Beaten by a superior side in Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan, this has been hailed in the media as a watershed moment for the aging legs of Chelsea. This argument has merit but it is still salvageable for Chelsea to maintain their credentials as European heavyweights and it must start this summer. If they leave it any longer they could end up looking like Milan did against Manchester United only last week. Old, tired and just not good enough. It was an embarrassment to a team that have supplied us with some wonderful football throughout the years. That game in itself should have been a warning to Chelsea. The loss to Inter could not make it any clearer.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is going to have to dip into his exceedingly large pockets to bring in some fresh legs this summer. Sergio Aguero looks to be a dead cert to arrive at Stamford Bridge and that is exactly the signing Chelsea need. A youthful crowd pleaser who will inject some energy into a strong bullying Chelsea side. Where I disagree with many journalists who seem to believe Chelsea are over as a European force is that major surgery is not required if they start now. Milan requires basically six or seven new first team players this summer. That is major surgery. This is because they let it slide for far too long. I myself follow Serie A and season upon season have struggled to understand why Milan did not sign younger players. The signing of young Brazilian Alexandre Pato was too little too late.
Now Chelsea is not in the same position as Milan, they have more time. Getting sentimental about players like Milan did and keeping them on will make you embarrassments like Milan are. It’s time to freshen things up. By doing something in increments now Chelsea can avoid this. Two key note signings of players under 24 per summer over the next two to three years that are carefully planned could make this a smooth transition for Chelsea. Much was made of Chelsea’s aging midfield following the Inter game; everyone seems to have forgotten about a certain Michael Essien who personally I can’t praise enough. A World Class midfielder and how Chelsea have missed him dearly.
This will be a transition period for Chelsea that there is no doubt, but it does not have to be rocky, it does not have to be wholesale changes, it can be done slowly and blended with the experience already at Stamford Bridge. But recognition by Carlo Ancelotti this summer that it must begin has to happen. If he does what he did at Milan and bury his head in the sand and keep playing 34 year olds he has grossly misunderstood the English game. He played a clever trick leaving Milan when he did, he knew that side had gone and left before they disgraced themselves leaving Leonardo to look a fool. Chelsea are still a force to be reckoned with and will be amongst the favourites next season for the Champions League, but they need to begin the moulding of a new side. Sir Alex Ferguson has built five, maybe six new squads during his time at Manchester United, its time Chelsea built their post Mourinho one.
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