Thursday August 2, 2012 at 4:10pm
Whether it’s the Olympics, all the pre-season tours, a desire to leave things later in the window or perhaps even the recession hitting football (unlikely given the millions in TV money that continue to slosh around the game) is unclear, but whatever the reason for it, its been a quiet transfer window thus far.
Yes nearly every club has signed at least one player (oddly perhaps, the only ones that haven’t signed anyone at all are Manchester City) but there haven’t, as of yet, been that many deals that make you sit up and go “wow!”
There are exceptions of course. Arsenal have bought a couple of forwards (you assume to prepare for the imminent departure of Rabin Van Persie) but the real place that has been splashing the cash has been down in the south of London.
Roman Abramovich seems to re have-discovered his cheque book and whoever is in charge of buying players down at Stamford Bridge has busily doing their work.
But in doing so it has raised the question of just how top clubs buy players and whether there is any real plan to it.
A quick look at the players the Blues have signed recently gives an insight into this. They spent £25m on young Brazilian Oscar, £32m on young Belgian Eden Hazard and £7m each on Kevin De Bruyne and Marko Marin. That’s about £70m on a load of young midfielders.
When you add these to the likes of Mata and Meireles, both signed in the last 12 months, and factor in Ramires and Lampard, that is a pretty quality midfield squad to select from.
Of course, its easy to say that you can never have too many quality players and indeed, that might be true to a certain extent, but the fitting those players into the team might present Roberto Di Matteo its own problems.
For one thing, how on earth does he keep these players happy? You would assume that promises have been made to the likes of Hazard in particular. You will remember that the transfer saga that took him to London rather than Manchester was a protracted one that was rather played out in the media, but the fact that Chelsea were able to beat their rivals to the signature of such a sought after player must mean surely they have promised a regular starting berth?
If they didn’t The Blues might do well to remember what happened last season with another young, highly rated Belgian. Romelu Lukaku was signed around this time last year for £18m, but he made just three starts for his new club.
Chelsea tried to loan him to Stoke last summer, but the deal was scuppered because of rules governing the amount of clubs you can play for in a transfer window. There are rumours again linking him with a season long loan, this time to Fulham and the intervening period Lukaku has made no secret of his displeasure with life not in the team. Claiming he “didn’t feel part of the Champions League win” and refusing to touch the cup or celebrate the victory.
Of course all those players Chelsea have signed might all come good and Lukaku might be the new Drogba, as was claimed last year, but there is always a suspicion that some of these players will end up the same as so many young players signed by clubs in the past – unable to get a regular place and end up leaving for cut-price fees and trying to re-build their careers.
It’s all very well for these teams to purchase player after player and build massive squads, but perhaps the powers that be at these clubs need to have a little more clear thinking when it comes to transfer policies.