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Sir

Squad Status: 2013/2014 Season

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Maybe, but that offer hasn't come and Barca appear to want Thiago Silva now, there are other options available to them too, like Sociedad's Inigo Martinez. I do find it hard to imagine that Luiz would be sold this summer. Luiz appears to be a part of 'the group', it might be traumatic surgery to rip him out now while he's still thought of by others as a big game player who makes key contributions (as well as mistakes). One thing to consider is that if you coach out some of Luiz's failings, limit his rash decisions, then you possibly still have a much better player than Gary Cahill, and a player with enough ability to offer more options for the squad as a libero, part-time fullback, or kitchen-sink-striker. If we bought Mangala, I could see a situation where him and Luiz become the first choice with Terry and Cahill deputising. That's fine for Terry at this stage of his career, with no more national team ambitions, but at 27 Cahill doesn't want to find himself behind England's ex-Captain, and two younger internationals.

On the other hand, if what we've seen from Luiz is all we'll ever get then I don't expect him to be around for much of 2014.

Well, I don't imagine that Barca is the only Spanish club that might make an offer for Luiz. And I wouldn't rule out the likes of PSG or Monaco, either. The problem for Luiz is that Mourinho won't be fooled regarding his defensive frailties. And my guess is that he won't want to waste time trying to train him into being something that he isn't already (if indeed, such a thing is possible). Let's not forget that Mourinho's team first time around was based on the defensive rock of Gallas, Terry, Carvalho, and Ferreira, with Makelele sitting in front of them - how long do you reckon that Luiz would have lasted in that company? And if JM watched Luiz play today for Brazil against Japan, he'll have already been on the phone to Emenalo.

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hanuma   

Well, I don't imagine that Barca is the only Spanish club that might make an offer for Luiz. And I wouldn't rule out the likes of PSG or Monaco, either. The problem for Luiz is that Mourinho won't be fooled regarding his defensive frailties. And my guess is that he won't want to waste time trying to train him into being something that he isn't already (if indeed, such a thing is possible). Let's not forget that Mourinho's team first time around was based on the defensive rock of Gallas, Terry, Carvalho, and Ferreira, with Makelele sitting in front of them - how long do you reckon that Luiz would have lasted in that company? And if JM watched Luiz play today for Brazil against Japan, he'll have already been on the phone to Emenalo.

Mourinho, and your good self, aren't the only people watching him and seeing his weaknesses. Would Real Madrid want him over Ramos or Varane? Not likely imo. Barca might be a unique fit for him based on their prioritisation of possession, playing midfielders as centrebacks, then again they might be frustrated with his tendency towards high risk when they are fundamentally about low risk percentage play. I'd agree that Monaco and PSG would be then be a reasonable hope for a mega-bid in the absence of particularly strong management or competition at the position. If such an offer was made then it would have to be considered, and yes, quite possibly accepted. But absolutely none of the rhetoric so far has suggested that Luiz isn't part of the club's long term plans, and everything Jose has said so far has been about 'improving' players first. Luiz is surely at the head of the queue, because as yet it's still an open question as to whether that's possible.

Luiz isn't near the level of 04/07 Makelele, Gallas, Carvalho and Terry, but I can't think of another group of defenders that were in my time watching football. Certainly not since they were split up. To find an equivalent perhaps you'd have to go back to Milan's Ancelotti, Desailly, Baresi, Maldini? As such, Mourinho's not any more likely to recreate his first Chelsea side in his second spell at Chelsea than he was at Inter or Real Madrid, so the strength of the team will not be in the defensive third, where the play relied on it's immovability, but rather it will probably be in the efficiency of the offensive third (100+ goals three seasons in a row at Madrid...). So the more pressing question to me is how does he compare to Cahill, Ivanovic, present day Terry and hopefully Mangala?

Not one of Cahill, Ivanovic or Luiz are particularly good organisers, when they've been played together we've invariably fared badly and you could find similar faults with all of them. I'd find it hard to separate any of them on their best days, at centreback, and if Luiz has had more mistakes, he's also had more of a consistent positive impact on our offensive play. Not enough to counteract his mistakes, but enough to take it into consideration. When Terry's been fit he's improved the defence and improved the performance level of whoever he's played with, particularly Luiz. Similar things have been said of Mangala at Porto. Mangala has more than enough pace and quickness to play alongside Terry, so I'd assume they'd be first choice partners when possible. Ivanovic is arguably the teams best rightback, so he could play there more often than not, and that would leave a choice between Luiz and Cahill for first alternate behind John Terry. Cahill is older, more experienced at the position, makes less mistakes, but makes similar errors of judgement all the same and has none of the upside, little of the same ability to create from the back. Looked at in that particular way, assuming one significant purchase and the retention of JT, Luiz will be a significant player for Chelsea next season and Cahill could be the odd man out.

