Roman Abramovich spent over £70 million in January to bring both Fernando Torres and David Luiz to Chelsea, which has led many to believe that we may see more of an overhaul at the club in the summer with players like Neymar, Alexis Sanchez, Javier Pastore, Wesley Sneijder, Gregory van der Wiel and Romelu Lukaku, linked with a move to west London.
But if there are to be a few arrivals, then there must surely be departures. Here are five players who could be set for the Stamford Bridge exit doors this summer…
1. Henrique Hilario: Some of you may have forgotten that the 35-year-old goalkeeper is still alive, but he’s alive and kicking, and currently wasting a spot in our squad quota – which could and should be filled by someone better, someone who you don’t have to watch play through your fingers.
Perhaps I’m being a little mean to Hilario here. He has had his moments in a Chelsea shirt and as a mainly third choice keeper over the years he hasn’t done too badly. But Ross Turnbull is also what you would deem a ‘3rd choice keeper’ and he’s home-grown and younger. Would like to see us bring in someone who will give Petr Cech something to think about as well as being suitable backup for him.
2. Yury Zhirkov: I actually think Zhirkov is a good player, probably the most natural and pacey winger in a squad that is essentially lacking wide men, so why let this one leave the club?
Well, unfortunately the Russian’s Chelsea career has been hampered by injuries, managers are not sure where to play him (his versatility is his enemy here) and he has failed to make his mark for reasons such as these.
Zhirkov’s fitness may always remain a worry and this may be a good enough reason alone to sell the player, but considering that he is still of high quality and at 27 he’s hardly an old man, he should still command a decent fee – which could be an important issue as we have one eye on the new UEFA spending guidelines. (I would have preferred to put Paulo Ferreira in this spot, but it looks as though he’ll be one of those players who will be perfectly happy to see out his contract at the club.)
3. Jose Bosingwa: The Portuguese right-back has found life tough at Chelsea since suffering a long-term injury and missing out most of the double-winning campaign. One of the reasons Bosingwa has struggled to find his feet is because he has slipped down the pecking order behind Branislav Ivanovic, who recently signed a deal to extend his stay at the club and has arguably been one of (if not the) most consistent performer at Chelsea over the past year.
Bosingwa, 28, has recently been linked with Juventus, but they are unlikely to pay a £10m asking price, so Chelsea may have to lower the fee for a player who still has question marks over his fitness. Bayern Munich and AC Milan have also previously shown interest in him.
4. Florent Malouda: The Frenchman failed to make much of an impact during the season and a half in a blue shirt, but after the arrival of Guus Hiddink, the player seemed to turn a corner and improved even further the following season when his 15 goals helped the club on their way to their first ever Premier League and FA Cup double. He started the current campaign in good form and already has 10 goals to his name.
However, the goals started to dry up during the winter months and Malouda has failed to show his best form since. But his form is not the reason I think he could leave Chelsea this summer, it’s his age as he turns 31 this June and although he has done magnificently over the past few seasons, he may be sold whist he has some resale value.
5. Didier Drogba: This one will likely divide opinion as the Ivorian forward is currently Chelsea’s sixth all-time top goal scorer with 142 goals and has enjoyed a fruitful career in west London, winning three Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two Carling Cup and two Community Shields…and hopefully he can add the missing piece and pick up a Champions League winners medal at Wembley this May.
But I personally think it’s time to thank Drogba for what he has done for Chelsea and send him on his way. The Ivory Coast man is getting on in years now at 33-years-old and it could well be the right time for a parting of the ways. Many will say that he should be kept around, but if you’re going to persevere with new man Torres, have plans on bringing in a Neymar and want to give Daniel Sturridge more opportunities, then you have to let Drogba go.
When I have spoken about a potential Drogba departure before, some people have suggested they would like to keep him around as a ‘squad player’ and that the younger players can still learn from him. I have no doubts that young players could benefit from his experience, but you cannot put a £120,000-a-week player on the bench and I’m not sure he would be too thrilled about it either. We have had the best of him, so perhaps it’s best that he sees out his playing days elsewhere.
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