With pre-season now under way, footballers have returned from their summer sojourns, managers are again in gainful employment, and journos are pumping out their usual ill informed rubbish.
Well, part from those who used to work for the News of the World at least.
So we find ourselves raking over the news wires looking to see what changes may be afoot in the coming weeks as Villas Boas starts to imprint his management style upon the players we have, and directing the board in attaining those he wants.
With Thibaut Courtois already signed and promptly loaned to Atletico Madrid, and a deal looking all but done for Oriol Romeu, many supporters seem distinctly underwhelmed.
Now I’ve never been one to hanker for Chelsea to sign every ‘next big thing’ that comes along, especially if that involves a conceited Brazilian teen with a mohawk hairstyle, and to be frank the whole transfer rumours and roundabouts that seem to generate more column inches each season than the actual football played really annoys me.
So why is it then that every time I dip into forums to see what’s being discussed, is there an abundance of nigh on psychotic supporters screaming for Roman to open his wallet to the tune of £100million, every time the transfer window opens?
Before you keyboard warriors jump down my throat, I agree we may need a few new signings, as does any reasonably minded supporter. Yet the calls to replace half the squad are just plain silly, and it seems many a fickle fan are taken in by the oft repeated words that our squad is past it and wholesale changes are needed.
We need an out and out wide man, that much is clear. The injury to Essien whilst a set-back is not a major disaster, and could prove to be a blessing in disguise for a certain Josh McEachran, but a creative mid-fielder should also be on the list, according to most anyway. So we’re up to two players, maybe three at a push.
But where else, seriously do we need to strengthen? Bearing in mind that any non UK based player will inevitably have first season syndrome, and after three matches be written off by the same fickle fans that called for his signing in the first place?
Cech arguable had one of his best seasons last year, in defence we’re spoilt for choice in almost all positions and up front, well if we can’t cut through them with Torres then we’ll batter them with Didier, and Sturridge isn’t a bad backup, nor is Kalou either.
So the midfield needs some work, but we knew that already. Yet we still have an impressive list to call upon; Lampard, Ramires, Benayoun, Mikel, Malouda, Zhirkov, and with Essien still to return from injury, although quite what level he’ll be able to reach is yet unknown.
So who then? Well the bids for Modric have been reported far and wide, which is unusual for Chelsea as most transfer dealings in recent years have left even the most well connected journos off the pace. Which is what makes me think Modric is not the player we’re after to fill the ‘creative’ role we apparently don’t have, especially at the prices being quoted.
Twitchy Redknapp recently stated that; “I think he is worth an awful lot more money than that” when asked by a pundit if £35 million would be enough to buy the Croation, adding that; “Everyone wants Luka. Just ask Alex Ferguson what he thinks of him, ask Roberto Mancini at Manchester City – they all want him. He could play for Barcelona.” Yet apparently we’re the only ones who’ve bid, so it seems not everyone wants him, Harry, and I seriously don’t think we do, either.
Harry and the Spurs board are living in cloud cuckoo land if they think he’s worth that much, when it’d probably buy you a Sneijder instead, and what would be even funnier than nicking Spurs best player would be to leave them with him on their books, especially unhappy, and tarnished in Spurs fans eyes after the comments he made about Chelsea being a bigger club.
The bottom line is that we need to be patient, Villas Boas has only had command of the squad for a few weeks, and if signings are needed they will be made, as they have in the past and they no doubt will again. The new gaffer said as much when interviewed on Chelsea’s tour of Asia, stating; “Everyone knows how frenetic the market gets in the last weeks of August, it always happens like that.”
He added; “I understand the fans want and expect new signings and radical changes, we are trying to put a halt to that because it is valuable that we are assessing things. We are not making decisions lightly, we are pondering every situation in order to go to the market with the things that we really need and not to go into the market chaotically and make mistakes.”
Speaking of mistakes, and to close this piece on a sore point, why is it that our distant fans on these pre-season tours seemingly get far more preferential treatment than those of us based back here in Blighty?
I don’t begrudge any supporter the chance to meet the players they support, yet it seems that those overseas get signing and photo sessions, stuff dished out to them and are generally are fawned upon to a far higher degree than you and I who fork out each week. Look at the stark differences to how our supporters were treated in the Portsmouth match, to those who turned up against Malaysia.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important that there is a link between the players and fans, and that contact IS available, but if it’s being done overseas to such an extent, then not repeating it over here is just another slap in the face from a football board who increasingly don’t give a stuff about those who put the most in the coffers each season, and it needs to change.