Friday, 10 August 2012

Chelsea FC: Torres, Signings & Realistic Expectations.

This season is certainly shaping up to be an exciting one for the FA Cup and European champions. With big name signings such as Oscar, Eden Hazard and Marko Marin Chelsea really look like they mean business this coming season. On top of these imports, it looks like there is more to come following chief executive, Ron Gourlay's comment that Chelsea are not finished spending. It is widely believed that there could be a further two new faces strutting their stuff on the Stamford Bridge turf come September.

"Who are these two players?" Is without doubt the question on the lips of Chelsea fans all over the world. Well, there are widespread reports that there is a deal close to completion for Wigan's Victor Moses, whose agent was reportedly spotted at The Bridge on Tuesday afternoon. Is there any truth behind this alleged spotting? Who knows. We will have to wait and see. Thanks to Dave Whelan, however, we do know for a fact that Chelsea have shown interest in the young forward, having announced to the press that the London club have made several offers. I just have one question: Where would Moses fit in? To be honest, I don't think he would. With the options Chelsea already have available to them, would it be worth their while spending money on a player who is no better than what they already have?

Having said that, they are also apparently after Brazilian star Hulk. This signing would make a lot more sense. They play in the same position but the difference being, Hulk is a much better player. He would almost definitely improve the Chelsea squad. Hulk is a more powerful presence than Moses and is twice the player of Florent Malouda, (which albeit, is not a tough task.)

It is also considered that there is a deal in place to bring Cesar Azpilicueta to West London. Again, a strange transfer in my opinion. It would be strange to sign a player purely to have him as a substitute, but I can't see Ivanovic dropping to the bench either. The Serbian has been consistently one of Chelsea's best players over the past couple of seasons.

I am extremely excited about the signings being made by Chelsea this summer, but I can't stop wondering, why didn't they take place last season? It is no secret that transfers at Chelsea are dealt with above the manager. So why, when Roman Abramovic appointed André Villas-Boas as manager this time last year, did he not bring in players like Oscar and Hazard? Juan Mata was the only big signing last term but expectations of overnight change were still harshly set for the young manager.

Villas-Boas tried to implement a completely new style of football at Chelsea, a task that requires time and patience from fans and also from the clubs decision makers. He had the full support of many of the fans, unfortunately, the boards patience wore thin and eventually ran out leaving the young Portuguese manager jobless. Players in the mold of Oscar, Hazard and Marin were exactly what were needed a year ago. I cannot comprehend why deals of this fashion weren't completed then.

Chelsea's movement in the transfer window would suggest to me that the team is being built around and focused on the £50 million man - Fernando Torres. There is no doubt that he will be their main hope for goals this season and with the players being brought in to play behind him, he will certainly get more than enough chances to rediscover his goalscoring touch. This season is huge for El Niño. He made drastic improvements in the latter half of last season, scoring a vital goal against Barcelona and bagging his first hat-trick in blue in the process. During the summer he picked up the Golden Boot award for the European Championships so I'm expecting a confident Torres this season. A confident Torres is a different animal to what we've been seeing for the last 18 months. The biggest sign for me of how the team is being built around the Spaniard is that Chelsea have parted company with Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka since the beginning of the year, with no replacements being brought in at the time of writing. As I write this, Romelu Lukaku has joined West Brom on loan for the season - further evidence that it is all down to Torres this season. Expect to see that number 9 shirt running off in celebration time and time again throughout the coming season.

What should Chelsea fans realistically expect this season? Well, with the squad they are building there is no reason why they can't win the Premier League title in the next two or three years and quite possibly more European glory. But for this season, I think they should be hoping for domestic success, probably in The FA Cup. On top of this, a serious title challenge and probably the Semi-Finals of the UEFA Champions League would be seen as a good season. A top three finish, a piece of silverware, and a decent effort in the defense of their European crown must be considered as a good season. 

Personally I predict Chelsea to achieve a top three finish easily. I think it will be between themselves and Manchester United for second place, with Manchester City as my favourites for the title this term, as much as much as it pains me to say it.

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