Chelsea FC: 10 Players That the Club Need to Sign in the Summer
It has become clear in recent weeks that Chelsea FC have fallen behind the two Manchester giants in their capability to maintain a title challenge.
Many have blamed the young and inexperienced manager, Andre Villas-Boas, for the club's recent slip-ups but the playing squad that he has at his disposal is simply not good enough anymore.
A major summer reshuffle is needed and here are 10 names that may help to reverse Chelsea's fortunes in 2012/13.
1. Eden Hazard
Chelsea have let too many wunderkinds slip from their grasp, from Sergio Aguero to Phil Jones, and they cannot let the same thing happen with this precocious talent.
Hazard is a creative genius and has been touted as a player capable of becoming the best in the world at what he does.
The Belgian playmaker could be the long-term replacement for Frank Lampard in terms of goal scoring from midfield.
He has sensational ball skills, perfect close control and an eye for goal that is uncanny.
Fernando Torres needs someone to create chances for him to feed on, and Hazard could be effectively employed in the deep-lying center forward role made famous by Gianfranco Zola.
At the tender age of 21, Hazard has hinted at a summer move to Tottenham but this is a situation where Chelsea need to wield their financial clout and beat their North London rivals to the punch.
Hazard is the future of European football and would fit in very nicely at Stamford Bridge, whatever the price tag.
2. Edinson Cavani
Edinson Cavani has played an integral role in Napol's rise to prominence that saw the Italian club edge out Manchester City in the Champions League.
The 24-year-old Uruguayan striker has shown that he has the potential to become one of the world's top marksmen with 18 goals already this season.
Pace, power, skill and an eye for goal are the key attributes which make him a constant goal threat and a player that could provide the perfect remedy for the struggling Fernando Torres.
3. Marek Hamsik
Napoli's creative genius in the centre of the park came from humble beginnings in Slovakia but he looks set to scale the footballing world.
Marek Hamsik is a nightmare to contend with in midfield, and his dribbling skills and pinpoint passing have created many a chance for the strikers.
The thought of Hamsik linking up with Juan Mata, and possibly Eden Hazard, in midfield should be a mouth-watering prospect for any Chelsea fan.
4. Ezequiel Lavezzi
The third piece of the Napoli jigsaw puzzle that saw the small Naples club finish third in the league last season is Ezequiel Lavezzi, the Argentine sharpshooter.
Edinson Cavani and Lavezzi up front represent one of Europe's hottest partnerships and with Hamsik supplying from midfield, it is no wonder that many Chelsea fans look to the club's Champions League clash against Napoli with trepidation.
Lavezzi possesses a sharpness in and around the box that Fernando Torres has lost recently and he sets up as many as he scores.
While he is no spring chicken, at the age of 26, he still has his best years ahead of him and should prove a sound piece of business as Chelsea desperately need a goal scorer.
5. Gregory van der Wiel
Right-back has been a problem position for Chelsea this season, with Jose Bosingwa proving as unreliable as ever and Branislav Ivanovic constantly being called upon to deputise at centre-back.
The sight of Van der Wiel bombing forward down the right is a sight that Dutch football fans have become accustomed to and his natural fitness and pace would make it easy for him to adapt to the Premier League.
Van der Wiel has become a key component of the Dutch national side, ending up with a World Cup silver medal in 2010, and he is expected to feature prominently at Euro 2012.
The Brazilian sensation has been making headlines all year for Santos, both for his footballing prowess and his off-the-pitch antics.
He has similar characteristics to Mario Balotelli and the Brazilian national team have already dropped hints that Neymar is the future.
This explosive striker cannot stop scoring in South America and, although he has the potential to be a loose cannon, Neymar is someone that would be worth an investment.
While Neymar's prodigal skill and fiery temperament have led to celebrity status around the footballing world, it is his Santos teammate, Ganso, who is seen by many as the future of Brazilian football.
The 22-year-old playmaker has been compared to Kaka and many were disappointed that he was not picked in South Africa ahead of the Real Madrid player.
Ganso has since debuted for Brazil and has continued to play a vital role for Santos where he is extremely highly rated, as evidenced by his €50 million buyout clause.
This may prove a stumbling block to many clubs trying to sign him but Abramovich has been known to splash the cash before and, with Ganso's considerable talent, may be tempted to do so again.
8. Mario Götze
Germany are many people's favourites to win Euro 2012 after the impressive display of their young team in 2010 that included a 4-1 whitewash of England.
The likes of Mesut Özil, Thomas Müller and Mario Gómez are set to shine again this summer but the jewel in Germany's crown could be Dortmund's Mario Götze.
The teenager has shown sensational skill and a phenomenal football brain already in his career. There is a case for him to make the national team for the finals, despite the fact that he has only won 12 full caps.
His pace, technique and creative spark are the key assets that could help him become a world-class player, and Chelsea should help themselves before other clubs become too interested.
9. Javier Pastore
It was eventually the "French Manchester City," Paris Saint Germain, that won the transfer saga but if the French experiment fails then Javier Pastore may not be content to languish in well-paid mediocrity.
The talented Argentine has been compared to Zinedine Zidane and could walk into any side in Europe.
His £85 million buyout clause has, as yet, dissuaded any potential purchasers but that has not stopped the man known as Hulk from becoming from one of the most sought-after marksmen in world football.
He has every asset an attacking player needs: pace, power, mesmerising footwork, a deadly instinct in front of goal and the most powerful shot in Europe.
His magic wand of a left foot has heavily contributed to the woes of many of Porto's opponents and it is only a matter of time, buyout clause or not, before he turns his attention to one of Europe's major leagues.
If Chelsea were to come calling then Hulk could provide the perfect long-term replacement for Didier Drogba.