Archive for the ‘Rumours’ Category

pl-stage-jose-mourinho

Here at Chelsea Headache, we love to welcome guest writers to express their thoughts on Chelsea. Today, we have the great opportunity to host the opinions of a certain @ChelseaRumours:

Thursday, 20th September 2007.

This was the day the world woke up to the news, that José Mourinho and Chelsea had parted company. Having won back-to-back titles, the 2nd and 3rd championships in the club’s history, Mourinho had already cemented a special place in Chelsea supporters’ hearts. However, an indifferent start to the 2007/2008 season that culminated in successive home draws against Blackburn Rovers and Rosenborg became the end of Mourinho’s era at Chelsea. It was to become the start of a season of heartbreaks, as we lost the league cup final to Tottenham in extra time, and then the lowest point in recent Chelsea history – losing to United on penalties, after John Terry slipped and hit the post.

Since, we have enjoyed mixed fortunes and under several different managers. Avram Grant took over immediately after José, but was never seen as a long-term solution by anybody. He was fired immediately after Chelsea’s champions league final defeat.

When Scolari was appointed in July 2008, hopes were again high at Stamford Bridge – but some zonal-marking later and we were managerless once again. Guus Hiddink took over, a favour for his old pal Roman Abramovich, and it was public knowledge that he would only be in charge for the rest of season. He did fantastically well in his brief period as manager, and by the end of his reign, many fans were wishing he would stay. A win % of 73 says it all, just one defeat in his 22 games in charge – and as all Chelsea fans will remember, the win percentage would’ve been even higher had a Mr. Øvrebø not decided to forget to put on his contact lenses when we faced Barcelona at the bridge. (Barcelona then played United off the pitch in the final, and that left all Chelsea fans wondering what might’ve been…) Never the less, Hiddink won us the FA Cup and left with his head held high.

Then came Ancelotti – and boy did we turn on the style in 2009/2010! 103 league goals, one FA Cup and one Premier League title later, and we’d won the first double in the club’s history. However, Ancelotti’s reign came to an end after a trophyless 2nd season, where a winter slump essentially cost us the title – we very nearly won it in the 36th round when we faced United at Old Trafford, but they ran out 2-1 winners and more or less secured the title that day. Fans and pundits alike were outraged when the news broke that Carlo had been fired – and looking back at the 2 seasons that have followed, it probably was a big mistake.

André Villas-Boas was the hottest manager name in the game when we appointed him, but some dreadful man-management skills and drastic tactics soon meant that he was unemployed again. His assistant Roberto Di Matteo, already a name known to the Chelsea supporters of course, took over – and we all know what the lead to. FA Cup glory and a Champions League won through shere determination against opponents who had far better players than us saw Roberto being offered a 2-year contract, which he signed. However, people were already saying that he was just a short-term solution before Abramovich could get his preferred manager in: Pep Guardiola. It proved to be a very short term solution, as we crashed out of the Champions League in the group stages and suffered a few poor results in the Premier League… things seemed bleak…

And then Rafa took over. As much as Chelsea fans unite in glory, here they united in rage. Some went as far as to saying that it was the worst possible replacement for a club legend – and many agreed. Results such as 0-1 at home to QPR and throwing away a 2-goal lead at Reading didn’t help Rafa convince the supporters that he was the right man for the job either, however a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford proved to be the turning point in our season – a few good results later, and Champions League participation as well as the Europa League trophy had been secured. Rafa left, and fans were now wondering who would take charge at the Bridge.

We were all hoping.

We were all dreaming.

But when it finally happened, we couldn’t really believe it. José Mourinho, the man who left Stamford Bridge on that Thursday in September 2007 had returned.

“I had in my career two great passions, Inter and Chelsea, and Chelsea is more than important for me. It was very, very hard to play against Chelsea and I did it only twice which was not so bad so now I promise exactly the same things I promised in 2004, with this difference which is I’m one of you.” – José Mourinho’s first interview during his second reign as Chelsea manager.

In many ways, Mourinho put more effort into this interview than he needed – he had us at ”I’m very happy.” – he’d continue his winning form at Chelsea by winning 2 italian titles with Inter as well as the Champions League, before winning the Copa del Rey and La Liga with Real Madrid. We’ve never doubted his managerial skills, and when Chelsea finally announced his return, my Twitter timeline exploded with happy tweets… After such a season with a manager like Benitez, it’s difficult to remember the last time we’ve all been this happy. (19/05/12)

Furthermore, Mourinho has stated that he’s in it for the long haul this time around. He says he’s much more mature, ready for a different kind of long-term project, where his previous clubs have mostly been about achieving immediate success – which, granted, he has done.

