Although not a big fan of Chelsea
captain John Terry, I agree wholeheartedly that for the team to improve the
club needs to invest heavily this summer on new players.
Chelsea were accused of being an ageing
team past their best by Alex Ferguson two years ago and his assessment seemed
right as Manchester United claimed their third successive Premiership title.
But with the arrival of Carlo
Ancelotti who was restricted in his purchases, the Italian maestro eked out the
remaining potential out of his veterans to win the Prem last weekend.
But it was only by one point so not
an overwhelming campaign even though Chelsea beat United twice, scored the most
goals, had the league’s top scorer and recorded the fewest defeats.
All Chelsea’s key players had an
excellent season but wear and tear and fatigue are now a factor amongst the
senior ones. We have probably seen the best of Drogba (32), Lampard (31),
Ballack (33), Deco (32) and Carvalho (32). Chelsea’s nickname used to be, eh,
Even Terry, the two Coles and
Malouda are all in their late twenties and if they age suddenly the younger
ones are not good enough to fill the void.
But there is hope. Oliver Kay, in
the Times wrote: “Chelsea won the FA Youth Cup last week with an impressive 3-2
aggregate win over Aston Villa, their first such success since back-to-back
victories in the early 1960s, when talents such as Peter Bonetti, Ron Harris,
Terry Venables and Bobby Tambling were emerging.
“There is an excited buzz coming
out of Chelsea about the class of 2010 – Jeffrey Bruma, an assured Dutch
central defender, Josh McEachran, a skilful Oxford-born midfield player, and
Jacob Mellis, a midfield player from Nottingham, not to mention Gael Kakuta, who
missed the final because of injury.
“With Roman Abramovich eager to
trim the wage bill, the expectation is that some of the youngsters will start
to break into the first-team squad next season.
“The challenge, though, is to turn
a theoretical ‘golden generation’ into a reality.
“As Frank Arnesen, the club’s
sporting director, said: ‘It’s not easy for the coach to bring players into the
first team. A club like Chelsea is all about winning. You can’t have young
players in the team and not be winning.’
“It is true. The two players touted
as the best in the world, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, are 22 and 25
respectively – yet to play regular first-team football as a teenager for a top
club, you have to be exceptional.”
The Blues hope to make it a historic
double by securing the FA Cup as well on Saturday against relegated Portsmouth.
On paper it looks a doddle for Terry and co, but if they’re still suffering
from a hangover from the Premiership celebrations and overconfidence has set
in, then an upset is possible.
Nevertheless, they should retain
the Cup – won so stylishly last year with a Frankie Lampard stunner against the
Gunners – and cap another marvellous season before they make a serious assault
on the Champions League.