Chelsea FC: 5 Players Who Need a West London Exodus
Chelsea have taken to stockpiling players—almost like a Cold War is imminently approaching the world of football.
Thankfully, Jose Mourinho, via BBC Sport, has made known his wish to stay in SW6 for the foreseeable future; this calm should give owner Roman Abramovich, technical director Michael Emenalo and the Blues' boss an opportunity to parse Chelsea's ledgers and start the process of disarmament.
Excluding John Terry, Chelsea span from Mourinho's first stint to Mario Pasalic's 9 July arrival. The managers in between had varying philosophies requiring different personnel—leaving a rather shipwrecked roster.
A decade of habitual construction and deconstruction has created an over-40-member patchwork quilt. The inclusion of Mourinho should make this an eventual counterpane, but work is needed.
Playing annually in four competitions, Chelsea require a large squad to cope with the battle of attrition—but there is a difference between eating slightly more than what you need and gluttony.
Individual responsibility should remain paramount as well.
Essentially: No need to languish in misery.
*All current market values are determined by TransferMarkt
CM: Josh McEachran
Transfer Fee: Chelsea Academy
Currently Listed For: £3.5 million
Josh McEachran, 21, was meant to be Chelsea's midfield heir apparent. An under-16 through under-21 international, McEachran has always been labeled as one of England's next big products, yet his club career has rather stalled.
The teenage midfielder made 17 appearances during Carlo Ancelotti's 2010-11 season—even earning Chelsea's 2011 Young Player of the Year award. When the Italian manager was sacked, in favour of Andre Villas-Boas, McEachran found himself on the outskirts of relevance. His last senior appearance for Chelsea was on 2 January 2012.
Signing a five-year deal in 2011, McEachran still has time to impress; but after concurrent loan spells at Swansea City, Middlesbrough, Watford and Wigan, this summer seems an optimal time for the Englishman to recalibrate his career.
If Blues veteran John Obi Mikel struggles finding minutes in Chelsea's midfield rotation, making a case for McEachran becomes difficult—especially when his main rival, Marco van Ginkel, will be fit this season.
Should Chelsea be open to selling their academy product, Championship and lower Premier League clubs would certainly take interest. Though McEachran's Chelsea future has dimmed, he is talented enough to feature prominently elsewhere; whether he would stay and compete, mind you, remains a point of discussion.
Likely Outcome for 2014-15: McEachran is loaned to a contending Championship or bottom-tier Premier League side.
CAM/W: Marko Marin
Currently Listed For: £4.4 million
Chelsea's penchant for greed can be exemplified by Marko Marin, 25. Having made just six Premier League appearances in two years on the Blues' ledgers, his transfer has become a waste of £6.5 million.
Bought in the same window as Oscar, Thorgan Hazard, Eden Hazard and Victor Moses, Marin was always going to struggle making himself a permanent fixture in the Chelsea first team, much less the starting XI. With Andre Schurrle, Willian, Mohamed Salah and the emerging Christian Atsu now a level above, Marin's best choice would be to evacuate Stamford Bridge.
The German international—and member of Die Mannschaft's 2010 World Cup 23-man squad—has been linked with Eintracht Frankfurt and VfL Wolfsburg, per Gary Jones of the Daily Star. Chelsea and Wolfsburg should be on friendly terms after Kevin De Bruyne's departure in January; any bid in the region of £4-6 million would seem enough to prise Marin's release.
That said, the 2012 transfer had an air of Roman Abramovich autonomy about it; should the Russian billionaire rate Marin, one might expect the asking price—regardless of logic—to be slightly higher.
In any event, both parties—Chelsea and Marin—would be better off without each other.
Likely Outcome for 2014-15: Marin is sold—or loaned—to a Bundesliga side before transfer deadline day.
LB: Ryan Bertrand
Transfer Fee: Chelsea Academy
Currently Listed For: £5.3 million
Jose Mourinho was reticent to play arguably the world's best left-back (over the past decade-plus), Ashley Cole, last season—favouring Cesar Azpilicueta—so the Portuguese installing Ryan Bertrand, 24, who is essentially "Cole-lite," seems hard to imagine.