This new project includes establishing a confidence in the young players we have in our squad, a confidence that will see them achieve great things – which talents like Oscar, Eden Hazard and Lukaku as well as our youth players (Chalobah, Baker, Piazon, Aké and Loftus-Cheek spring to mind) are destined for. We might not see immediate success, but at the same time we are only one or two additions away from having a squad that is ready to challenge at the highest level – and I’m sure Mourinho has some players in mind.

Some of the big dilemmas he’ll face though, is whether to keep the likes of Petr Cech and Frank Lampard in our first XI, or whether to replace them with the huge talents that are Thibaut Courtois and Kevin De Bruyne. While it is always hard enough to just say goodbye to legends like these, they might also be an important part of Mourinho’s plans in terms of the balance of experience and young talent – and it is no secret that these two as well as Terry and Ashley Cole are great friends with Mourinho, and could be vital for him to obtain a ”daddy” status (as Essien has labelled him) for some of our newer additions to the squad who aren’t familiar with José and his training methods.

Additionally there is the question of whether we need to sign another striker, with a big money move for Edinson Cavani being discussed. Romelu Lukaku has publically stated that he’d prefer to be loaned out if we do sign Cavani, as he fears he wouldn’t play frequently. Admittedly at his age, minutes on the pitch are a necessity, and Mourinho must decide if he trusts him to be our first choice striker (or whether Demba Ba or Fernando Torres are good enough for that!)

With André Schürrle all but one foot in Chelsea, maybe Mourinho will think of that as enough goal-scoring talent in the squad, with the likes of Juan Mata and Eden Hazard regularly hitting the back of the net – not to mention our defence who scored 27 goals this season, a quite spectacular amount of goals!

Mourinho will have many tasks to face as Chelsea manager, but he is up for the challenge – in fact he stated in his first interview that ”he wishes they’d start tomorrow.” while recognising the fact that the players obviously need a holiday. He’s determined, he’s got a plan and he’s at home here, so why shouldn’t it work out? It will most likely be a different story, but he has already said that himself as well – this is a new project, hopefully a long term one. Ultimately, this is what all Chelsea fans wanted to hear, many have screamed out for stability since Mourinho’s first reign as Chelsea manager, and is there anyone we’d rather have in charge of a long-term project Chelsea than The Special One? I doubt it.

He is one of us.

*This post was written a week or so ago so some topics such as Schürrle signing have now developed

Dead Ends

Posted: June 6, 2012 by GaryCRobertson in Chelsea, loan, Rants, Rumours, Youth

I can’t remember the last time I blogged.

It was before Chelsea won the Champions League, before Drogba announced he’d be leaving us, before Hazard proclaimed he’d be joining us but soon after Di Matteo took over as “caretaker”.

Anyway, what I’m about to write, some will undoubtedly hate, but try and bare with me.

Over 5 years ago, a boy made his debut for Chelsea. Fans had high hopes for him. Would he be the new big thing in England? The answer, at that time, was no; he suffered a career ending injury and was forced to retire at an early age.

He kept working, he kept training, he kept his head in the door at Chelsea and would you believe it…he played in the first team again this season after coming out of retirement on the back of some reserve team appearances. Now that boy is a man. And that man is Sam Hutchinson.

So picture this. There are two “first team” right backs at the club: Ivanovic and Bosingwa. One leaves, meaning there is a potential gap in the squad for another. For Hutchinson? For Kane?

Or for Van der Wiel?

Maybe just rumours, but I was slightly disheartened to hear we are linked with VdW. Not because I think he’s at all a bad player but because if he was signed, Hutchinson/Kane are back down the pecking order again.

There is simply no faith in the youth system.

It is of course highly difficult to blood in youth when the manager is under serious observation from those watching above. But, in Di Matteo, have we finally found someone with the guts to try, test and experiment with one of the best youth systems in the world? Why else would he give Ryan Bertrand his Champions League debut in the final?

Don’t even get me started on Kakuta and Borini.

I find it unfair on youngsters who are not even given a proper chance in the first team and are shipped away on the loan express first class to eternal doom.

Hutchinson came out of retirement! That’s how much he wants to succeed. Surely it won’t hurt too much to give him a game here and there?

Bertrand may have played a considerable amount more than other youths this season in the first team but will he get the same chances next season if a new manager is employed?

I’m creating more questions than answers here, but it’s important to step back and think.

Chalobah, Hutchinson, Kane, McEachran, Kakuta, Piazon, Feruz, Lukaku – will these players ever get decent opportunities in the first team?

Rant over…for now.

Not Going With The Flo

Posted: January 16, 2012 by GaryCRobertson in Attack, Chelsea, Rumours, Transfers

Someone’s getting fed up of not starting games under Villas-Boas and has used the media as his tool to try and change the situation. Yes, it’s Florent Malouda.

“I am the kind of player who needs to play week in, week out and the manager knows that.”

