Taking a look at Chelsea’s summer transfer targets
With Andre Villas-Boas at the helm, in less than 10 games, the former Porto coach had steered Chelsea to third place and looked to mount a serious title challenge in his first season in charge. His impressive record remained intact despite heavy defeats to Arsenal and Liverpool, as Chelsea remained in fourth after 18 games. With over half the season gone, the Blues seemed to have a foothold on that final Champions League spot.
However, with falling-outs behind closed doors and a whisper of Villas-Boas’ inability to assert authority, just a game later a defeat at home to Aston Villa sent them to fifth place. This marked a fourth successive win-less streak that would see the mighty Blues fall from the so-called ‘big four’. An away defeat to West Bromwich Albion was the final straw for Villas-Boas and the Portuguese coach was subsequently fired by Roman Abramovich.
With games coming thick and fast in the F.A Cup, Champions League and Premier League, Abramovich turned to Roberto Di Matteo. And it was the Italian who sparked an immediate turnaround, bringing back the force that led to a Champions League and F.A Cup double. Although it was too late to salvage any hopes for the league, Chelsea’s new coach managed to steer his side to two unbelievable trophies in a season which started off carrying little optimism.
Now the unattainable European trophy rests firmly in their hands, what can Chelsea fans expect next season? A challenge for the Premier League title will definitely be on the cards now confidence is boosted at Stamford Bridge and an attempt to take the F.A Cup and Carling Cup will not be far behind. Most importantly, a defence of the Champions League will begin in September and by then, new signings will have made themselves feel at home. Whether they will be under the guidance of the successful Roberto Di Matteo remains to be seen.
No matter who the man in charge is, there is no doubt Chelsea will have one year to look forward to next season. And with these following signings, it can only get better.
Eden Hazard – 21 years old – Undisclosed Fee (Reported £32m)
In what is a simply outstanding signing, reports all over the world, including his very own Twitter account, started the claim that Eden Hazard has agreed to sign for Chelsea. Now confirmed, not only have the Blues captured a highly prospective player, they have also beaten the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United to land the 21-year-old. What’s so impressive about the Lille star is the fact that from playing as a winger, Hazard has scored twenty goals in thirty-eight league games, including fifteen assists. He was the third top scorer in Ligue 1, falling short by one goal.
The Belgium international has already stated his passion to play in England and knows he must keep his feet on the ground in order to fulfil his great potential. Coming from his boyhood club, Hazard may feel the roughness of the English Premier League that has hit many players hard. Despite his ability, there will always be the adaptation period of playing in a different country with a different environment but with France being so close to England, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Alongside Juan Mata, Florent Malouda and Salomon Kalou, Chelsea have another high-quality winger to add to their squad. With Kalou set to exit, this could provide a better, younger alternative for the Blues. Not to mention, the next signing.
Marko Marin – 23 years old – Undisclosed Fee (Reported £6m)
When Marko Marin signed for Chelsea, he claimed his new club could win the Champions League and was glad his prediction was correct. His time at Werder Bremen didn’t give him the opportunity to even come close to winning a trophy so valued so a move away to England seemed the likely result. The former Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder was a sensation at the age of seventeen; making a real name for himself in Germany. On the fringes of the German international team, his move to Werder Bremen made him a high-profile player with many fans knowing it was only a matter of time before he became a worldwide sensation. But something was always missing.
Naturally a winger, Mesut Özil’s departure to Real Madrid meant Marin became an attacking midfielder, a position where manager Thomas Schaaf felt he would flourish. With only four goals in fifty-five games, it didn’t seem to work out. Not only was he not performing well enough this season, his history of injuries meant he couldn’t start as many games. Now at Chelsea, the 5ft 7in midfielder will be hoping to re-capture his once-appreciated form that made him a recognisable wonder-kid. With Hazard’s signing, Marin will have to be on his toes to land a starting eleven spot but with some departures pending, he could be starting sooner rather than later.
At just £6m, the pressure will be off for the German, who will be hoping a fresh start will help include him in the German international squad. Chelsea fans can expect wing wizardry from a man eager to be back to his best.
Hulk – 25 years old – Estimated £35m
Givanildo Vieira de Souza, better known as Hulk, is next in line to be enticed to the West London club and will mark an outstanding piece of business if the deal goes through. Growing from a winger to a striker, Hulk has always managed to find the back of the net and with Didier Drogba being released; the 25-year-old could be the perfect replacement. Strong in the air and able to take players on, Hulk is capable of becoming the next Brazilian gem for many years to come.
An experienced player, the 5ft 11in giant managed to get the first of his two international goals against Denmark last week, capping off a successful title-winning season with Porto. In twenty-six league games, Hulk bagged sixteen goals and eleven assists in Liga Zon Sagres, helping his side lift the trophy. The season before he got a sensational twenty-three goals in twenty-six games. With Fernando Torres struggling for form and seemingly ineffective upfront alone, the Brazilian can provide much-needed assistance for the Spaniard.
The only problem the English Premier League poses for Hulk is the fact that most Brazilian players have always found it difficult to succeed. Take Manchester United’s Anderson, Rafael and Fabio, Arsenal’s Denilson and even Tottenham’s Gomes. Yet David Luiz, who has adapted well to the league, is a beacon of hope and judging by Hulk’s character, it won’t be tough for both Brazilians to create good form next season.
Luka Modrić – 26 years old – Estimated £40m
In what was supposed to be the signing of last summer, Tottenham Hotspur star Luka Modrić was forced to stay at White Hart Lane, meaning a £40m deal was scuppered. Spurs’ chairman, Daniel Levy was adamant Modrić would stay for at least another season. The Lilywhites finished fourth but ultimately lost out on a Champions League place due to Chelsea’s triumph in the final, meaning Harry Redknapp’s side only qualified for the Europa League. Another season in Europe’s second-best competition is not something the Croatian international would enjoy and after Euro 2012, surely his mind will be focused playing in the best competitions. And that’s where Chelsea come in.
Having already shown they have the capability of winning the Champions League, Luka Modrić will be enticed to collect a winner’s medal of his own, something Tottenham haven’t managed to give him in nineteen years, bar the Carling Cup. Already an established Premier League player, Modrić will simply be the icing on the cake if transferred this summer. The creativity, vision and ability to use both feet will be extremely useful in the middle of the park considering Frank Lampard’s decline over the next few seasons.
Whether Levy & co will finally give in remains to be seen but with the promise of a title challenge and Champions League football, many can forgive Modrić for sealing the deal.
Other options include Tottenham’s Gareth Bale, Atlético Madrid’s Falcao, Napoli’s Edinson Cavani, Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuaín, Marseille’s Cesar Azpilicueta, Ajax’s Gregory van der Wiel and Sao Paulo’s Lucas.
Chelsea have won absolutely everything an English club can possibly win and will be hoping to taste the glory of major trophies on a consistent basis. With talisman Didier Drogba’s departure from Stamford Bridge, a suitable replacement is essential. Fans will be hoping Hulk, Falcao or Cavani will fill the Ivorian’s boots and with Hazard, Torres and Marin by their side, Chelsea could be a destructive force in the Premier League. Not only will the focus be on the league but also in Europe, where no team has managed to defend their Champions League crown since its structural change in 1992. With these signings and the preservation of Roberto Di Matteo, fans can envision a hugely successful season.
Are Chelsea building a squad for a serious tilt at the Premier League next season? If you think so, why not have a cheeky punt with Bet at Home!
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