After just over a year at Chelsea, Yuri Zhirkov is supposedly considering his future due to the lack of games he has been given. The only time he had a regular run in the team was when Ashley Cole broke his ankle at Goodison Park, and most of the remaining season was sidelined. So will the club’s latest big money acquisition, the wire-limbed Ramires, suffer the same fate?
In the case of Zhirkov, it is very difficult to attain whether it was actually he that complained about his situation. He has publicly quashed any rumours about a potential move away, but he knows that he would be a first team regular at a lot of other big clubs. As it stands, the Russian is reduced to substitute appearances and Cup games.
The situation could be a similar one for Ramires. He is currently starting games in Ancelotti’s midfield three with Essien and Mikel, but will almost certainly make way for Frank Lampard when he returns from injury. It is an almost identical situation that Zhirkov found himself in when filling in for Ashley Cole.
So far in his Chelsea career the Brazilian has equipped himself well. His nationality makes him obviously comfortable on the ball, and he has an attacking intent that his current teammates in the middle may lack (although both Essien and Mikel have been more aggressive this season thus far). Against Man City he struggled, and got beaten up (not in the Ben Arfa sense of the word) by Nigel De Jong, who dominated the midfield that day. He recovered well to put in a much stronger performance against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge last Sunday, and created the first goal.
Ordinarily, when a player is given a run in a team and performs well, it is enough to keep that place. Trying to picture Frank Lampard not walking straight back into the team however, is bordering on the surreal. At 23, Ramires is a player for the future as well as the present, but neither Essien nor Mikel are pensioners, and Lampard will be around for a few more years at least. For someone of Ramires’ ability it may not be the ideal situation to hang around; eventually a player will want to move on, just like Joe Cole did. But for every Cole, there is a Kalou: a player who has forever been on the fringes, but still picks up around thirty games a season, and becomes an important part of the squad.
What Ramires has going for him is that if any of the first choice midfielders are unavailable, regardless of which one it is, he will be the next choice, because the players in question are adaptable enough to shift roles. It is far too soon to question whether Ramires has made the right decision in moving to Chelsea. Since recovering from an early injury, he has featured in every game for his new club, but this may be down to the fact that as well as Lampard, Yossi Benayoun is also unavailable.
It may be a case of ‘wait and see’ for Ramires. It has been an encouraging start so far, and it is important to remember that Chelsea is still a step up for the player, and that he has just made the biggest move of his career. He should have confidence in his own ability, but he must also be aware that you can simply waltz into the team at a club as good as Chelsea. I am certain he will play a big part in Chelsea’s season, and in their future.
Get updates on my articles by following me on twitter.