Losing Billy Gallas (if we do) this year would only be putting off the inevitable for 12 months. If we believe what Billy (sorry, his agent) says, that he wants another challenge elsewhere, then is it likely that Jose Mourinho will want to keep him? Has Mourinho also decided that one of his concerns about Billy – lack of height – is the reason why he doesn’t play him in central defence and is this a way out of a dilemma? By that I mean that Mourinho may well have someone else lined up for central defence anyway – Alex from PSV, maybe, or Kompany at Anderlecht – and will find that taking some money now for William, as part of a deal for Shevchecko if possible, may not be a bad deal. But that’s all speculation – and I only believe that a player is playing for Chelsea when I see him in that blue shirt!
What are the motives in Billy’s apparent desire to leave? Is it because he has been played across the back four that he wants to go? Is it to do with money? Is it likely that, in the end, Kenyon (for all his limited understanding of the game) will insist on keeping Billy? I guess the answer to those is no. Maybe it was Billy’s plan all along to spend five years with us – perhaps his best five years of his career as well? As much as it p*sses me off I accept that top quality players like Billy are almost transitory: we had them before and will see them again. But Billy is a professional and will want the challenges that make him better. He came to us pretty raw, but with huge talent. I remember a French friend of mine telling me that he was the best defensive player he’d seen in Marseille when he was there. I doubt that Billy is emotional about this – whereas I guess that Jose will have tried all sorts to keep him but if the player has decided to leave then it’d be hard work to convince him to stay. Have any of the players made it clear they want him to stay? Would be good to know if they had. I wonder how popular Billy is as well? If he goes he will be hugely missed simply because he is such a good footballer and I’ll be happy to recall loads of great games – and particularly his captaincy at Newcastle when he played his arse off for us! Onward to greater things for all concerned.
If Billy leaves then a replacement becomes essential, as Mourinho has made it clear that Robert Huth can leave if another club makes a serious offer. I’d favour Alex from PSV, who I’ve seen play a few times and looks strong and commanding. Some good pace, not as much as Billy but tough and pretty uncompromising. Nearly 24 years old, he could fit the bill quite well, especially as it’s fairly clear that Chelsea did help with his purchase to PSV for â‚¬10m, and that he may be ‘Chelsea’s property’ anyway. Koeman, PSV’s new coach says it will be difficult to keep him. A problem will be a work permit as he has very few regular Brazil games, being a 4th or 5th choice for them, and is not going to Germany.
Then of course the left back problem rears its head… again. I’ve always hoped we’d go for Ashley Cole, but the rumours about Carlos are disturbing. Do we honestly think that a 33 year old will play enough games for us to make an impact? What has been the logic – if any – behind this? Is it simply that Carlos (and agent) are mouthing off to make Real give him a new contract? Maybe, but Chelsea’s “denials” such as they are worry me. Can Cole really be prised from the Gooners, and would he come to us anyway? Seemed close last year, after the ‘hotel-room-tryst’. Why would Cole wish to go to Spain where he was the victim of outrageous, and barely punished, racist taunts? Surely £16m on him is a better long term deal than the aging limbs of a waning galactico. Who else? Well, Olympique Lyonnias do have a rather good left back in Eric Abidal – 26 years old, served good apprenticeships with Monaco and Lille, and could be a key player for France this summer in the World Cup.
Now some thoughts on Mourinho’s recent pronouncements about players who can go if they wish and if the offer’s right. Maniche has gone already – not much surprise there really – and Eidur Gudjohnsen may well follow, along with Hernan Crespo, Carlton Cole, Glen Johnson, Robert Huth and Lenny Pidgeley. Lenny clearly does need first team football for him to show just what his qualities are: I hope he gets a decent Championship club where he can flourish because I believe he has true potential that cannot be realised with us.
Rob Huth? An enigma. Has had potential for years, but doesn’t wholly seem to fit with Chelsea, as his mobility is questionable. Maybe a new club will be better for all concerned… and I believe that Michael Mancienne is a far better player than Huth anyway, so should be closer this year to the first team squad.
Mourinho and Clarke must be narked with Glen Johnson, as they’ve evidently had enough of his wayward approach. He still seems to have so much going for him: poised, pacy, good athlete, stronger going forward than defensively but still young enough to learn how to improve. But if his attitude is as many commentators hint then he has to get sorted or another career that has promised a lot will disappear. For what it’s worth I’d like to see him persevered with for another season or put out on loan for him to play at a serious level to test him.
Poor Carlton has blotted his copybook, good and proper, with The Special One: fancy asking Mourinho in a team meeting when the wobble was on, “When will I get my chance?” No sense of time or place and, I wonder, just how sensible is he anyway? Two loan spells have shown him not to be quite the most effective of players and I would worry if he went to Spurtz, for example, about his career. Does he need a season with, say, Watford if they are promoted or Reading to be tested like Glen? Might work, but I think his days are numbered.
Hernan Crespo has been consistent enough about his love for Italy so will be better off there – and good luck to him. I’m sorry we never saw his true greatness for any consistent period!
And to Eidur. All of us on this blog know what a special player Eidur is. On his day, on form, he is sublime. The touch, the vision, the passing are unique and we missed him so much in many games this year that many of us almost wept in frustration. But hard decisions have to be made, so Eidur is not able to convince Mourinho of his true value. But if we don’t get a replacement striker, and Carlton goes, then Eidur may well be essential to the squad. No sentiment, I know, but how can we afford to lose a player with such class? If he wasn’t Icelandic but German or Dutch, he’d be a mainstay in their squads this World Cup. Think again Jose and be clever.