Summer Shopping: Who should Chelsea buy?

Filed Under (), () by hafizhans on May 29, 2010

Coming off the back of the club’s first ever double-winning season, it is hard to suggest that the Chelsea squad currently at Carlo Ancelotti’s disposal needs too much of a facelift.

He has quality in the majority of positions in his first XI and, with reports suggesting Real Madrid manager-elect Jose Mourinho will not move to sign Frank Lampard again this summer, it is looking as though the Italian won't have to worry about persuading his main stars to remain at Stamford Bridge during the close season.

However, there are a couple of reasons to suggest that Ancelotti will be more active in this transfer window than he was in January — when he famously pledged to run around the club’s training ground naked if he signed anyone (he didn’t). As critics have long been quick to point out, the team’s average age is not getting any younger, and the former AC Milan coach will undoubtedly look to buy in some long-term successors to the likes of Didier Drogba and Lampard sooner rather than later.

As Joe Cole, Deco, Juliano Belletti and even Michael Ballack (all important contributors at times throughout the Premier League campaign) could all leave the club this summer, Ancelotti will also need to find a replacement or two for next year's title defence.

The Italian has already promised to blend "four or five" academy graduates into his first team squad, which will cover gaps in some areas. But with Roman Abramovich seemingly willing to finance certain signings in this window despite his continuing aim of self-sufficiency, it seems probable that Ancelotti will look to spend most of the minimum £22 million (the club's total spend last summer) that will almost certainly be made available to him over the next few months.


The club are fully stocked in this position, with No.1 Petr Cech coming off the back of a solid season (jointly leading the Premier League in clean sheets along with Liverpool's Jose Reina), and with two fine understudies in Henrique Hilario and Ross Turnbull.

Hilario might even be sold if a surprising offer comes in during or after the World Cup (he is in Portugal’s squad) — especially as young Croatian Matej Delac will finally arrive at the club to start his quest to be Cech’s long-term successor.


This is another area where Ancelotti is going to be in no hurry to make additions — simply because he doesn’t need to. Ashley Cole and Yury Zhirkov proved themselves this season to be two fine left-back options in Ancelotti’s system, while Branislav Ivanovic and the (hopefully) fit-again Jose Bosingwa — who will seem like a new signing after missing almost the entire campaign last season — offer the same luxury on the opposite flank.

Central defence might be a weakness, with only three solid first-team options (John Terry, Alex and Ricardo Carvalho) to call upon, at least two of them having valid injury concerns. Ivanovic can obviously come across to play his preferred position in the centre if needs be, but Ancelotti might look to add a young stopper to his ranks (at the right price), although academy graduates Jeffrey Bruma and Sam Hutchinson undoubtedly have the ability to be versatile back-ups, something they showed on occasion last season.

If he does choose to add a centre-back, he may well head to Italy for his shopping. Azzurri World Cup squad member Leonardo Bonucci might be of interest to Ancelotti, especially as he combined with Andrea Ranocchia at unfashionable Bari on loan last season to keep the best defensive record in Serie A (until the later got injured). Napoli’s Fabiano Santacroce might be another target, but Ancelotti is unlikely to demand the club part with the £10m-plus that might be needed to land either of the those targets, especially as they are destined primarily to warm the bench in major games for a few seasons.


This is the first area that obviously need strengthening. Like Bosingwa, the return of Michael Essien next season will feel like having a new signing, but even with him to call upon Ancelotti will surely look to add another defensive midfielder to the squad — especially as two players he adapted to the role last season, Ballack and Belletti, could be leaving in the summer, while another, Mikel, proved not ideally suited to the position last season.

Roma’s Daniele De Rossi might be Ancelotti’s ideal signing, but again the price tag and reported interest of Real Madrid will probably scupper any chance of a deal. Yaya Toure of Barcelona might be a more achievable, and affordable, option (similarly Moussa Sissoko of Toulouse), while Bayern’s Bastian Schweinsteiger has hinted he might leave the club in the next few months, in which case Chelsea would be foolish not to sound out a deal.