I think if we can't agree on Luiz being sold, or any of our other defenders for that matter, we can probably agree that we do need an upgrade there. If not Mangala, then someone else.

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jones   

3 (2) CFs: Think it is most probable that we will start the season with Torres, Lukaku and Ba, which is a line that lacks a world-class striker, but that still has a lot of quality, proven PL strikers and may very well be good enough to put in a fair challenge on all fronts. I would definitely not mind us getting Cavani in, but there is a lot of uncertainty with regards to his insane buyout clause, plus the difficulty in offloading Torres. (Lukaku is actually U21, so he won't occupy a slot.)

5 AMs: Think we are all set here with the three positions being occupied by Schurrle/De Bruyne - Mata - Hazard/Moses. With three strikers, there is no problem at all in having one of them "doing an Anelka" and playing on the wing from time to time - both Torres and Lukaku is decent in that position, and Oscar will be back up to Mata. Perhaps we will see Thorgan stay for added depth, but since he is U21, he won't occupy a slot. Piazon is very likely to go out on loan again (based on comments from himself and Steve Holland). Kakuta must be sold.

6 CMs: Hopefully, Jose agrees on the majority of fans wanting to see Oscar in the deeper playmaking role. If we can have Lampard and Oscar being two players for a creative CM position, Mikel and a new "beast" of a CM (hopefully De Rossi) being the defensive oriented CM, and Ramires being the joker: the player that can successfully be partnered with anyone and play both roles, I will be satisfied. Add to that the routine of Essien, who will help out when injuries hit us, when Oscar needs to help out in the holding role (back up to Mata), or when we need someone to step in at full back. So, even though we have 6 players for 2 positions, I think this mix of players would be very good, and provides us with very good back up in the position that was our achilles heal last season. Lampard, Oscar, Ramires, Mikel, De Rossi, Essien.

2 RBs: Ivanovic and Azpilicueta

2 LBs: Cole and Bertrand

4 CBs: Terry, Luiz, Cahill, Omeruo, where I would pick Ivanovic over Omeruo, who also can play RB, but he adds depth in the squad, and should at least get LC starts.

3GKs: Cech, +1 competent 2nd goal keeper, Walker/Blackman. Important to have a home grown player as that third option, and someone who can be first choice for the reserves.

This will be a very good squad in my opinion, with many young promising prospects, and still tons of experience in Terry, Lampard, Cole and Cech. It is probably a little worrying that three of them may be having their last season here, and that Terry and Lampard may having less important roles in the team than they are used to. However, Luiz, Mata, Ramires, Cahill etc are not any younger than JT and Lamps were when we won in 05.

I for one will be satisfied with this squad, and it would mean two new signings (De Rossi + GK) in addition to Schurrle, but hopefully three (Cavani). Essien, Omeruo, De Bruyne and Lukaku all return from loan, Oscar makes the shift to CM, so the squad will still go through a pretty significant makeover. Seeing who will be going: Benayoun, Malouda, Turnbull, Hilario, Ferreira, Romeu (loan?), it is clear that such a squad is a massive improvement. Add to that an excellent manager, and a (depending on Cavani transfer), quite sober transfer window - the future looks bright.

Can't wait for the season to start!

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So for the Premier League

Foreign

1-Cech

2-Ivanovic

3-Luiz

4-Essien

5-Romeu

6-Ramires

7-Torres

8-Mata

9-Oscar

10-Mikel

11-De Bruyne

12-Hazard

13-Marin

14-Azpilicueta

15-Ba

16-Schürrle

17-van Aanholt

Homegrown

1-Cole

2-Lampard

3-Moses

4-Cahill

5-Terry

6-Hutchinson

7-Kakuta

8-Bertrand

-Walker

U21

Lukaku

McEachran

Piazon

Aké

Kalas

Omeruo

Blackman

Delac

T Hazard

Chalobah

Wallace

Cuevas

I've included all potential squad members - although clearly several of these will leaving the club in some way or other.

So we can already name a full 25 man Premier League squad! Although an upgrade in quality may be needed...

