As Chelsea prepare a new bid for Italian playmaker Andrea Pirlo, who they want to reunite with new boss Carlo Ancelotti, we consider if the move might be a huge mistake for all concerned.
First off, I'd like to say that Pirlo is among my favourite in world football. I admire his skill and playing style; he is one of the players I always wanted to see on my club, Juventus.
Unfortunately for me and Juventus, Milan signed Pirlo from cross-town rivals Inter in 2001, uniting him with Gennaro Gattuso to form a midfield which has defined Milan and the National Team for almost a decade.
It was Ancelotti who benfitted from Pirlo moving from a classic No. 10 to the deep-lying playmaker we all know him as today. He took to the new role instantly and personifies this "regista" role in the same way the holding midfield position is referred to as "The Makelele Role" in England. Ancelotti has much to thank ex-Brescia boss Carlo Mazzone for here, it was he who first played Pirlo in the new role we see him excel in today.
It is—once again—Ancelotti behind the move to take Pirlo with him to Stamford Bridge. This transfer is essential to a cash-strapped Milan in order for them to strengthen their squad following a hugely disappointing 2008-09 campaign.
Pirlo has never been a quick player, indeed all of his positive qualities stem from an ability to dictate the pace of the game, to slow it down, and find the right opening to create scoring opportunities for teammates. Because of this, teams with Pirlo have to play a certain style, in order to make the most of his talents, otherwise he just becomes a hindrance, a luxury player that top teams can ill afford.
Chelsea already has a large number of players, all over the age of 30, in attacking positions in midfield. To add Pirlo to Deco, Lampard, and Ballack seems a strange move, as would re-structuring the team to suit his style.
Pirlo himself, due to his need for time and space on the ball, would be unsuited to Premiership football, its non-stop, all-action style would be completely at odds with the way he plays the game.
I can see no way this move will be of any benefit to Pirlo or indeed Chelsea.
Ancelotti has been brought in to follow the excellent job started by Hiddink, and to pin his hopes on Pirlo would be a huge mistake. Surely someone at Chelsea, who has seen plenty of Milan and Italy should step in before it's too late?
Ray Wilkins, I'm looking at you...