Nicolas Anelka and Six Other Players Chelsea Should Sell This Summer
After the harsh sacking of Carlo Ancelotti, it seems that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is in no mood to be forgiving this summer.
Rumours are surfacing that he is prepared to sell some of the club's most experienced stars in favour of new, younger players in a fresh start with the ongoing aim of securing Europe's most prestigious prize: the Champions League.
Here are seven players that I would not be disappointed to see follow Ancelotti out of Stamford Bridge.
1. Nicolas Anelka
Anelka tends to slow the game down too often and lacks the same passion as his teammates
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A wonderful talent, Anelka has enjoyed the longest spell of his career at Chelsea: three years. Each of his seven previous clubs got rid of him within two seasons, and in my opinion Anelka’s time should be up at Stamford Bridge.
It is not the fact that Anelka scored just six goals in 32 league appearances last season that worries me. A proven goal-scorer throughout his career, I am sure that this will continue until he retires.
There has, however, been one constant problem for Anelka throughout his career: his attitude. Last year he had a major role in the embarrassment of the French national side at the World Cup, being sent home for his disrespect towards manager Raymond Domenech.
Similarly, he once received a 45-day suspension for refusing to train at Real Madrid. Although thankfully no incident like this has happened yet involving Anelka in West London, his body language and lazy attitude on the pitch for me shows a lack of respect towards his fellow teammates and the fans.
Great finisher, great skill, no work rate. The 32-year-old should be the first out of the door.
2. Salomon Kalou
Another Kalou miss
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The worst player to play in over 200 games for Chelsea? Kalou’s lack of a first touch or a football brain makes him a candidate.
Although he has got a knack of being in the right place at the right time, having scored 55 goals in the five seasons he has been at Stamford Bridge, Kalou just does not have the quality to represent a side challenging for four trophies.
The decision to start Kalou in the crucial game against Manchester United last month was questionable; the performance was appalling. Every touch seemed to come off his shin and give possession back to the opposition.
After a decent run, a ridiculous dive when he once again failed to get past Nemanja Vidic summed up his Chelsea career in a nutshell: he has shown glimpses of quality at times, but has never made the transition into a top player.
He will be 26 years old in August, and it doesn’t seem like this transition is ever going to happen
3. Yury Zhirkov
Zhirkov has failed to settle in since his move from Russia
Zhirkov has only had a handful of starts since his £18 million move from CSKA Moscow, and it doesn't look like he'll make any more.
Several clubs in his home country of Russia have expressed an interest in signing Zhirkov, including Zenit St. Petersburg with rumours that a move worth over £10 million could be confirmed in the near future.
If this story is true, Chelsea should definitely cash in on the player that has failed to settle in after two seasons at Stamford Bridge.
His solitary goal came in a Champions League victory against Spartak Moscow last year; a wonderful volley though it was, this is one of only a few highlights in his time at the club.
With Ashley Cole a key player in the Chelsea starting line-up and young left-backs Ryan Bertrand and Patrick Van Aanholt both looking like good prospects, Zhirkov is unlikely to get much playing time if he continues in London next season.
4. Didier Drogba
Drogba didn't have the best of seasons in 2010-11
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Perhaps the most controversial choice on this list, Drogba is the subject of much speculation as to whether he will leave Stamford Bridge this summer, with many Chelsea fans expressing their desire for the Ivory Coast captain to stay.
Drogba has been a fantastic striker for Chelsea since his move from Marseille back in 2004. After a slow start, he adapted well to the English game and improved season after season, winning the Premier League Golden Boot in the double-winning campaign of 2009-10.
However, this season Drogba's form has deteriorated; he has scored just 13 goals in all competitions compared to last season's 37. This may well be due to an outbreak of malaria earlier in the campaign, however at the age of 33, I don't think that he will ever return to his peak.
Torres and Drogba have failed to combine as a strike force since the Spaniard's move at the end of January; the pair have scored just four goals between them and if Torres is unable to function well with the Ivorian, then it is likely Drogba will be shown the door in favour of the £50 million man.
5. Jose Bosingwa
Bosingwa has failed to return to his best after his long-term injury
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Bosingwa arrived at Chelsea with a lot of ability and in his first season firmly established himself as one of the best right-backs in the league. However, a knee injury at the start of the 2009-10 season ruled him out for a year, and since then he has not been the same player.
He still has great pace and is able to get up and down the right flank to support the wingers very well, but when he does this, his crossing usually lets him down. Bosingwa rarely gets his cross past the first defender and in the process breaks down many promising attacks.
His defensive abilities are also questionable. Despite being quick, Bosingwa's positional awareness is poor, as we saw in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final when he let 37-year-old Ryan Giggs ghost past him and pull the ball back for Wayne Rooney to put Manchester United in front.
If he is prepared to act as a back-up then perhaps Chelsea should let him stay, however Branislav Ivanovic has proven over the last two seasons to be one of the club's most consistent performers, so Bosingwa's chances of regaining his right-back slot look very low indeed.
6. Paulo Ferreira
Ferreira lacks the pace needed to cope with the Premier League's best wingers
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Once a Champions League winner with FC Porto, Ferreira has certainly been a loyal servant to Chelsea since joining the club under Jose Mourinho's reign back in 2004.
Once described by Mourinho as "a player who will never be man of the match but will always score 7/10 for his individual display," Ferreira has been a consistent full back, and his commitment is well-respected amongst the Chelsea supporters.
Although his loyalty will never be questioned, at the age of 32, Ferreira has struggled to keep up with the fast pace of the Premier League in the last couple of seasons, particularly failing to cope with pacy wingers such as Gareth Bale.
A great player in his prime who will never be forgotten, but one whose time should perhaps be coming to an end at Stamford Bridge.
7. Yossi Benayoun
Benayoun's first season with Chelsea was hampered by injuries
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Brought in for £5.5 million to replace creative players such as Joe Cole and Deco last summer, Benayoun's appearances have been limited after rupturing his Achilles in September, which ruled him out for the majority of the season.
It may be deemed unfair to get rid of Benayoun, as this was no fault of his own, but at the age of 31, the Israel captain may never return to the creative midfielder he once was after such a long-term setback.
With playmakers such as Kaka and Luka Modric being tipped to join Chelsea this summer, Benayoun may struggle to make the bench next season with such competition in the Chelsea midfield, and I personally feel that promising youngster Josh McEachran should be given more games for his fine performances when selected.
In the likely scenario that Benayoun stays at the club for another year, his first-team opportunities will only be limited once again.