It has been widely reported that the current Chelsea squad is in need of a shake-up, several of the clubs key players have aged somewhat. It is a squad that is increasingly looking imbalanced with argubly no natural width which has led RDM to play Ramires out wide right. With this inbalance in mind there is a lot of work for Chelsea to do in the transfer window, despite signing Hazard and Marin.
Trimming the fat is something that has been happening at Chelsea over the last year or so, Alex and Anelka being the most recent first teamers to be culled. With the FFP looming Chelsea need to sell a number of players in order to free up finances in the wage bill to bring in new players. Bosingwa and Ferriera could be vulnerble at the back as both have failed to cement a claim to the first team as Ivanovic is clearly the first choice right back at the club.
In midfield Essien would almost certainly be sold if a good offer comes in for him, despite being a fine player for the club overall his recent injuries have seriously hampered him and he doesn’t look anywhere near his best. A move to a league with a slower tempo could re-invigorate him. In terms of forward players Kalou has been selected quite regularly by RDM but this is also because Chelsea lack a player who can dribble and he fits that bill, with the signings of Hazard and Marin Kalou’s role may be redundant, and recent reports suggest he may be released.
Malouda also is almost certainly on the way out, again like Essien, a fine player for the club overall but over the last two seasons he has dipped and is also on relatively high wages. It was surprising to hear that the club may negotiate with Malouda, Ferriera and Essien when all three appear to be way past their best. Drogba is unfortunately set to leave the club as well after 8 fantastic seasons in the Premier League. All of these exits will significantly trim what is a very high wage bill and open up room in the squad for several new signings.
Areas to strengthen
If Bosingwa and Ferriera are sold bringing in a right back is crucial. Ivanovic is solid but a natural attacking option is required to add more balance to the squad. With Chelsea’s lack of wide options they tend to be quite narrow which is why an attacking right back could provide width in an otherwise congested side. One would expect Ivanovic to be the main right back next season but better cover is certainly required especially as Ivanovic doubles as Chelsea’s fourth choice centre back.
Chelsea’s forwards only contributed a paltry 11 goals this season, and with Drogba set to leave the club a new forward is surely a priority in the next transfer window. Lukaku is almost certain to go out on loan and it seems naive to expect Torres to hit 30 goals next season after only sporadic goal scoring success this year. Further to this it remains to be seen whether Sturridge represents realistic cover as a central attacking player.
If Chelsea continue to adopt a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 a support striker could be bought who can play both centrally and off the striker, or Chelsea could put more faith in Sturridge but he appears to have gone completely off the rails in the last few months only scoring one goal this year. The need for a striker has led to Chelsea being linked with Hulk, who could also play in the Sturridge role under AVB (wide right) as well as Falcao who is more an out an out forward. Falcao is probably unlikely due to the fact he’d directly challenge Torres, who we are lead to believe is now the main man at Chelsea.
Marin was likely signed as a squad player, and Chelsea have not signed a dynamic winger since the sales of Duff and Robben several seasons ago which has made their style of play relatively predictable. Chelsea’s top dribbler is Ramires with only 1.4 dribbles per game, this ranks him 14th in the league, with the top dribbler recording 2.6 per game. The signing of Edin Hazard thus makes sense, despite his inclination to come inside he has completed 2.3 dribbles per game which does mark an improvement in this regard. Generally speaking his signing signals real intent from Chelsea in the transfer market going into next season’s title race.
Midfield is cleary an area that needs freshening up. Having failed to add Modric last summer Chelsea have still yet to sign a creative central midfield passer. One could argue that in a 4-4-1-1 Mata does this role behind the striker and thus Chelsea only need to solid midfielders. If we look at the Premier League’s top 20 passes in terms of passes played per game there is only one Chelsea player and that is defender John Terry with 58.9 passes per game compared to the 77 passes per game played by the leagues top passer Arteta. Chelsea’s top passing midfielder is Lampard with significantly less passes than Arteta at 51.2 per game.
Chelsea arguably need to sign another box-to-box midfielder to cover for the potential sale of Essien. It should also be remembered that Oriol Romeu has had a good break through season and could look to challenge, whilst Lampard would probably play less football next season due to age, despite his fitness levels.
Thus Chelsea do need to move players on in order to create funds and re-balance the squad. Clearly a forward, a midfielder and a right back are absolutely crucial. The club look to have finally addressed the issue of a lack of creativity by signing Hazard who can run at people and create something out of nothing. Further to this more sales are required in order to re-balance an unbalanced squad.
Chelsea are going to need to seriously reshuffle the squad if they are to produce the sort of football Abramovich wants as well as tailor a side to suit Torres which will require more urgency in attack and players capable of playing quick passes in behind. Hazard will go some way to providing this buy a more creative deep lying midfielder may be required. On a general note one would expect Ramires to come back to his central midfield role with Hazard and Marin signed, as he was only makeshift in this role due to his pace.
The signing of Hazard could be the start of a serious rebuilding process that could go underway this summer as Abramovich looks to build a side capable of winning the Premier League next season.
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