Wigan Athletic’s Mohamed Diame could be an eminently attainable option if Ancelotti prefers to stay in the division, especially as Everton’s Jack Rodwell has committed his long-term future to the club — but if no target is landed Nemanja Matic is another player ready to step up to regular first-team action.

Ancelotti might also have designs on reintroducing the diamond again next season, a formation that could certainly work more effectively with the addition of a natural ‘trequartista’ to play at the tip. Both Luka Modric and Yossi Benayoun have been linked, but Palermo’s Javier Pastore might be a surprise target for the Blues — the emerging Argentine has been likened to Kaka who, as no-one will need reminding, flourished under Ancelotti at Milan — and showed in his first season in European football that he has the necessary skills to be a great success.

With Palermo missing out on Champions League football, the 20-year-old could be an attractive option for the club at around £15m (nearly double what Palermo paid for his services last summer), and if he has a decent World Cup surely Abramovich will have no problem signing off on the deal.

If Ancelotti hasn’t got any designs on returning to the diamond, another solid central midfielder will still be somewhere high on his wishlist. Napoli’s Marek Hamsik has all the qualities Ancelotti might look for — physical enough to cope with the Premier League, and with the raw talent to grow into Lampard’s long-term successor. The club looked hard at the young Slovakian before January; now might be the time to make a bid for the £18m-rated creative midfielder.

With both Anelka and Drogba getting on in age, Chelsea clearly need to add a quality striker to the mix, which has seen them linked with players of the quality of Alexandre Pato, Sergio Aguero, Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez in recent weeks or months. A deal for one of those stars is not impossible (with the first two being most probable) but the expense might be somewhat prohibitive, especially as Abramovich can point to the likes of Salomon Kalou, Daniel Sturridge and even Fabio Borini as players who can have greater roles next season.

Gonzalo Higuain
should be considered if Real Madrid finally lose any remaining rationality they have and look to offload him.

But let's face it — goals were hardly a problem for Chelsea last year, and with time to sit on the bench while Drogba and Anelka play out their final few years, 17-year-old star-in the making Romelu Lukaku could pique Ancelotti's interest. The Anderlecht man has been compared to Drogba for obvious physical reasons, and might be bought — with a loan-back arrangement — for around £10m.

Out wide, in an ideal world Ancelotti would love to add a right-winger of the quality of Angel di Maria. If a striker is not signed then the Benfica man might become a viable target, although it seems unlikely the club will be able to avoid the ‘bidding wars’ they have pledged to stay away from if they want to sign him. 

If Valencia finally realise their financial situation really is as bad as everyone else seems to think it is, then Pablo Hernandez, David Silva or even Juan Mata might become options; but with Miroslav Stoch returning from a very successful loan spell with Dutch champions FC Twente, Ancelotti might simply give the young Slovak a chance to play a back-up role to Anelka out wide — especially as it would also give young wunderkind Gael Kakuta a chance to see more action out wide.

IN (3): Marek Hamsik (Napoli), Romelu Lukaku (Anderlecht), Yaya Toure (Barcelona)

OUT (3): Di Santo, Cork, Rajkovic.

LOANS OUT (4): Lukaku, Borini, van Aanholt, Sala.

Preferred Line-Up (4-3-3)


Ivanovic   Alex   Terry   A. Cole

Hamsik        Lampard

Anelka                       Malouda

I gotta say, i quite agree with this article, all the player suggested had a good quality n still young. In defence, i think its enough already, no need to sign 10mil player just to warm the bench, give chance for young Bruma to shine. As for midfield, it is good to be having Essien back next season, and someone needs to backup him, someone but not Mikel coz he's totally rubbish. Yaya Toure should be fine, and Hamsik is a must!! He's gonna be Lampard's successor after all. For the forward part, like he said, Drogba and Anelka ain't young anymore n Kalou, Studridge, Borini stil amateur, so Pato should be perfect to replace Anelka n Aguero for Drogba.That's it, that should do for Treble next season..huhu..n please Ancelotti, dont buy Benayoun..coz he's Israeli, looks what happened to Liverpool rite now..haha.


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