Chelsea Transfer News: Blues Should Be Encouraged by Ryan Bertrand's Commitment
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And the summer keeps getting better for Chelsea.
The Blues have welcomed back Jose Mourinho to go with the additions of Andre Schurrle, Mark Schwarzer and Marco van Ginkel. There haven't been any key departures, either. One player Mourinho looks to be able to count on is Ryan Bertrand.
I want to be Chelsea's No1 left-back, and when that time comes it will happen. All I can do is be ready and keep playing, keep biding my time. I'm thinking of nothing else. I am just focusing on being No1, concentrating on progression in the games I get, and I've managed to do so in recent years.
I've had a few loan moves – Bournemouth, Oldham, Norwich, Reading and [Nottingham] Forest – but that's part and parcel of it when you are a young player coming through. You have to be willing to put the work in and not being afraid, to get out of the comfort zone and take your opportunities. It's better than reserve team football, but then there comes a time when you have to say: "Right, I am going to spend some time back at the club and see what happens." I'm looking forward to next season.
You could see why Bertrand might want to leave. For the time being, he's stuck behind Ashley Cole. Moving to Liverpool would likely mean more playing time, as Jose Enrique is far from entrenched at the position. Bertrand would also probably be getting more money as a result of the transfer.
Instead, he's made what is arguably the much better career decision and chosen to remain a Chelsea player.
Although he's still a very talented left-back, Cole is on the decline. Where he was once one of the few truly world-class players for the England national team, the 32-year-old has instead become merely a very good defender. It's not as if he's going to start getting better anytime soon, either. He's only on the way down.
When you also consider Cole only has a one-year deal with the club, it's likely a matter of time before Bertrand is the first-choice left-back for Chelsea. If it doesn't happen this coming season, it will in the following one.
It can often be hard for a player to look beyond the immediate future. He makes a move with the present in mind while giving no thought to the long term. It's encouraging that Bertrand will bide his time and fight for a spot in the team rather than go to a club where one would be handed to him.
Who should be Chelsea's primary left-back in 2013/14?
Bertrand has all the skills to succeed. He's a competent defender who's very good going forward. As with all full-backs, he can sometimes struggle judging when to go forward and then tracking back. It's a problem that Cole suffered from early in his career.
Ideally, you'd have Cole taking Bertrand under his wing and helping him to become a better player. It's a lot easier learning how to become a more balanced defender by learning from someone who was once among the best in the world. Should that not happen, Bertrand would still be able to see Cole every day in training and learn that way.
For the last three or four seasons, the biggest knock on Chelsea was that they were leaning too heavily on older players. When those players start reaching their twilight, the club would be in major trouble.
In order to stave off that problem, the Blues have gone out and assembled a great core of young talent. You've got Bertrand, David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta at the back, all of whom are 27 or younger. Van Ginkel, Ramires and Kevin de Bruyne can occupy the central midfield, while Schurrle, Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku play further up the pitch.
When you think about where this club could be in the next two or three years, it's scary. Chelsea's key players will all either be hitting their primes or still in it.
Losing Bertrand wouldn't have been a crippling blow. It would mean having to look for another left-back, though.
With Bertrand still in the squad, Mourinho knows he's got the long-term successor for Cole whenever the time comes to move the aging defender on.
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