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Paul Lagan, London24’s Chelsea blogger
Monday, July 23, 2012
We all want to feel wanted, don’t we?
The is nothing worse than turning up for work only to find your boss giving you the cold shoulder, making it perfectly clear that he or she wishes you were anywhere but there.
Footballers are no different, of course.
Dennis Wise revealed recently that the silliest mistake he ever made was to leave Chelsea when he did.
“But I just did not feel wanted by the manger of the time,” said Wise.
“I did not want to be miserable for a couple more seasons [on my contract], so I left. I regretted it.”
That seems to be the way of things in football. When a player is no longer wanted, the club has quite a few tricks up their sleeves to get a player out of the club.
But it does not always work.
One exception was a certain Dutch international.
But generally they like aloof us just want to be loved.
So what does a player do when he finds himself in that inglorious situation?
I Suppose it depends what kind of contract he finds himself in.
No self-respecting Chelsea fan will forget Mr Winston Bogarde.
The Dutch centre-back was signed by the Blues from Barcelona in 2000.
In four years he played a total of nine Premier League games for the Blues.
It was made perfectly clear by Gianluca Vialli and Claudio Ranieri to Bogarde that he was surplus to requirements but he would not leave SW6.
But during his spell as a Blue, Bogarde faced down all attempts to get him off the payroll; he used to fly in from his ‘Big House’ home in Holland, train with the youth team and go home again.
He was lambasted by fans, he put on weight and basically gave very little to Chelsea.
He stuck to his guns and contract, took every penny of the £10m he got from his four years at Chelsea and returned home to Amsterdam.
Sadly for him, when his contract expired in 2004, he failed to find another club, and retired a year later.
Recent reports suggest that he is on his uppers - there will be very few associated with the Blues who will be mourning his apparent fall from grace.
But Chelsea fans are, by and large, sympathetic folk and their ire was fully directed at hapless Andre Villas-Bos last season over his treatment of Brazilian centre- back Alex and Nicolas Anelka.
For whatever reason, both were deemed surplus to requirements - Villas-Boas treated them disrespectfully by dumping them from first-team training, forcing them also, like with Bogarde to train with the youth team.
However both these two players did it zip off abroad at every opportunity, rather they knuckled down and trained hard every day. Many of the youth team were delighted to be in the same company as Alex and Nico and they learned at first-hand, just how fickle football can be. But they would also have been impressed by both these players’ level of professionalism.
Nico is in China earning a few bob, while seeing out his career, while Alex played against Chelsea early this morning for Paris St-Germain (PSG) in New York in a pre-season match.
So who of the current crop of contracted players at Chelsea is the one looking at a bleak season ahead at SW6?
It would be quite easy to look at what players have been signed and then assume those players in those positions would be the ones most likely at risk.
Kevin De Bruyne, Marko Marin and Eden Hazard have come in. All three are wide/midfield players, all are skilful with a touch of exceptional creativity.
So who is at risk? Florent Malouda is definitely on his way out. If he can lower his wage demands he will be zipping across the Atlantic to South America and into Brazil. The luckless Josh McEachran, while playing in the pre-season tour will be expected to make way once the season starts. But he’s one player Chelsea does not want rid of.
He will become one of the most sought-after loanees though with a host of Premier League clubs vying for his talent. After all he is top-flight class and doesn’t cost a lot in wages - so he will prove a bargain for some lucky club.
No, the one player currently picking up his wages, but looking for all the world an outsider is Yossi Benayoun.
The ‘Diamond from Dimona’ has played eight matches since signing from Liverpool in 2010. He was farmed out to Arsenal last term for a season’s loan. Yossi is one of the game’s nice guys.
He even gave his replacement in the Chelsea side, Juan Mata his number 10 shirt when the Spain midfielder arrived.
And it’s all about shirt numbers which gives the game away as to where Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo sees the Israeli’s future.
Chelsea has 29 first-team players at present. The arrival of Oscar is imminent, granted, and no one one has left since Salomon Kalou in the beginning of the month.
So of those 29 players, guess how many have been given a squad number?
Yeah, you guessed it, 28 with hapless Benayoun the only one not handed one.
If ever there was an indicator that you are not on the manager’s most wanted list, then not having a number is the clearest one ever.
It’s a humiliation of course, players recognise the snub and have a great deal of sympathy for him. But, like Alex and Anelka before him, the international midfielder has shown consummate professionalism.
He tweeted yesterday, quite cheerfully, that he was just in his way to training. He started for Chelsea in their opening pre-season match against Seattle Sounders, but was not in the side for the match against PSG early thus morning.
Whoever does get to sign the 30-year-old will get a quality player, it’s just a shame that the number’s up for Yossi.