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Chelsea miss the final piece of the puzzle

Just yesterday I saw an article about how our squad is in a good shape.

I think the article was titled 'its not too bad' or something to that effect. Sadly the squad on display there well exceeds the permissible limits of foreign players allowed by the Premier League and the Champions League.

As most of you are well aware there are limits to the roster based on certain criteria.

Champions League:-

International players allowed - 17
Club trained players - 4
Association trained players - 4

Premier League:-

International players - 17
Homegrown (both club and association trained) - 8


International players - a player on or above the age of 21 by July 2014 who doesn`t qualify as club or association trained

Club trained players - a player who has spent 3 years 'continuously' playing for Chelsea youth/reserve/first team before he turns 21 (being registered alone isn`t enough).

Association trained - a player who has spent 3 continuous years playing in England either on loan from Chelsea or for another club before being bought by Chelsea

Homegrown (for PL only) - a player who qualifies as either CT or AT (club trained or association trained)

Now here is the problem . Chelsea exceed the 17 player quota for international players and the players who look to be sold or loaned are from a single area of the pitch imbalancing the squad.

Let us look at the different areas of the pitch-:-


Cech - International
Courtois - International
Schwarzer - International
Blackman - Home Grown

Cech has displayed no indication to leave and wants to stay. Forcing a club legend out is not something Chelsea would do. Courtois just came back. Schwarzer just signed a new contract for 1 year. Hence all these players are immovable.


3- Internationals
1- Home Grown


Azpilicueta - International
Ivanovic - International
Luis - International
Terry - Home Grown
Cahill - Association Trained
Zouma - under-21 (won`t count)
Ake - Home Grown

Now PVA (AT) has made it very clear he is leaving. Bertrand (AT-while he is an academy product he never stayed with us for 3 years continuously before turning 21 to be HG) has made it very clear he no longer intends to be a backup role guy (both Bertrand and PVA are out of our squad plans in pre-season itself-big clue that they aren`t staying) - Leaving Ake to deputise at LB (pre-season indicates Mourinho is trying to get him to try his hand at LB and not CB/DM - further pointing to Ake staying at LB this year and Bertrand and PVA leaving) incase both Luis and Azpi are injured.

Azpillicueta, Ivanovic, Luis - aren`t going to be sold.


International- 6
Home Grown - 3
Association Trained - 1


Costa - International
Drogba - International (its pretty evident he is returning)
Torres - International
Lukaku - Association Trained

Now selling Lukaku or not selling Lukaku doesn`t change our International roster. It only significantly weakens our AT list. Moving Torres on is difficult. And DD is set to return.
Patrick Bamford (AT) is almost certainly set to go out on loan (it took two loan spells at the First Division in England and 3 for Courtois at Spain's First Division to have a shot at first team. I highly doubt playing in the lower league levels will ensure Bamford staying.

Having said that in a year or two after playing in the Premier League bamford will definitely play for us.


International - 9
Association Trained - 2
Home Grown - 3


In a 3 man AM trident u need to have 6AMs to have a balanced squad-

Hazard- International
Willian- International
Salah- International
Shirly- International
Oscar - International
Fabregas - AT (thank you Arsenal)


International - 14
Association Trained - 3
Home Grown -3

So far so good.


Barring Torres (who is difficult to sell) all the internationals so far are not going to be sold. So here is the problem - We only have 3 international slots available now for the pivot.

A balanced 25 man squad built on the 4-2-3-1 template has to have:-

3 - strikers
3 - keepers
5 - pivot players
2 players- for every other position on the pitch each.

Even if you assume that we play a 4-3-3 and Oscar and Fabregas will play deeper you still need 4 DM/CMs to complete the squad.


Matic - International
Ramires- International

Both these players aren`t for sale (whether we like it or not Ramires isn`t for sale-please don`t make this thread about him)

That leaves 1spot for 3 other players:-

Mikel- International
Romeu - International
Van Ginkel - International (from this year. He was under 21 last year)

Irrespective of who you pick amongst the 3, having the option of only 3 pivot players is preposterously thin. Even if you count Fabregas to play in the pivot you are still an injury or two away from disastrously being thin.

Also take into account MVG and Romeu are both coming of the back of terrible knee injuries and Mikel and Ramires arent starting 11 material. Every top team in Europe or England has at least 3-4 top players as d pivot (DM/CM) options. Matic is the only player who could walk into those teams.

