Transfer dealings at Stamford Bridge

This transfer window has been a relatively low-key affair for Chelsea with chairman Roman Abramovich reigning in the extravagant spending that characterised his early reign at the club. Carlo Ancelotti has brought in only a handful of players this transfer window while letting some of our more experienced campaigners leave the club. Here we’ll take a look at how I think Carlo did in his dealings in this summer’s transfer window.

Players In

Yossi Benayoun- midfielder, Liverpool, £5million

Chelsea’s first signing this season was former Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun. The Israeli captain is a tricky customer with quick feet and an eye for a pass who was largely underappreciated by Rafa Benitez during his time at Liverpool. Benayoun has found himself on the bench for each of Chelsea’s opening 3 fixtures in the Premier League but Benayoun proved his potential worth to the team by coming off the bench and scoring in Chelsea’s 6-0 victory against Wigan.

Benayoun certainly has the experience and the quality to add something different to Chelsea’s midfield when he comes on but he needs to be patient and continue to impress when his opportunity comes along.

Verdict: Good signing

Tomas Kalac- defender, Sigma Olomouc, £5.2 million

Not much is known about Chelsea’s second signing of the summer, 17 year old Czech defender Tomas Kalac. Chelsea reportedly managed to beat off competition from the likes of Arsenal, AC Milan and Beyer Leverkusen for his signature so the defender comes to Stamford Bridge as a highly regarded prospect.

Kalac has been described by Chelsea academy manager Neil Bath as a versatile player who is a right sided centre-back by trade but equally adept at right back. He is “very athletic and quick” which is undoubtedly a plus in today’s modern game and a “good one-on-one defender” while also being “comfortable on the ball”. All in all, a glowing reference for the Czech youngster.

To aid his development, Kalac will remain at Olomouc on loan for the duration of this season and join Chelsea next year.

It will be fascinating to see how Kalac develops. It is a good idea for him to stay on with Olomouc where he can gain more first team experience before he makes the switch to the Bridge. It will also give us a greater idea of what kind of player Kalac really is and if he can realistically cut the mustard at this level.

For Carlo Ancelotti to spend in excess of £5 million on a 17 year old must mean that he is a player with potential. He has only featured once for the Olomouc first team but played in the UEFA U-17 Championship in Liechtenstein where the Czech Republic failed to get out of the group stage. His performances in the tournament were sufficiently impressive for the Chelsea hierarchy to offer Kalac a deal with the club but only time will tell whether he will prove to be a good acquisition.

Verdict: Unsure

Ramires- midfielder, Benfica, £18.2 million

Chelsea completed their biggest signing of the summer when the secured the signature of Brazilian World Cup star Ramires. The former Benfica midfielder impressed in South Africa in Brazil’s midfield and Chelsea fans will be relishing seeing the ‘Blue Kenyan’ in action.

He earned his bizarre nickname at playing at Cruzeiro, due to his tireless midfield displays and the nickname has stuck with him ever since. He is primarily a box-to-box midfielder with great energy, similar in style to Michael Essien who Ramires replaced against MStoke on Saturday to mark his Chelsea debut.

At 23 years old, Ramires is young enough and talented enough to become one of the very best midfielders in the world and is looking like he could be a good piece of business for the club.

Verdict: Good signing.

Continued on Page TWO

Matej Delac- goalkeeper, Inter Zapresic, £2.7 million

Chelsea are in desperate need of a goalkeeper to rival Petr Cech and in Matej Delac, they might just have found him.

Croatian goalkeeper Matej Delac joins the club from Croatian side Inter Zapresic where the youngster had already established himself as the first choice goalkeeper. Delac became the youngest player ever to play in the Croatian First Division when he made his debut in February 2009 at only 16 years old. He crowned his record breaking achievement with a fine penalty save which ultimately preserved Inter’s lead and gained the debutant shot stopper man of the match honours.

His impressive debut performance cemented Delac’s position as first choice goalkeeper and he made 15 appearances in the 2008-2009 season.

His form for Inter sparked interest from Chelsea who sealed a deal for the young goalkeeper in September of last year. Delac remained on loan to Inter until the end of last season and has since gone on loan to Dutch feeder team Vitesse for the rest of this season.

Delac has become known as an excellent shotstopper. Here’s a video of the Croat in action for Inter:

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As can be seen from the video, Delac has all the tools to be a fantastic goalkeeper. He has the height, quick reflexes and anticipation that have made him such a good shot stopper. What the video doesn’t tell us is his ability to deal with crosses and how he commands his penalty area. However, these are things that can be worked on as he develops for life in the Premier League in the not too distant future.

