Brazilian and Internacional starlet, Oscar
Chelsea is in the midst of their biggest transition since the takeover of the club by owner Roman Abramovich. When the Russian billionaire bought the club, he built it into a powerhouse behind the talent and leadership of Jose Mourinho.
Over the past near decade since his initial purchase of the club, the players that once were his stalwart's and building blocks are now the shaky and cracking corners of a team that has grown and aged past their prime.
Much like their beloved Stamford Bridge, the roster is in deep need of a complete overhaul and makeover.
The massive £50 million fee paid to Liverpool for Spanish international striker Fernando Torres was supposed to be the rallying cry for all Chelsea fans to back the next generation of star power coming to Stamford Bridge.
However, unfortunately that idea backfired until the final months of the 2011-12 season when then interim manager, Roberto Di Matteo got the best out of Torres in a blue kit despite frustrating the Spaniard with limited playing time.
Fans can rue the signing as being much too costly, and to a degree they have a point. But, had Abramovich not paid out that huge sum 18 months ago, would the Blues have scored the knockout blow against Barcelona that Torres delivered to send the club to the UEFA Champions League final?
This summer, Abramovich’s big-spending rebuilding project has finally hit full stride. With the exodus of Didier Drogba as the line-leading talisman, there has been much talk about whether or not Torres can shoulder the burden alone.
That talk has led to the debate over the signing of FC Porto striker Hulk once more, just as it had raged on back in the January transfer window when former manager Andre Villas-Boas was so keen on bringing in the versatile Brazilian forward.
The trouble with that decision would be that, while Torres has been at Chelsea, he has never been given a true chance to lead the line for the club.
With Drogba’s legendary status over shadowing him since his arrival, and the faith in youth from AVB in Daniel Sturridge having pushed him to the side, the appointment of Roberto Di Matteo could finally have seen Torres become the first choice once and for all.
So far this summer, the tools that Chelsea have added in attack all look to have been brought in with the intent of moving forward with Torres as a lone wolf up front. The additions of German international winger Marko Marin and highly-rated Belgian starlet Eden Hazard has seen the empty boots of Soloman Kalou and the soon to be empty boots of Flourent Malouda filled for the future.
With that said, where is the place for Hulk at the current point of the rebuilding process? The supporting cast of both Daniel Sturridge and Romelu Lukaku looks capable as stand-ins for Torres and deserve the chance to do so over at least the next season.
In truth, it is not the forward positions that need a Hulk, but the real need for the club is in the midfield, where the addition of an Oscar is a much more necessary need.
The attack has been added to, and with a total arsenal of forwards and wingers consisting of Juan Mata, Torres, Sturridge, Hazard, Lukaku and Marin with an average age in the low-to-mid-20’s is massive for the future.
However, the midfield is aging rapidly despite the existence of youngster’s Oriol Romeu, Kevin De Bruyne and Josh McEachran. The latter two are most likely to be sent out on loan once more this season, leaving the veteran core of Frank Lampard, Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel, Ramires and Raul Meireles to shoulder the load.
Lampard continues to shine at his age, and his vision only seems to be getting better, but Essien is nothing like the hardened midfield engine he was in the past as injuries truly appear to have taken their toll. Ramires is bright and Meireles has his moments, but Mikel seemed more of a liability for the majority of last season.
The addition of yet another young midfield talent in Brazilian starlet Oscar seems a much more ideal move than signing Hulk. Oscar would be the attacking match to Romeu’s defensive characteristics, and a future partnership of the two could prove to be the next Lampard and Essien type duo that was nearly unstoppable for the Blues in the late 2000’s.
Oscar’s price tag also is more reasonable as the height of his valuation seems to have peaked at £25 million according to ESPN, while Hulk still looks to be only available for at least £35 million or as much as £38 million also reported by ESPN.
An investment in Hulk is in many ways a more proven investment, but then again, so has been said of many other major value players in history. With the attack what it already is for Chelsea, and the investment in youth appearing to be the primary issue this summer for Abramovich, a deal for Oscar looks ideal.
BBC Sport already has claimed the player admits to having had a Chelsea medical according to Oscar’s comment:
I only had a meeting with the doctor, nothing else. I haven't signed any contract yet.
According to comments quoted by FoxSports, Hulk appears to have backed off his push for a transfer this summer:
My future is in God's hands. Regarding transfers, I let my agent handle it. I'm focused on the national team.
Who doesn't want to be Olympic champions? We know Brazil's Olympic history, it would be our first title, he added.
We have a very united squad, we won't fail, and we are all focused.
I want to bring that medal not only to my city of Campina Grande, but also to the state of Paraiba.
The Telegraph's columnist Thom Gibbs believes that Oscar would add a touch of class to Chelsea, and described the young Brazilian as the new Kaka. His addition is thought to be one that could truly make the new-look Blues the most exciting team to watch in England during the coming 2012-13 English Premier League season.
In all honesty, the rebuilding process of Chelsea currently favors a move for a player like Oscar over Hulk. The midfield needs more youthful injection than the attack at the moment, and the best way to build a dynasty is through growing players in your own system from as young an age as possible.