May 21 2013 Latest news:
Paul Lagan, London24 Chelsea blogger
Monday, May 28, 2012
“It’s fair to say that with the passing of Drogs, another striker, someone to complement Torres has to be a playing priority.
That man could well be Hulk”
The king is dead, long live the king.
And so Didier Drogba heads off into the sunlight, job done, reputation intact.
All the plaudits are well deserved and the guy will go down as a Chelsea legend.
Earlier this week, following Chelsea’s announcement that Drogba is off, the club were quick to ensure that all were made aware that Fernando Torres will be given lead striker’s role next season.
Torres’s relatively good form towards the close of the season, and in particular his semi-final goal in the Nou Camp, meant that his post-match Champions League final whinge was largely ignored by the club and he was named in his country’s Euro 2012 squad.
So the Spain striker can’t have any complaints from now on.
While every Blues fan is still luxuriating in being the best in Europe, with the cherry on the cake of course was the dumping of Spurs into the Europa League, Roman, Ron Gourlay and co have to dissect what was, league-wise, a disastrous campaign.
So what can be done? What will they do?
Chelsea were 25 points adrift of league winners Manchester City and I think three new additions are required to bridge that deficit.
It’s fair to say that with the passing of Drogs, another striker, someone to complement Torres has to be a playing priority.
That man could well be Hulk.
The Brazil hit man, 25, plying his trade in Europe with Porto, has served his apprenticeship and is now ready for a move - and SW6 is the right place for him and it’s the right time.
Porto are well known for having massive buy-out clauses for players and managers and Hulk’s is reportedly €100m.
It’s highly unlikely that the Blues will go that high for the wing man but it’s also unlikely Porto will stand in his way and what an attacking combination that could mean for the Stamford Bridge faithful.
Of course while, not scoring enough goals cost Chelsea dear, uncharacteristic defensive errors went some way to explaining their poorest league performance for 10 years.
With Ryan Bertrand comfortably shadowing Ashley Cole, it’s in the right back position that needs serious attention.
Jose Bosingwa is just about past his sell-by date and ideally could be replaced by Ajax’s full-back Gregory van der Wiel.
With a £9m cheque winging its way to Holland and Der Wiel, 24, coming the other way, the Blues could be close to restructuring the team, lowering its squad’s average age, all without losing any of its core strengths.
The last piece of the jigsaw is of course the desperate search for an ultra creative midfield player.
The main man for me has to be Eden Hazard. The Belgium international, just 21, is one of the hottest properties on the market and for good reason.
For Chelsea to have any pretensions of regaining the Premier League title, then having a man of this ability feeding Hulk and Torres is a must.
Gourlay has to capitalise on Chelsea’s greatest selling point - they are European Champions. He has to get in the best to become the best.
Having dodged the bullet in a hopeless league campaign by winning the Champions League, Gourlay cannot expect a repeat next season.
From a business point of view fourth place in the league is the absolute minimum requirement for the team - higher will be expected with winning the league a realistic possibility, irrespective of want Man City and United do in the summer transfer window.
Hulk, Van De Wiel and Hazard would make Chelsea serious challengers for all competitions.
Don’t forget, as well as a Super Cup tie in the end of August, Chelsea will have to fit in a World Club tournament at the end of the year in Japan too.
Top quality additions will alleviate the fixture nightmare while ensuring the boys have the best chance of success.
The season is over, but the new one is not that far behind.
Being it on...