Chelsea FC has had the most surreal year in club history. Out of the EPL title race in the middle of the season, the Blues put all their might behind their FA Cup and Champions League campaigns. After the dismissal of coach Andre Villas Boas and the promotion of Assistant Coach Roberto Di Matteo to interim manager, Chelsea refocused themselves and captured glory in both competitions.
Chelsea’s back was up against the wall in the Champions League final as they traveled to Munich, Germany to take on Bayern Munich in their home stadium. After the epic victory in a shootout, Chelsea not only clinched Champions League play for next year but ensured themselves a financial windfall of close to $250 million once TV and advertising contractual obligations are paid out.
This allows owner and Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich added leeway in pursuing transfers in the off-season and he has reportedly already made three (one official, two soon-to-be completed) huge signings that will bolster the ranks as Chelsea will try to repeat their heroics from this season and better compete inside the Premier League next season. Let’s take a look at the three men that are being brought in to supply some of the attacking football that Abramovich craves.
Marko Marin- Winger- 23 yrs. old- Werder Bremen (German Bundesliga)- $10-11 million transfer fee
The small, but pace filled winger has been seen as an underachiever by some in the Bundesliga (5 assists this season), but he provides the creativity that has been sorely lacking on Chelsea’s wings for the last two seasons. He is known for his service into the box from the wings and that is something Chelsea has been missing as striker’s Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres begged for more balls to be sent into the 18-yard box from the sideline areas. Chelsea only had to pay between $10-11 million for his services, a cut rate for a player of his potential. This deal is signed, sealed and delivered as Marin was introduced by the club a couple of weeks ago. This is a low risk, high reward transfer for the Blues. In my opinion, it is worth the attempt to try to resuscitate this young winger, who before this year, averaged more than 10 assists a year in the Bundesliga.
Eden Hazard- Attacking Midfielder- 21 yrs. old- Lille (Ligue 1- France)- $48-50 million transfer fee
The Belgian dynamo is a magnificent young talent who was considered by many to be the best player in all of Ligue 1. Hazard is quick, tough to dispossess, great at free/spot kicks and crafty with his passing. This is just the type of player that Chelsea need to unlock the potential scoring genius that Fernando Torres possesses. Torres will be thanking his luck that he now has Juan Mata and Eden Hazard to help unlock the midfield and send him through balls putting him in on goal. An accomplished player at such a young age at both the club and national level, Hazard represents a new emphasis that Chelsea is placing on young playmakers. He scored 20 goals and had 15 assists for Lille leading them to a 3rd place finish in Ligue 1 last year. Hazard chose Chelsea over Manchester United and Manchester City, a coup for the Champions League winners moving into next season.
Hulk (Givanildo Vieira de Souza)- Striker- 25 yrs. old- FC Porto (SuperLiga-Portugal)- $58-60 million transfer fee
Barring any unforeseen drama as they negotiate personal terms, The “Incredible” Hulk will be joining Chelsea in the near future. He is a physical force with the ability to score with either foot that will provide the Blues with some added punch up front. Hulk can play alone up top in a one-striker formation or on the right side/right wing in a two striker formation. This is something that I am sure that the new manager will have to look at very seriously. In 2010-2011, he bagged 28 goals in 40 games (courtesy of ESPN.com) for Porto unleashing thunderbolts with either foot. This past season, he scored 20 goals in 33 games ( courtesy of ESPN.com) leading Porto in the Champions and Europa League competitions. If Chelsea pairs him with Torres, Sturridge or Lukaku, it will give them a devastating duo that will be tough to contend with.
There are others that Chelsea have been linked to in this offseason and I don’t expect Chelsea to be done. Brazilian teenage sensation Lucas Moura (Sao Paulo), Dutch defender Gregory Van Der Wiel (Ajax) and Belgian attacking midfielder Moussa Dembele (Fulham) are those that have been mentioned in transfer rumors. I expect Van Der Wiel to be signed before the end of the summer.
Moura is the one I want the most. He is dazzling with the ball, lightning quick, got deft touch and a finisher’s attitude. He would be devastating in the Chelsea midfield alongside Mata, Hazard and Ramires. While Sao Paulo has refused to sell him and Moura is unsure if a transfer from his home country to a team in England is what he wants, expect Abramovich to keep trying to secure his services for the future.
Chelsea’s task is to now settle on a manager for the long term. Abramovich has played musical managers over the last 8 seasons (7 different managers) and some continuity is necessary for Chelsea to achieve the maximum out of all of the talent Abramovich has signed. We will explore Abramovich’s options for the new coach in my next blog later this week.
About the Author
Written by Michael Jenkins
I was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ. Graduated from THE University of Arizona. I now reside part time in San Francisco, CA. I am a diehard Phoenix Coyotes fan (season ticket holder since Day 1) and a diehard Chelsea FC fan. I am passionate, energetic and highly grateful to get the opportunity to work in this business again.