Bayern - Schweinsteiger, Tiago, Martinez
Madrid - Alonso, Modric, Khedira,
City- Fernandinho, Fernando, Toure

(I am not even counting the non-top 3 pivot players of these teams )

Case in point even last year we had 5 pivot options (albeit not of great quality- 4 of whom were internationals)

Lampard - Association Trained
Ramires - International
Mikel- International
Essien - International
Van Ginkel - (not International then but is now)

It`s well known that a 5 man Pivot option list is vital to a good squad balance.

We have room for Matic, Ramires and one more. Two of Mikel / Van Ginkel / Romeu will be loaned or sold.

Even if we count Fabregas as a pivot player we are still short whilst also reducing our AM roster from the ideal 6 to 5.

This is exactly why HG/AT players of high quality are worth their weight in gold.

This is why getting Fabregas over Kroos makes sense. Or keeping Lukaku as one of the 3 strikers over Torres makes sense.

This also means the club are in a crying need of HG/AT pivot player of a high level .

Step in - Paul Pogba . An AT pivot player of a very high quality.
Matic - International
Pogba- International

As starters, backed up by:-

Romeu / Van Ginkel - International
Ramires - International

With Fabregas as the 5th option is an ideal situation.

And before we read comments like 'Pogba is just another Ramires' or Pogba is the 'French Mikel' I suggest these people actually watch the player before commenting. His long range screamers and deft dribbling and creativity from the deep are out of this world for someone his age. And if anyone says 'I saw him at the World Cup and he was only average' please check who was the best young player of the tournament both officially and by our manager's standards.

The cost factor is the sticking point and I get this argument but as Chelsea is £90-100 million in the green (after some great sales over the last 12 months and an 80 million increase in revenue has made possible) Pogba would constitute a FFP hit of only £16 million at max. We can buy 5 Paul Pogba's before we have to worry about FFP. I am not saying that we must pay what Juve expect but try and sign the player ASAP on medium ground fee.

Of course if we still insist on thinking with Wenger hats on an AT pivot player like Alex Song would be a very decent buy and would balance the squad perfectly although it remains to be seen if warming the Barca bench may have taken away his ability to perform week in week out.

Before anyone suggests Chalobah is the answer or that Chalobah is on the same level as Pogba but he doesn`t get game time please remember he is a kid who didn`t even make it to the starting 11 of a championship side. Chalobah after a couple of successful loan spells will make it in my opinion from what I have seen. But at this moment he isn`t going to start for us or make a significant improvement in the squad quality.

There aren`t that many other HG/AT players of the quality we require available on the market. Nor are there any great English talent for us to take off other clubs (and no Ross Barkley doesn`t play in the pivot).

Our squad is not complete and balanced yet.

We have addressed key issues at ST, LB and bought a weapon that specializes in unlocking parked buses in Fabregas at the number 10 role to provide much needed rest to Oscar and challenge him to up his game.

But we still need the final piece to complete the puzzle.

Who that is remains to be seen. But let`s see what happens.

P.S- if you believe Jose when he says our transfer window is closed then here is the thing, as much as I totally love the guy and see him as the best manager of in the game right now, I am not a fool to believe his words on the transfer market. It`s not the first time he has deceived the world during a transfer market and it certainly won`t be the last.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: saber Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday July 23 2014

Time: 7:39AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Chelsea fans never satisfy with what we have, then let buy everybody
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23/07/2014 08:06:00

Totally disagree! At present we have plenty of cover in all positions with the squad right at this time. CM you want 6 players max for 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. You don't need 4 out and out DM just because you play the awful pivot. Matic mikel ramires MvG fabregas oscar is plenty for a 3 or 2 man midfield. Sell mikel or someone else then fine bring someone in but we are not weak and not missing anything at present. This summer we all knew what we needed. A WC creative Combatative CM-got. A WC striker-got and a top steady LB-got. Anything now is luxury buys or replacements like for like if someone leaves.
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 08:09:00

great article there, never thought that far. Mikel will leave for certain, the choice comes down to van ginkel and romeu.
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 08:11:00

thats why i cant understand on bringing drogba back...there is no point in bringing him back..he will be blocking one international slot....rather giving rami and mikel the slot i will give romeu and mvg that slot...becasue atleast i can expect something different from them....becasue with mikel and rami we wont get anything they are just not good enough....rather sell both of them and get some cash rather than getting nothing next season...for me the missing puzzle is that pivot position....at presnt pogba and vidal option are available...i think pogba is the best option becasue he is Hg..which would be great..
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 08:16:00

if we play both mikel and rami we know they will be the weak point thats why we need to sort out this weak point...last season luiz was the one who played in big matches this season we dont have him...we havent fullfilled that position...thats why get pogba or vidal...and then we are set... matic pogba/vidal mvg romeu chabaloh fab(if played in that position) will be enough for us...
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 08:26:00

