Over the summer, the main subject of Chelsea Football Club’s rumours have been linked to Luka Modrić and various other midfielders, such as Samir Nasri, Scott Parker, Eden Hazard and Javier Pastore to name a few. The general consensus is that Chelsea need a midfielder to create, but do they?
Looking at their current squad, it wouldn’t seem as if they do. The first team boasts many midfielders already; Florent Malouda, John Obi Mikel, Yossi Benayoun, Frank Lampard, Ramires and Michael Essien, although he’s out until the new year.
Adding to that, the addition of Valencia’s Juan Mata is the ‘cherry on top’. We now have a midfield to rival anyone and the Spaniard should add a huge amount of creativity and general quality to the side.
When Essien’s back at full fitness, which hopefully will happen, he is unstoppable. Nicknamed ‘the Bison’ for his strength, his other qualities include simple passes to build up play, box-to-box running and the ability to score some cracking goals.
Ramires, since Christmas, has really started to prove his worth with tough tackling, strength and stamina. He’s also been making his way through defences with some mazy runs too.
Mikel, although not a play-maker, is another top midfielder, with tackling capabilities and the ability to keep a cool head, as he has shown recently, making himself available for Chelsea despite the recent kidnapping of his father. Many players ‘heads wouldn’t be in the right place’ after that.
Malouda, who is usually a winger can operate as a midfielder too. Top scorer for The Blues last season, and also having an ability to assist. His form varies throughout the season however, and many think this could be his last season at the club. Arsenal are linked with a deadline day move.
There’s also Yossi Benayoun, who in pre-season, has looked like he has a point to prove after missing most of last season due to a ruptured achilles that he suffered last September. Many believe he is the key to Fernando Torres’ form, and it’ll be interesting to see how much game time he gets this season. However, at 31, his time at Stamford Bridge may be limited. Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool are linked with him.
Frank Lampard. Before last season, he had scored 20 goals or more for both club and country for the seven seasons previous to it. Even last season he still managed 15 goals. A slow start to pre-season, but if he can recreate the form of any of the past eight seasons Chelsea will be on for their fourth Premier League title, though as with Benayoun, time isn’t on his side.
But then there are two players who have plenty of time on their side – Josh McEachran and Gaël Kakuta. McEachran looks the more promising of the two, but if Kakuta can fulfill his early promise, he’ll be one for the future too.
There are also reserve players who are yet to break into the first team. Conor Clifford, whose form whilst on loan at Plymouth Argyle and Notts County earned him a call-up for the Republic Of Ireland. Jacob Mellis, has made one appearance for Chelsea, though has since been on loan to Barnsley and has a contract with the club until 2013. Two players featured in the pre-season friendly against Wycombe Wanderers, Billy Clifford and attacking midfielder Aliu Djalo. Both could be important in the future.
Nathaniel Chalobah, who is only 16, has a future ahead of him at Chelsea or so it seems. He was part of the pre-season tour in the far-east, and many think he’ll be included at points within the first team this season. He is primarily a defender, but can play in midfield too.
Then there’s also academy players. Reece Loudon, a left midfielder, Ali Gordon, a defender/holding midfielder, Archange Nkumu who is a holding midfielder, George Saville, Nathan Ake, James Ashton, Amin Affane, Anjur Osmanovic, Buomesca Na Banga or John Swift could be part of Chelsea’s midfield future between five and ten years, maybe less.
With Juan Mata being a Chelsea player too, and the possible addition of Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard, along with the Modrić rumours not going anywhere fast, Chelsea’s midfield future has the possibility of being a bright one – even if Benayoun and Malouda depart the club. The youth players are reaching the latter stages of the cups now, and what many fans want to see is young players eased into the team throughout the season. This is more likely to happen if Chelsea are playing well, but with a few hours left of the summer transfer window I wouldn’t doubt at least one more signing to strengthen the midfield for the near future anyway.
By Callum Maclean – Chelsea fan – @callummaclean91