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So for the Premier League

Foreign

1-Cech

2-Ivanovic

3-Luiz

4-Essien

5-Romeu

6-Ramires

7-Torres

8-Mata

9-Oscar

10-Mikel

11-De Bruyne

12-Hazard

13-Marin

14-Azpilicueta

15-Ba

16-Schürrle

17-van Aanholt

Homegrown

1-Cole

2-Lampard

3-Moses

4-Cahill

5-Terry

6-Hutchinson

7-Kakuta

8-Bertrand

-Walker

U21

Lukaku

McEachran

Piazon

Aké

Kalas

Omeruo

Blackman

Delac

T Hazard

Chalobah

Wallace

Cuevas

I've included all potential squad members - although clearly several of these will leaving the club in some way or other.

So we can already name a full 25 man Premier League squad! Although an upgrade in quality may be needed...

If that's correct* then good job!

I agree. We definitely need some serious upgrades done. Essien, Romeu, Torres, Marin, Van Aanholt, Hutchinson and Kakuta are all expendable. Seeing upgrades on those guys current ability should be easy. Or am I being too harsh?

*Can someone confirm this is correct?

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Sir   

If that's correct* then good job!

I agree. We definitely need some serious upgrades done. Essien, Romeu, Torres, Marin, Van Aanholt, Hutchinson and Kakuta are all expendable. Seeing upgrades on those guys current ability should be easy. Or am I being too harsh?

*Can someone confirm this is correct?

For sure I'd say we need two strikers. Hazard,Oscar, Lampard, Mata, Moses, certainly can all score, Schurrle will as well, and KDB when given the chance. But imagine adding 2, or certainly at least 1 striker who can score a serious amount of goals! That's what we need if we want to challenge for the big, big titles this season.

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For sure I'd say we need two strikers. Hazard,Oscar, Lampard, Mata, Moses, certainly can all score, Schurrle will as well, and KDB when given the chance. But imagine adding 2, or certainly at least 1 striker who can score a serious amount of goals! That's what we need if we want to challenge for the big, big titles this season.

I think that the perfect situation would be Torres upgrade, Ba, Lukaku. As we can see from the rest of the squad there are at least 3 foreign players that can hopefully be upgraded and possibly 1/2 of the homegrowns can be replaced (maybe by a new reserve keeper).

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jones   

Not that it matters that much, but Van Aanholt is home-grown too. Think we will move him on this summer.

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Not that it matters that much, but Van Aanholt is home-grown too. Think we will move him on this summer.

Ah, yes! I was confused with the UEFA club-trained requirements. He's not club-trained but he is homegrown. I agree he will probably leave this summer.

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Maybe, but that offer hasn't come and Barca appear to want Thiago Silva now, there are other options available to them too, like Sociedad's Inigo Martinez. I do find it hard to imagine that Luiz would be sold this summer. Luiz appears to be a part of 'the group', it might be traumatic surgery to rip him out now while he's still thought of by others as a big game player who makes key contributions (as well as mistakes). One thing to consider is that if you coach out some of Luiz's failings, limit his rash decisions, then you possibly still have a much better player than Gary Cahill, and a player with enough ability to offer more options for the squad as a libero, part-time fullback, or kitchen-sink-striker. If we bought Mangala, I could see a situation where him and Luiz become the first choice with Terry and Cahill deputising. That's fine for Terry at this stage of his career, with no more national team ambitions, but at 27 Cahill doesn't want to find himself behind England's ex-Captain, and two younger internationals.

On the other hand, if what we've seen from Luiz is all we'll ever get then I don't expect him to be around for much of 2014.

I know it was based on a ridiculous and unfounded rumour originally printed in the Daily Mirror, but some of the French media that picked up on the Luiz to PSG story suggested that while it was possibly to replicate the Brazilian nation team centre back partnership, some suggested he was actually being targeted by PSG as Thiago Silva's replacement given Barca's interest in Silva.

Regarding the various permutations of centre back partnership you mention above, Cahill is in a similar mould to Terry. Does the basics well and is solid and dependable. Yes he makes a few more mistakes than Terry did in his prime, but essentially a similar type of centre back... a sort of Terry Lite. Luiz is more of a Carvalho type player, only not as disciplined defensively and more keen to foray forward. I don't think a Terry/Cahill partnership would work particularly well as neither are particularly quick and both are too similar... you need a scimitar and a broadsword combination, if you like. Of the four main centre backs we currently have, 3 are interchangeable as Ivanovich is also similar in style to Terry and Cahill. Short term any combination of the four is pretty dependable, but you wouldn't want to go 6 months with only, say, Cahill and Ivanovich as their combined limitations would soon be found out by top clubs.

If Jose can instil a little more defensive discipline into Luiz, then I think next year Terry, his contract having come to an end, should be replaced with a Luiz/Carvalho style centre back leaving us with two balanced centre back partnerships be it first choice or back up

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