There have been reports surfacing in the last few days about Chelsea re-entering the race for Napoli’s Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani, 25, but considering the price tag of around £35 million I dont think he would represent a good signing. The main reason is that it is finally starting to feel like Fernando Torres may be starting to hit some form, and knowing that he is the number one option up front will surely be a massive factor in him having a good season or not. He was always in the shadow of Didier Drogba at the club and never really had a extensive run of games to prove himself. If Chelsea do sign another big name striker – step up Cavani – I think it will still be the same old Fernando Torres. Daniel Sturridge should be a more than adequate back up for Torres and it should also see 19-year-old Belgian Romelu Lukaku get an increased amount of game time.
It seems that manager Roberto Di Matteo will be sticking to his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation which served him so well at the back end of last season, although this year it will have a increased attacking flavour. New signings Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Kevin De Bruyne already indicate this offensive view with Brazilian midfielder Oscar also nearing closer to a shift to Stamford Bridge. With a solid back four of John Terry, Ashley Cole, Branislav Ivanovic and one of either David Luiz and Gary Cahill, with Petr Cech in goal, it’s the front 6 that are less obvious. John Mikel Obi should fill the required holding position with Frank Lampard alongside him. Juan Mata and Eden Hazard will interchange between the left wing and in the hole, with Ramires probably being the best option at the moment on the right and Torres up front, using on currently confirmed signings.
Aside from Hazard, it doesn’t appear a whole lot different to last season’s bus parking. For me, a right winger is a much higher priority than a striker because Ramires doesn’t really fit the new tactics because of his technical flaws. Oscar could play there although it wouldn’t be his prefered position, and it would be a risk considering his vast inexperience. Hulk still appears to be the best option, as he contrasts brilliantly with Mata and Hazard who are less direct, and he offers some much needed firepower and brute strength. Although that deal was in the same position as Oscar’s is at the moment, it appears to have stalled. Theo Walcott is a cheaper option and relatively safe but only offers a extreme amount of pace but little more, although his technical ability is superior to Ramires’. Another option who would fit the new mentality would be the returning Yossi Benayoun.
The other priority is at right-back. Branislav Ivanovic is a very good option but he has said he would rather play in the middle. The only other options are youngsters Sam Hutchinson and Todd Kane, both vastly inexperienced with Hutchinson having played only a handful of games for the first team and Kane not having made his debut. Maicon has been touted and although he fits the new attacking mentality, he will be turning 31 this season and there is also a focus on buying younger players. Cesar Azpilicueta of Marseille has been being looked at for some time and the Spanish Olympic international has alot of potential for the future. There are not a lot of options from within England so Chelsea will have to look abroad for a new right back.
Chelsea play their first pre-season game against MLS side Seattle Sounders on early Thursday morning and we should see some of Chelsea new signings in action, as well as a look a some tactical options. However don’t expect and certainly don’t hope that it will the same Chelsea squad on September 1.