Should Chelsea Cash in on Ramires While They Have the Chance?

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2014

Chelsea's Ramires adjusts his socks after a foul left him on the ground during their English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England, Monday Feb. 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

The transfer window is yet to officially re-open but it's already looking like being a productive summer for Chelsea.

David Luiz has been sold to Paris Saint-Germain for a reported £50 million, per Daily Mail, while Cesc Fabregas has been brought in from Barcelona to add some much needed flair in midfield, replacing the outgoing Frank Lampard.

The Guardian reports Fabregas cost the Blues £30 million, while striker Diego Costa is expected to sign for a similar figure from Spanish champions Atletico Madrid, per Sky Sports.

Doing the maths, it all means Chelsea's net spend for two world-class talents stands at around £10 million—impressive business considering it leaves their squad and finances appearing in very good order.

Sell Ramires and they will look even better.

If the previous transfer rumors weren't enough, Chelsea's Brazilian has reportedly been the subject of Real Madrid's affections in the past week or so.

A number of media outlets have reported the European champions want to bring Ramires to the Bernabeu to bolster their midfield, the Daily Star suggesting Real will offer £25 million for his services.

Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press

"Ramires is staying at Chelsea. He's not for sale," was Jose Mourinho's response, per Marca (via ESPN).

Looking at what the Chelsea boss has at his disposal, maybe he's playing hardball to drive up the price. Why else would he want to outline his intent to keep hold of Ramires?

There was a time Chelsea's No. 7 seemed essential at Stamford Bridge, yet on the back of an unfulfilling campaign in 2013-14, it's no longer the case.

Chelsea have better options now.

Call it World Cup fever, a simple loss of form or just one of those years, for whatever reason, Ramires has been a shadow of the player we have often seen in west London since his 2010 move from Benfica.

Rui Vieira/Associated Press

Just one goal in the Premier League all season last term was in stark contrast to the five he scored in 2011-12 and 2012-13.

His box-to-box qualities had Ramires marked down as Lampard's long-term replacement at Stamford Bridge, but over time he has failed to live up to those expectations.

Sure, Lampard's boots are significantly big ones to fill and it's going to take a special player to do it, but Ramires isn't looking like that man.

Instead, the conversation is now of Fabregas' signing being the one that will bridge the gap. And outside of the Spaniard, Chelsea have the promising Marco van Ginkel and plenty of youngsters capable of stepping up to feature alongside Nemanja Matic in the pivot.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 30: Koke of Club Atletico de Madrid is tackled by Ramires of Chelsea during the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg match between Chelsea and Club Atletico de Madrid at Stamford Bridge on April 30, 2014 in London, England.
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Given the talents of Oscar, Eden Hazard, Willian, Andre Schurrle and Mohamed Salah in attacking midfield, Ramires isn't an option further forward, either.

Chelsea have continued to evolve in recent years and in that time, Ramires' position has been squeezed to the extent his place cannot be guaranteed. Nor should it, given he hasn't consistently shown the capabilities of emerging as the player many predicted he would be.

It's not just about his poor goals return—a statistic that is always harsh to judge midfielders. There's much more to it, notably Ramires' growing ill discipline.

Suspensions after incidents against Aston Villa and Sunderland left Chelsea stretched at the back end of last season when they were competing on two fronts, in the Premier League and Champions League.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 15:  Ramires of Chelsea (3L) is shown a red card and is sent off by referee Chris Foy after a challenge on Karim El Ahmadi of Aston Villa (L) during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Chelsea at Villa Par
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

From being a dependable and influential presence, he's suddenly become a liability—and one the Blues cannot afford to carry.

It was painful for Chelsea fans when Mourinho sold Juan Mata to Manchester United in January, yet it was the type of transfer that outlines one of the many reasons why he is Chelsea manager.

It was ruthless.

Despite Mata's reputation with the fans, despite all he had achieved in two seasons at Chelsea, his attributes were at odds with those of Mourinho's system.

Vadim Ghirda/Associated Press

Ramires himself is beginning to look at odds with where this Chelsea team is headed and while the interest is hot, the Blues need to act now.

Unlike the likes of Arsenal and others who have sold popular players at detriment to the strength of their team, Chelsea have broken the mould of late by offloading star names for considerable fees, coming out on the other side still looking stronger.

They have money in the bank and an exciting group of young players with a bright future. Offload Ramires and that will not change.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes


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