at·ti·tude [at-i-tood, -tyood]
Noun 1. A settled way of thinking or feeling, typically reflected in a person’s behaviour. (Dictionary.com)
Like most people I was very disappointed to learn of Pastore signing for PSG. I had thought – I still think – he is the type of quality playmaker that would benefit the squad. Going to PSG (the Man City of French football, as Arsene Wenger apparently described them) to most observers is a step down from the majority of clubs in the Premiership.
I believe he would have made a positive contribution this coming season. Maybe not a first team regular, but I could see him getting 15-20 games, maybe even hitting the 30 mark if our usual injury list or his own form justified it.
I would have thought he would have been quite happy with that. At his young age, with correspondingly limited experience, 20 games in his first season at one of the biggest clubs in Europe would have been a major step in the right direction for his career.
But instead he chose to go Le Championnat in France. A little disappointing, but you have to respect his decision and the reasons for it.
He admitted “I am not joining a league as big as England or Spain….At Chelsea or in another club, I would have not played as often….I believe at Paris I will play and will be able to show my value.”
Obviously to Pastore, playing regularly is more important than improving as a player – and I intend no criticism of him when I say that. That’s obviously a decision only he can make. He obviously thinks that just playing regularly in itself will improve his abilities. I might even go so far as to suggest that perhaps he thinks that playing with fabulously talented players, against fabulously talented players in one of the strongest Leagues in the world won’t improve him.
I don’t know, maybe that comment is just sour grapes. I do know I was more than a little disappointed with his attitude.
You see, at around the same time, we got the signature of one of Europe’s brightest young talents, Oriol Romeu.
Much has been said about this transfer, in particular the buyback clause that allows Barca to take him back for a smallish fee if they feel like it. I don’t want to go into that, apart from saying I can’t believe Chelsea would have agreed to what amounts to an extended loan deal without including some sort of clause which actually allows Chelsea to have, at least, first refusal on the player if they want to take that option.
No, it’s not the deal that I was interested in. It’s what he said:
“Right now, what I want is to succeed at Chelsea and be well there.”
He went on to say “They have players of enormous quality. The coach is also of a very high level and what I want to do is continue improving as a player there”
Reading this so soon after reading Pastore’s comments not only made a refreshing change but it also reflected well on the man Romeu himself and cast Pastore’s attitude in a poorer light.
And now it appears that a deal has been agreed between Chelsea and Anderlecht for Romelu Lukaku. All being well, personal terms will be agreed, the medical passed and the ink dry on his contract some time soon.
To say I’m delighted is an understatement. I believe the boy would walk into any squad in England. He is immensely talented and strong, and in 73 appearances has hit the net 33 times, which is quite phenomenal for someone who is still only 18. He has said he loves Chelsea and one of his heroes is Didier Drogba, whose style of play is similar to his own.
He has no doubts about coming to Chelsea. His self-confidence is remarkable. While he does not underestimate the task ahead of him, it is reported that he has spoken to HLN (Het Laatse Nieuws, a Brussels based Dutch language newspaper), saying “if I’m surrounded by players stronger even than those of Anderlecht I have the ability to adapt quickly and raise my level”.
I only hope that his patience is of the same high standard as his self-belief. It looks like it:
He went on “when a club has three strikers for a position, they will always play games, because those clubs can play 70 matches a year. There may be players sold, so they need me. I will wait.”
So, two very confident young men there. Romeu and Lukaku could very well be the future of Chelsea. Both know they face difficult times; both know they will not be automatic first team players. But both have a strong belief in their own ability.
And both know that with the quality of coaching and the quality of players they will be surrounded by at Chelsea, they cannot fail to improve. Even if, sad though it would be, their long term future is not at the Bridge, they know that they will improve immensely when they are here. But I have a sneaking suspicion that if they do stay, both have the potential and the attitude to make their mark.
My problem is that I can’t help contrasting what they have said with Pastore’s comments. Don’t get me wrong, I would still like to see Pastore at Chelsea. But maybe in a few years time, if he is prepared to commit to testing himself in one of the two strongest leagues in Europe. And if he thinks he is good enough to come out on top. But for now, I think maybe I was wrong to want Pastore.
So with all due respect to all three players, I know which ones I would prefer to have at Chelsea.
Because I want players who have faith in themselves and the club. I want players who crave the hard work and who dare to test themselves against the best.
Above all, I want players who want to play at the highest level; who have the confidence and self belief to take up the challenge of playing at one of Europe’s top clubs. I want players who are not afraid to be left on the bench and who will work even harder when they are. I want players with the right attitude.
In short, I want winners at Chelsea.
And I think that, quite possibly, both Oriol Romeu and Romelu Lukaku are both that sort of player.
Welcome to Chelsea!