Oh Transfer Window, how I have missed you since Robinho signed with Manchester City a year ago.
On Jul. 1, Carlo Ancelotti will be confirmed as the Chelsea manager, but, if you have read his recent book, he was already their manager on paper for an extended period of time.
The day or week of his confirmation Sturridge's fee is expected to be settled along with Zhirkov's signing.
Both of these players bring something that Chelsea desperately needs in their starting line-up: youth.
With the exception of Pirlo, almost all of the players that Chelsea has been linked with still have some of their best years ahead of them.
In Zhirkov, they get a savvy player that is already established but has at least six or seven good years left in the tank. Zhirkov also brings them some much needed creativity, both in dribbling isolation and in concerted team efforts.
He can play on the inside-left and the wing.
In Sturridge, Chelsea gets a very strong player with a lifetime of potential left. While Kalou is only a little older and has already established himself as a worthy 12th or 13th man, Sturridge brings more swagger and physicality to the club, which could make them even harder to defend on the break.
In addition, Sturridge will benefit from being around another physical player like Anelka whose game he can model and improve on as he nears his peak.
Beyond these confirmed signings, there is the glut of rumors that surround Chelsea's chase for Franck Ribery, Andrea Pirlo, and Alexandre Pato.
For the sake of sense (and I use that term very loosely because these are transfer rumors), I will re-look at Pirlo and Pato and what they mean to Chelsea's future.
First are the rumors that Chelsea will drop an amazing bid for the 19-year-old Pato. Pato brings all the physical tools that Sturridge has, adds a proven touch, and the samba style that his nation is known for.
Playing as a centre-forward, Pato can create not just for himself on isolation and slashing runs, but has demonstrated a certain amount of unselfishness that is beyond most 19-year-olds that have double digit goal tallies.
Over time, Pato will morph into a creative, play making forward that would in many ways be the crown jewel for a team like Chelsea.
As far as Pirlo is concerned, it is becoming more and more likely for him to join Chelsea with a chance to play quarterback.
Since I covered much of what I think of his abilities and what he can contribute in my last article here:
I will attempt to complete my thought on who Chelsea should build their future around.
Mikel Jon Obi, as he prefers to be called, was a highly coveted prospect that Chelsea pried away from Manchester United.
With the departure of the Smiling Assassin and Essien's injury, Mikel has shown he can be a part of the most physical and intimidating midfield on the planet.
With proper coaching, however, I believe that he is THE player that Chelsea should build around.
He is already a top 15 defensive midfielder in the world at a mere 22. His tackling and work rate allow his midfield partners to attack.
As I mentioned in the Pirlo article, it is his technique that needs to improve.
If he does manage to train with Pirlo and improve, he can possibly exceed what Makelele did for Chelsea because he is more of an athlete than Make was.
He can provide cover for the defense that has made Chelsea so successful.
But, I can see him evolving into a quarterback that helps to not only unleash Chelsea's very talented attackers the way a Pirlo and Make would, but to break other teams on his own.
Sure he'll never have the moves of a Ronaldo or Zidane, but his pure physical strength and stature with the touch and vision of a bona fide playmaker is exactly what can turn Chelsea into a great club for the future.
Transfers and rumors are never concrete, that's why they're called transfers and rumors!
I would love to hear what you think of these players and future tactical systems, so please leave ample comments!
I also plan to do an article on defensive expression once I get a stable Internet connection, so I would also love to hear your thoughts on what that may be.
Until next time, enjoy the drama that is the summer transfer window.
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