Pogba: A Bridge too far for Chelsea!
Chelsea drew to Swansea in the opening game of the current season at home. The Blues toiled since Thibaut Courtois red card but couldn’t get anything more from the game than a single point. That has been exactly the story of the transfer market so far for the Blues.
They want at least a couple of players in defence mainly and might even get them, but it’s all an artificial gloom right now.
Chelsea began their title-winning campaign in style, thrashing everyone that came their way. Naturally, talks of an invincible campaign and a quadruple found their way into the headlines. Even the players were talking about it unless the hoodoo that has been St. James’ Park came up on the fixture list.
This season started in stark contrast to the last one, perhaps unexpectedly but certainly not shockingly. The form in pre-season had a tale to tell, but things got off to quite a well start as Chelsea took the lead twice against the Welsh club. The Swans played admirably right from the start, but the quality of Chelsea and a certain extent of luck for Willian got them into halftime with a lead, and the Blues looked good for it.
The second half is a story told many a time by several outlets and need not be repeated here. The moral is that Chelsea drew a game in which they were leading at half time, again an anomaly to last season. Though it is not in every game that Thibaut Courtois will be shown a red card, it holds importance because the game was the first of the season. Such games are often the foundations of the season that lay ahead.
There is a very real probability of Chelsea turning things around and establishing themselves firmly around the title once again but for now all the critics have ammo to fire Mourinho’s way.
Some have also interpreted his comments during the pre-season as well as post-Swansea to mean that a situation alike 2007 is in the folds.
Those are perhaps figments of a bored imagination, but there is another idea that may hold some truth to it. It regards the tempered down transfer activity of the Blues this summer.
The Blues are perhaps best (or worse) known for spending heavily. It is a stick most often used to beat the Chelsea faithful. However, they fail to see their own avalanches of spending.
Nevertheless, this has been an uncharacteristically quiet summer for Chelsea. Last season stands as the milestone for an ideal summer, quick and precise. This time around it has been anything but.
Michael Emenalo secured Fabregas and Costa, lynchpins of the team last season before pre-season. This season Chelsea need reinforcements at the back more than anything. Felipe Luis could have covered for Azpilicueta if he had to deputise for the tank. The Brazilian is gone for good, and Chelsea are hard at work to secure Baba Rahman.
His Bundesliga exploits have been noticed by the special one and bids have been made, he is perhaps on his way to London too. But that is not the point, as unlike last summer, the story (or saga) has gone on for too long.
Similarly, Mourinho has had to be involved with Roberto Martinez as they swap positions from the Lukaku era to get stoned. The mere fact that Chelsea have let this go on for so long is evidence that there has been a slight flaccidity on the negotiation table. Or it could just be both the selling clubs being greedy, both possibilities have their upsides and downsides.
One reading into these ever lengthening negotiations has been the possibility of the planned renovation of Stamford Bridge taking up the financial bandwidth priority for the club.
A financial prudence in the market has ever been present since Nemanja Matic’s re-signing. However, this summer deviates from the trend in that there have been no major sales by the Blues. It was the sales in most instances that funded the purchases right until Cuadrado and helped the Blues balance sheet stay in the Black.
The plan is to begin redevelopment work at the start of next offseason and to vacate the Bridge for comprehensive rebuild in 2017. The timeframe set for a return to SW6 has been set at 2020. That’s a good three years of expenses incurred in renting a stadium, Wembley being a possibility.
It would be a significant amount of money being spent to redevelop the Bridge, but the cost of relocating in itself would be heavy. As we have seen in the case of Arsenal, a curb on spending should be imminent even as the Blues look at a bigger and brighter future.
Abramovich may be funding Lion’s share of that amount but would still like the club to hold its horses for the time being in terms of spending.
The real question is: has the club begun a journey of financial caretaking or is it just two clubs being greedy. Mourinho has been insisting on keeping the same players more or less since the latter half of last season but we have seen that standing still is the equivalent of stagnating.
With John Terry certainly at the dusk of his career in the next couple of seasons, a replacement is needed. Baba Rahman also ensures a much needed back up to Dave. The former could also cover up for Ivanovic and at such young age can easily adapt if Mourinho so wishes.
It all remains to be seen and all we can do is speculate and assume. But the signing of the two defenders would be a good start. Also, the current bench can only help in closing the games and not changing them.
It arouses curiousity as to whether Chelsea will go back into Mourinho’s defensive shell once either of Fabregas or Matic miss games. Mourinho has been a mastermind, playing his strokes at will.
The test begins for him to establish a dynasty, and that depends on European success. Can he do it with this team? You never know what goes on in that mind of his. Let us know your thoughts in the comments
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