Malouda has started only 4 Premier League games this season – it’s little wonder he’s complaining. Juan Mata has been preferred in the left midfield/wing position as Villas-Boas implements his own style on Chelsea.

Malouda also says:

“I am expecting to start more games because that’s my standard and it’s what I’ve been doing for the last two seasons.”

Hmmm, if that’s what he wants then I think there is a high chance Florent will not be a Chelsea player by this time next year. If that were the case and he were to leave, there would be significant interest from clubs all around the globe.

For example, Palmeiras, who are managed by former Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari (shudder) could be interested along with several French clubs. I also read recently that Stoke were to bid £7m for him which I doubt.

What’s really unfortunate is how he was such a key player for us in the last few seasons and then all of a sudden he’s been shunned to the bench and Mata has arrived. Planning for the future is most definitely in the present for Villas-Boas.

@GaryCRobertson

Lukaku Ponders Summer Loan Move

Posted: January 16, 2012 by GaryCRobertson in Attack, Chelsea, loan, Rumours, Transfers, Youth

Romelu Lukaku is keen to get more playing time with Chelsea and has revealed he would be open to a loan move if the opportunity arose to improve his long terms chances in the first team.

“If my situation at Chelsea does not evolve between now and the end of the season, it may be better to be loaned out for a season.”

The only problem is that because Lukaku has already played for two clubs this season, he would not be able to join another club on loan until the summer transfer window arrives. So, he is keen to plan ahead, something I think is very admirable – it’s clear he wants to succeed:

“A loan this season is not possible, as I have already played for two different clubs (but) if this situation endures, it might be better to play for another club for a year and then come back.”

Lukaku has featured only seven times for Chelsea since his move from Anderlecht but hopefully he will get some chances while Drogba and Kalou are on duty with the Ivory Coast at the AFCON. Fingers crossed.

@GaryCRobertson

Cahill in, Alex out?

Posted: January 14, 2012 by GaryCRobertson in Bolton, Chelsea, Defence, England, English Premier League, Rumours, Transfers

Andre Villas-Boas has confirmed that English defender Gary Cahill is very close to becoming a Chelsea player after passing a recent medical on Saturday:

Gary passed his medical and should be our player soon.

It’s taken awhile but it shouldn’t be too long now folks.

Cahill, who has been capped for England seven times, will cost Chelsea somewhere in the region of £7 million (according to media reports – yeuch) and will be an immediate replacement for the imminently departing Alex. Cahill was due to be out of contract in the coming months with Bolton, so Chelsea took advantage of the situation with a bid – the rest is history (if everything goes through correctly that is).

Onto the subject of Alex. Reports say he could join Queens Park Rangers sooner rather than later. On the other hand, a Chelsea spokesman said: “I can say at this time there is no agreement between the clubs.” Who to believe?

Villas-Boas will be holding out for as high a bid as possible as he is all too aware of Alex’s financial worth: “We know Alex’s market value and we’re just not going to let him go quite easily.” It would also seem that there’s significant interest from foreign clubs meaning QPR may not be where Alex ends up. After all, he has already said he’d prefer to move away from England. Maybe he will link up with Ancelotti at PSG?

Nothing is decided just yet but in the next few days, we can be sure to expect Cahill to arrive, Alex to depart or both.

@GaryCRobertson

Being manager of a team where your best players are eventually poached for better things must be an extreme annoyance. But after reading Owen Coyle’s recent comments on a potential Gary Cahill transfer, it would seem he is trying to generate some solid interest.

Long has it been known that Gary Cahill of Bolton is a player who has the feet for a bigger club. With Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal all rumoured to be interested in the England centre back, maybe it is time for Mr Coyle to let the floodgates open and let the bidding war begin.

Owen Coyle: “I think it is well known the belief I have in Gary Cahill and the quality he has.”

Now in that comment all we are hearing is that Coyle knows the sort of player that Cahill is and the skill he possesses. When you look at his next comment, you will realise that Coyle knows his days with Cahill are coming to an end:

“It only takes a phone call for it to all change but I have said to him he is a Bolton Wanderers player, he is well paid by Bolton Wanderers and he has to make sure he is focused to do the job in hand until something was to change. I know there is interest from other clubs, nothing concrete in terms of offers, but all these elite clubs know he is an outstanding player so we will have to wait and see what happens with that.”

All that tells us is that Owen Coyle is fully aware that Cahill will not be at the club for much longer, if bigger clubs become eager to buy him, and that he is perhaps even keen to get some concrete offers on the table as soon as possible. Wise move? In a sense, yes. By stating such things, he’s basically informing interested clubs that Cahill is available (for the right price). However, I believe that price will not be cheap. If a manager is on the verge of losing a key player, he will juice every penny out of the club that are in for him.

What’s more, Owen Coyle will no doubt be alert to Andre Villas-Boas’ enthusiasm about getting his hands on an English defender.