the Champions League final, where you had two English teams.” And on the subject of joining the likes of a midfield with players like Ballack, Essien, Makelele, Obi Mikel (although probably not Lampard), the Brazilian-born player says “It is great that we have so many great players here at Chelsea and it is great that there is competition which is healthy for everybody and this just makes the team better. To have great players in any position of the club just enhances the club. I know it is a new challenge but I am looking forward to it.”
Personally I hope he does better than the 14 starts during Barcelona’s La Liga campaign during 2007-2008, which saw him considered surplus to requirements at the Spanish club. Although to be fair to him, it was a season plagued by injury and he definitely looked a lot healthier during Portugal’s run in the Euros. And unlike his new team mate and fellow midfielder Ballack, he’s no stranger to winning, having won domestic league and Champions League titles with both Porto and Barcelona.
Deco has signed a 2 year deal for around £8million, so not an extortionate price for a change and at the ripe old age of 30, the 2 years given is a lot more sensible than previous deals. But it’s hardly inspirational in terms of Chelsea’s future and feels more like a ‘quick fix’ in Roman’s continued quest for instant success.
So will he cut it at Chelsea?