In the previous article, we analyzed few of the strengths and weaknesses of Ramires, and would it be wise on our part if we let the Brazilian go in the January transfer window.
Now, it’s all up to the boss, Jose Mourinho, to make a decision on the Brazilian, because apparently, Carlo Ancelotti who signed the midfielder during his charge at Chelsea in 2010, seems interested in bringing him to the Santiago Bernabeu this season as a replacement for Sami Khedira, and given their crazy money spending spree in the transfer market, there’s a very good chance we might offload him in January.
And if that happens, we would be one short on the depth charts in the midfield department, meaning, we must look at the possible options who could not only replace the Brazilian, but also upgrade the void left by Ramires if he does leave.
There are very few top Midfielders in the world right now who are good enough to crack into this Chelsea lineup or as Willian said:
“You have to kill a lion to book a place into this Chelsea team.”
Now you don’t have to literally kill a lion, but it’s more or less the same in terms of the hard work you have to put through to start for Mourinho’s side. Usually, players like Arturo Vidal, Paul Pogba, Javi Martinez, William Carvalho, Luka Modric etc. would be a perfect fit in the system we are trying to implement, as they all are World-Class talents. But given the crazy price tags they would come with and the money they would demand (none of the aforementioned players would cost less than 60 M pounds), it’s highly unlikely that Chelsea would go for them, more so in the era of FFP.
So we might not be able to spend money like Real Madrid but we aren’t Arsenal either. If there’s a need to upgrade a position, we would do that, complying with the FFP. Keeping that in mind, we came up with the two obvious and Most Probable replacements for Ramires , who would not only upgrade the depth of our midfield position but also be a very good value for their money.
Here they are:
There used to be a time when the defensive midfield position required a rough, hard-tackling type of player whose main job was to run over the opposition players with his brute strength in the center of the pitch.
But the times have changed; modern football has evolved, and the position now necessitates a cool head and a quick turn of foot. The role demands tactical awareness and good anticipation of misplaced passes. It is the link between defence and midfield and is a position that sometimes accommodates the man-marking role, so for these reasons it is vital that a team has a player that is well capable to take on this role, often imperative to a team’s success, just like Nemanja Matic is for Chelsea and the boss admires that about him. According to “The Special One”:
“Matic is the best player. At this moment he is a giant, not for his size but for the way he plays.”
Same goes with Frenchman Morgan Schneiderlin.
- The heartbeat of the Saints midfield, Schneiderlin is the reason Southampton is competing for the Champions League place, sitting just behind Chelsea with 11 games played. The French midfielder had a phenomenal 2013-14 season, making him a hot target in the transfer market as a move away from the south coast looked imminent, with Gooners and Spurs heavily linked with him during the summer.The midfielder, however, stayed at Southampton and has reached new heights with the Saints this season, with his superb imposing play from the deep.
- According to whoscored.com, the No. 4 has played in every minute of Southampton’s Premier League campaign so far, scoring three goals. Furthermore, in terms of defensive work, the six-cap French international has excelled with an average of 3.9 tackles and 1.9 interceptions per league game.
With these kinds of stats, he is everything Ramires isn’t! Moreover, Schneiderlin is a Premier League player, so he obviously understands the League and the Frenchman wouldn’t take much time to settle in, if given the opportunity.
AVAILABILITY- The tall Midfielder was on the verge of quitting the club this summer, but Southampton refused to sell him after the departures of Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw. According to the reports circulating in the Dailymail, Schneiderlin intimated in an interview in France on Tuesday, that he could leave St Mary’s at the end of the season, if they fail to qualify for the Champions League.
Obviously, the Frenchman wants to be in a bigger club, playing on Wednesday nights, and there’s little chance he wouldn’t want to leave St. Mary if Chelsea comes calling. Schneiderlin is expected to cost somewhere around 30 M pounds, which should be a good enough deal for the Blues, if we are serious about replacing/upgrading Ramires.
The self-confessed Mourinho’s disciple is no stranger to the present Chelsea manager. The two have worked together before, and it was Mourinho who first brought Khedira to Real Madrid when he signed him from Stuttgart in 2010. Together, the pair won a La Liga crown and the Copa del Rey, and have a close personal relationship.
Khedira missed a large part of the last season due to a knee injury, had a good World Cup this year, but has again missed the start of the Real Madrid season with an injury. The midfielder is in the last year of his contract and looks set for a move away from Bernabeu in the January transfer window, as Ancelotti wouldn’t want the risk of letting him leave for free, at the end of this season.
- Barring the injuries, Sami Khedira is an excellent player who has great strength and power, can pick out a pass and is terrific at moving play from the defense into attack. We all know how Mourinho loves to have a strong base at the back of his formation, and Khedira would add strength to the midfield as well as the ability to move the ball forward and start attacks for the likes of Fabregas, Eden Hazard and Oscar.
- Having the German also means that we could play Fabregas in the No.10 role against the parked buses or when Oscar is unavailable, as Khedira would slot in comfortably alongside Nemanja Matic and together, they both could make up a central midfield partnership that would upset even the best of the teams in Europe.
- Apart from that, Khedira also brings with him tons of experience and was part of the Real team that won the Champions League last season. With the departure of Frank Lampard, the Blues are now lacking an experienced leader in midfield who could play the box to box role just like Lampard did in his prime, a gap that Khedira could fill perfectly.
AVAILABILITY – The only downside of having Sami Khedira is the German’s history with injuries. But it might not be an issue with him at Chelsea, given that our medical team is one of the best in the world (we managed to keep Torres fit for the most part of his stay here!), and also because the midfielder won’t be starting week in week out. Because of the amount of talent we have got in our side, we can happily rotate at every position.
If reports are to be believed, Carlo Ancelotti might plan a Ramires – Khedira swap, which would be a perfect deal for both the parties involved, even if the Blues have to pay an extra 5 M pounds, chances are Mourinho would go through with the deal to bring the German to Stamford Bridge.
These two are the most obvious options Chelsea would be looking at if we decide to offload the Brazilian. We also have some fine talented midfielders on loan and in the youth team, who could possibly fill the depth chart including Marco Van Ginkel, Mario Pasalic, Ruben Loftus Cheek and Nathaniel Chalobah, but none of them look ready enough to start regularly for us. Still, we might take a look at a midfielder whose ceilings are high enough to crack into our starting lineup pretty soon:
Ake has been getting a good number of chances in the cup games this season and boy has he been impressive! The young midfielder has done nothing wrong with the chances he had but Ake is still a bit far from ready to start every game for the Blues, and apparently Mourinho recognizes that too.
According to the Dutch U-21 International:
“I had a conversation with Mourinho recently, he said he was satisfied. I have to continue like this and then there will be more chances. It’s clearly been indicated that I won’t be sent on loan and I am happy about how it’s going. I’ve already played a few games and I feel I’m getting closer. If I go out on loan, I’ll be further away [from making the first team].”
Yes, Nathan Ake is an amazing talent, and with his versatility (he can play as a Defensive Midfielder, a Left-back, a centre-back, a box to box midfielder), the Dutchman comes closest to what Ramires provides on the pitch. But it would be fair to say that Ake still needs a couple of years to reach the level we expect from a midfielder regularly starting for us.
So, here it is, some of the possible replacements for Ramires, if the Samba man leaves the club in January. Do tell us your views in the comment section below.
Edited By: Girish Bhangre