Verdict: Good signing.

Players Out

Joe Cole- midfielder, Liverpool, free

As much as it pains me to say it, releasing Joe Cole is probably for the best for Chelsea. I have always been a big fan of Cole but since coming back from injury, he seemed to be forcing things and trying too hard to make things happen. Cole has always been a mercurial talent and when he gets it right, he is a joy to behold (his backheel goal against United for example) but more often than not, he found himself on the periphery of games when he did get a run out.

Joe’s time at Chelsea will be warmly remembered by many Chelsea fans but it was time for him to move on and I hope he can be a success at Liverpool.

Verdict: Good decision

Michael Ballack- midfielder, Bayer Leverkusen, free

In my opinion, releasing Michael Ballck was a mistake. He brings a wealth of experience to the side and was a quiet revelation in the holding role last season when Essien was injured. Sure, Ballack somewhat failed to live up to his world-class billing in his time at the Bridge but he was a consistent performer for us and no doubt served as a role model and mentor for some of the younger players in the squad. I understand the concerns about needed to trim the wage bill so in some sense, his exit was justified but I still believe he have contributed this season for Chelsea.

Verdict: Bad decision.

Continued on Page THREE

Juliano Belletti- defender, Fluminense, free

Since joining from Barcelona in 2007, Belletti has been a useful squad player for us and will be remembered most fondly by Chelsea fans for his long range goals. He was a model professional in his time with the club but Ancelotti decided not to renew the Brazilian’s contract in an attempt to freshen up the team and reduce the average age of the squad.

Verdict: Good decision

Miroslav Stoch- midfielder, Fenerbahce, £4.95 million

Stoch had been highly rated at Chelsea but found first team opportunities hard to come by. He appeared 5 times for Chelsea in 4 years at the club but never really looked like becoming a first team regular. He spent last season on loan at Steve McClaren’s FC Twente, where the Slovakian was instrumental in bringing the Eredivisie crown to Enschende for the first time in club history.

He capped his season with an impressive display in South Africa with the Slovakian national side as they reached the second round of the World Cup.

With Stoch’s stock rapidly rising and the unlikelihood that he would be a first team player, Ancelotti decided that it would be best to sell Stoch and Turkish giants Fenerbahce were eager to oblige. The move allows Stoch to play more regularly than he would at Chelsea so it represents a good deal all round.

Verdict- Good decision.

Deco- midfielder, Fluminense, undisclosed

Like Belletti, Deco has decided to leave Chelsea and return to his native Brazil to play for Fluminense. Despite a blistering start to his Chelsea career, Deco has failed the lofty heights of his Porto and Barcelona days so his decision to leave the club will not be a huge problem for Chelsea going foward.

Verdict- Good decision.

Scott Sinclair- forward, Swansea City, £500,000

Unfortunately for Sinclair, it never quite worked out for him at Stamford Bridge. He came to the club with huge promise but failed to live up to the expectation. He found himself frequently on loan during his time at the club and decided that it was in his best interests to leave Chelsea for the Championship with Swansea City. It seems he has made the right decision as Sinclair has been impressive for the Swans, featuring 4 times so far for Brendan Rogers and scoring twice.

Ricardo Carvalho- defender, Real Madrid, £6.7 million

Of all the players to leave Stamford Bridge, Carvalho’s departure is the one that will impact the team the most. With Branislav Ivanovic out for up to 6 weeks with a back injury and Michael Mancienne on loan at Wolves, cover at centre-back is looking decidedly thin.

Carvalho was a rock in Chelsea’s defence, forming arguably the most formidable centre-back partnerships in recent years. Alas, Chelsea were unable to keep Carvalho as soon as it became clear that he was intent on joining Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid and we had no choice but to let him go.

Verdict: Bad decision (but unavoidable).

Franco Di Santo- forward, Wigan, undisclosed

Like Sinclair, it just didn’t happen for Di Santo at the Bridge. He played well for the reserves and earned some playing time in the first team but mainly as a late second half substitute. Last season saw Di Santo go out on loan to Blackburn Rovers where he played more regularly but impressed sporadically. He sealed a deadline day move to Wigan where he will have a greater chance of playing.

Verdict: Good decision

What do you think about Ancelotti’s dealings this summer?

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