Chelsea FC: 7 Changes They'll Have to Make for Next Season
Roman Abramovich is assembling a super squad at Chelsea, though there are several issues, like talented youngsters not playing significant minutes, and whether or not to keep players in decline.
Chelsea's brain trust need to sort out these problems. Here are seven changes they need to make.
7. Get Rid of the Deadwood
José Bosingwa, who cost Chelsea £16.2 million, is finally gone after four years of cringeworthy defending.
Salomon Kalou was content with warming the bench as opposed to fighting for his position. He'll be leaving Stamford Bridge too.
Chelsea need to sell and replace Michael Essien, Florent Malouda, Raul Meireles, Yossi Benayoun, Ross Turnbull and Henrique Hilário.
Essien: It's unfortunate that injuries have debilitated his career. His stats of 1.5 tackles and 0.9 interceptions per game are as anemic as it gets for a ball-winning midfielder.
Malouda: 17.5 shots per goal and not enough through balls.
Meireles: Doesn't win back possession enough, doesn't orchestrate play and isn't a playmaker. He's just a mediocre midfielder, so sell him to whichever club André Villas-Boas ends up at because the Portuguese manager rates Meireles quite highly.
Benayoun: A class act but doesn't have a future at Chelsea.
Turnbull: Terrible goalkeeper. Chelsea used to have the best starting-and-backup-goalkeeper combination in the world with Petr Čech and Carlo Cudicini.
Hilário: What's the point in having a non-homegrown goalkeeper as third choice?
6. Loan Deals
What are the lessons learnt from the unfortunate situations of Romelu Lukaku and Josh McEachran?
Lukaku: Loan out youngsters if they're not going to be given a chance with the first team. His confidence has been shattered, he's disillusioned with the club, and he's unhappy.
McEachran: Loan out youngsters to teams that are willing to give them first-team football.
In McEachran's case, Leon Britton was on course to become the most accurate passer in Europe's elite leagues, and Joe Allen was so important to Brendan Rodgers.
If McEachran had gone to Bolton Wanderers, he would've started 11 games because he's easily a better player than Darren Pratley.
So if Lucas Piazón, Chelsea's Young Player of the Year, isn't projected to be an impact sub, management must loan him out to a Premier League or Championship team willing to guarantee first-team football.
There's no point loaning him out to a foreign team because he needs to get accustomed to English football.
5. Use Kevin De Bruyne as a Super Sub
Kevin de Bruyne is two-footed and has excellent ball control, broad passing range and high-level playmaking ability.
Don't loan him out to Southampton; take advantage of his abilities by using him as an super sub.
4. Remind Daniel Sturridge That Football Is a Team Sport
Forcing Daniel Sturridge to play a wide role is as stupid as Werder Bremen starting Marko Marin as an attacking midfielder.
Sturridge averaged 3.1 shots per game compared to 0.8 shots created per game. He routinely took low-percentage shots, which denied Fernando Torres a clear shot on goal.
It's as if Sturridge was sabotaging Torres' ability to score goals because the Englishman wanted a chance as the No. 9.
If Chelsea sign Hulk, I hope they don't gloss over the fact that he averaged seven shots per game to 0.8 shots created per game in the UEFA Champions League.
3. Start Eden Hazard as the No. 10
When Eden Hazard was whoring himself out to Europe's elite clubs, he said:
It is all down to that. I have always dreamed of playing the No. 10 role, and wearing that number on my back, and you can see what a difference it makes from how many goals I have scored and set up for others. That will be a consideration when I decide on my club. Where I will play will influence my thinking on who I should join.
All through my career I'd played in the 10 shirt, then I saw the shirt hanging up in the dressing room and it said: "Futre 16."
Then Peter Storrie came in and said: "what's the problem?" I said: "no, you have the problem, the ten shirt is in my contract." I didn't play and I left.
Hazard may not receive the No. 10 shirt at Chelsea, but he should definitely play in attacking central midfield. When he did play as the No. 10 for Lille, he scored four goals and provided five assists in 10 games.
2. Play Assertive, Attacking and Attractive Football
Roberto Di Matteo is a Chelsea champion as a player and as a manager.
He decided that playing attacking football was impractical with the Chelsea players he had. So, he made a pragmatic decision and implemented a dull, boring and ugly counter-attacking style.
He's now a UEFA Champions League-winning manager.
Unfortunately, people stereotype him as just "another Italian manager," even though he played some nice football with West Bromwich Albion and his upbringing contradicted any notion of defensive football.
After all, he was managed by Zdeněk Zeman, an ultra-attacking manager, and Ruud Gullit, who loved "sexy football."
Di Matteo's "3" in the 4-2-3-1 could potentially be Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Hulk. The Italian also has Frank Lampard pulling strings from a deep-lying role.
There's no reason why Chelsea cannot play assertive, attacking and attractive footbal—something Roman Abramovich has requested since forcing José Mourinho out.
1. Blindly Trust Fernando Torres as the Starting Centre-Forward
£50 million and £175,000 a week—Chelsea invested big-time in Fernando Torres, and he's failed abysmally.
The Blues can sell him for a massive deficit, or they can give him one more season to see if the world-class Torres returns.
Instead of starting every third or fourth game, Torres needs to be given an extended run as a starter.
Juan Mata ranked fifth and Eden Hazard was 26th in terms of shots created per game in Europe's elite leagues.
If Torres hasn't scored and created a combined 50 goals next season (e.g. 30 goals/20 assists, 25 goals/25 assists, etc.) with Mata and Hazard as teammates, then Torres needs to go.
Mind you, in recent years for Spain, he's only scored seven goals in 25 games with Xavi, Xabi Alonso, David Silva and Andrés Iniesta as teammates.