Seemingly confirming this suspicion, The Sun's Rob Beasley has announced (subscription required): "Chelsea have signed Atletico Madrid defender Filipe Luis for £20 million." Upwards of £20 million spent on an almost-29-year-old left-back suggests Mourinho has no intention of giving Bertrand a place in the Blues' starting XI.
Could the Englishman stay around for the odd cup game? Sure.
However, should Luis indeed be heading to west London, Branislav Ivanovic and Cesar Azpilicueta would be Mourinho's second-favourite full-back pairing—leaving Bertrand waiting for either an injury, sale or "Mourinho whim" to take a spot.
At 24 years old—entering the prime of his career—Bertrand should be playing consistently, not hoping for the misfortune of others. Liverpool have been linked with the Englishman, per Adam Crafton of the Daily Mail. Were Brendan Rodgers & Co. to offer in the neighbourhood of £7 million, Chelsea should have their transfer pen(s) at the ready.
If not for money, to be courteous.
Likely Outcome for 2014-15: Should Chelsea buy a left-back worthy of starting, Bertrand is sold to Liverpool or Aston Villa before transfer deadline day.
W: Victor Moses
Transfer Fee: £9 million, 2012 (Wigan Athletic FC)
Currently Listed For: £9.7 million
Victor Moses, 23, scored 10 goals in 42 appearances during Chelsea's 2012-13 campaign, so let us not pretend the Nigerian has no quality. What he has are three wingers in front of him.
Willian and Andre Schurrle are Jose Mourinho's favourites on the right wing—and there is no usurping Eden Hazard on the left—so where does Moses fit? His main competition is Mohamed Salah. As the Egyptian was bought under this regime, his inclusion seems more likely than that of Moses.
Moses' Liverpool loan spell was forgettable, due in large part to the Reds playing no European football. Their main attacking options were always rested, leaving the winger on substitute duty. As such, maybe 2013-14 is worth disregarding for Moses.
Moses should consider going and establishing himself as a viable transfer target for 2015's summer window. Though, were Chelsea offered a fee besting their 2012 investment of £9 million, Mourinho would certainly have to consider the possibility of selling.
Shame really, because if Moses develops to his full potential, sky's the limit.
Likely Outcome for 2014-15: Moses remains in the Chelsea squad until deadline day and is then loaned to a mid-table Premier League side.
ST: Fernando Torres
Transfer Fee: £50 million, 2011 (Liverpool FC)
Currently Listed For: £16.7 million
Decline is now inevitable for Fernando Torres, 30. Although, some might argue his decline commenced the moment he donned Chelsea's royal blue kit. Purchased for the largest sum in English transfer history—meaning immense pressure—the experiment has failed.
You cannot, however, blame Torres entirely. Carlo Ancelotti had just four months with El Nino and was then sacked. Andre Villas-Boas was largely clueless and the irrepressible Didier Drogba was a virtual black hole when pitted against other Chelsea strikers.
Driven by a powerful midfield nowadays, the Blues have struggled to get their "No. 9s" involved. As patronising as this may sound: To score goals you need to shoot—something Chelsea's strikers are doing less of since Eden Hazard, Oscar and the accompanying cast arrived in west London.
With the team's ethic unlikely to change, Chelsea's notorious 2011 signing could do with a new home. That said, whether a proclivity for London, his wages, comfortability with Chelsea or an amalgamation of all three, Torres seems unlikely to move.
Who knows? If El Nino can stay fit—hopefully finding some semblance of form—the chances of him being a productive member of Chelsea's first team will increase.
Key word there being "if."
Likely Outcome for 2014-15: Kept; Torres sees out contract, which lasts two more seasons.
Comments Section: Who Ya Got?
As previously mentioned, Chelsea have so many players on their books a list of only five may seem timid.
There are various options at the Blues' disposal: John Obi Mikel, Demba Ba and Ramires seem fan favourites for the axe, but who can say how you feel other than, well, you?
Three Talking Points
Are any of these five named unjustly?
Who should be included?
Are there feasible replacements for these five either in the squad or in the market?
Feel free to leave a comment below.