A summer clear-out is likely to include the Portuguese speaking contingent of Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira, Deco and Juliano Belletti, whilst the futures of England midfielder Joe Cole and Germany’s Michael Ballack (who are both out of contract this summer) remain undecided.
Blues defender Carvalho is the only one who is likely to have any resale value as he has been linked with Real Madrid and last season a move to Inter Milan looked close, but he opted to stay at Stamford Bridge. Considering the improvements of centre-backs Alex and Branislav Ivanovic, it is likely that the former Porto player will be relegated down the pecking order and may seek a move for first team football. The club rate Carvalho at £10m and if Jose Mourinho ends up taking charge of Los Blancos at the Santiago Bernabeu he may want to bring in his trusted former defensive stalwart.
Ron Gourlay, Chelsea chief executive, stated that in an ideal world the summer’s transfers would be funded by sales, but Deco, Belletti and Ferreira could all leave for nothing. Brazilian born Deco has a year left to run on his current deal, but will be allowed to leave for free if he wished to return to his native Brazil, he could be followed by Belletti, who is out of contract in the summer and has stated a wish to return home. With Jose Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Ashley Cole, Yuri Zhirkov and several promising young players have stacked up the fullback position and it is thought Ferreira will be released.
If the aforementioned (excluding Carvalho) are released for free the club cut down on their wage budget (which has become a bit of a joke) if nothing else.
More interestingly the cases on Joe Cole and Ballack remain wide open and many fans will be keeping a close eye on what happens with the pair (especially the former) in the summer transfer window.
Joe Cole, 28, is a fans favourite in west London and many would be upset to see him go after attracting interest from Tottenham, Manchester United and Liverpool to name a few. However, some argue that the player’s wage demands of over £100k-a-week (allegedly) are too high. It would not be unreasonable to suggest that he simply does not warrant such wages as he has been fairly injury prone in recent season and has struggled to make an impact this term. Personally I’m torn over the whole Cole saga and if it was to the benefit of the club he should definitely go, but I say that with a heavy heart.
Germany captain Ballack could potentially leave Stamford Bridge (which really would lower the wages) unless he signs a new deal which is likely to be half of his current £120k-a-week deal. The 33-year-old has been part of a long league season and still has a World Cup campaign to come before next season, with not much of a break in between would it be wise in keeping hold of an ageing player if he is so tired? Not really, but if he takes a pay cut, takes a back step and helps his natural replacement Nemanja Matic develop then he will remain a useful squad member.
Chelsea will no doubt have made plans to fill any potential void as they plan to give more chances to their promising young player like Matic, Gael Kakuta, Jeffrey Bruma, Patrick van Aanholt, Sam Hutchinson and Fabio Borini. But they will also try to bolster their ranks from outside sources with Sergio Aguero, Rafael van der Vaart, Fernando Torres, Pablo Hernandez, Angel Di Maria etc all being linked with moves to west London in recent months.
For now their focus is on winning Saturday’s FA Cup final against former Chelsea boss Avram Grant and his Portsmouth side. Should they win the cup they will achieve an historic double for the club as they’ve never achieved it in their previous history and it would be a perfect way for a few players to bow out of their careers at Chelsea.
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