If you remember after the transfer window in january,jose said we have gotten the balance the squad needs but in the next 2 seasons he is looking to improve the squad by keeping this balance,we released a LB and got another,we released lamps who can play as a cm and amf and got fabregas who can play as a cm and amf,released eto'o and costa came in,the balance is there,the numbers are there and improvements have been made and we are ready to win the epl but 1 or 2 improvements can be made so we can take a step further in terms of winning the ucl,replace mikel with romeu,get and sign an upgrade for ramires,keep mvg if he can get enough game time...thats all..
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 08:27:00

Mikel needs to be sold, or MVG/Romeu loaned out for space. But then again Mou knows what he's good. Let's wait and see
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 08:34:00

Mou knows what he's *doing....
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 08:38:00

Pogba is perfect, but we are also one striker short. We have now got Costa and that is it, most of the teams that we are seriously competing against especially in Europe, have 3 or 4 quality front men, not forgetting Manchester City who are likely to be our main premier league rivals for the title.
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 08:48:00

OMG...@ Im agreeing with shlok
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 09:25:00

Waooooo.... great research great article.. saber... although i must confess that i did not and could not finish reading it in its entirety cos the permutations and combinations got me twisted inside out.... that aside i was able to read the concluding parts of the article and got the point. However, I disagree that we are light pivot or midfield at the moment and in fact i believe we are close to being overloaded right now. We have Mikel, Ramires, MVG, Romeu, Matic, Lewis Baker, Swift, Oscar, Fabregas, Ake. that is ten player excluding mikel who might be sold and excluding Willian who could put in a very good shift if need be. Out of all this players, lets assume that we Matic is the only high quality DM in the picture with Mikel's sale. the truth is that Matic is not expect to play every game neither are we going to play 4-2-3-1 formation in all games either. One of Ake, Romeu, MVG or can and would rotate with Matic and Ramires is also an option in the DM role. He excelled in that position before we bought Matic so he is also and option.While neither or Romeu, MVG or Ake would walk into a team like Bayern, Madrid etc. they are not bad players and i expect them to be more than enough to beat the likes of Burnley and Crystal palaces ( no disrespect to those clubs) or we sign the wrong players in the first place. Also note that Mourinho has neither indicated nor say what formation he is playing. heck he might play a 3-4-3 formation in some games and a 4-4-2 formation not forgeting his 4-3-3 formation. Yes we do not have two quality DMs, and if we get someone like Martinez or Pogba, or khedira, i won't be sad but if we don't, we are good to go with what we have now. At least as pivot issues are concerned.
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 09:27:00

We need to get Pogba for various reasons - to replace Mikel , he is home grown and Juve owes us money , so we should be able to get him "relatively cheap" - easier than other clubs...and what a coup it would be
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 09:30:00

One thing is clear, Our transfer window is still not closed. We need HG Player.
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 09:34:00

Sell Mikel & Ramires, get in Pogba. This will solve the problem.
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 09:35:00

Lets wait and see what Jose's got for us.
Eugene Asiedu
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23/07/2014 10:19:00

I wonder what will happen to all Mikel Haters if he eventually stay on...
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 10:50:00

Jose said he look forward to adding some under 21 players to the first team. I wait to see how he does that. But if he can achieve it, we will probably have dealt with the HG/AT thingy
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 11:48:00

Mourinho doesn't have a choice, but to add some U-21 players. CFC is a little light in the "homegrown" quota.
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 12:11:00

If he adds u-21 players to the 1st team and gives them chances here and there it would be massive..
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 12:19:00

Hoping this final missing piece is filled by us. #UTC
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 14:05:00

Once I saw the first 2 paragraphs I knew without doubt that this was saber's piece. Great work as usual,and thanks for reminding some of us and enlightening others about some of this issues,that's pretty much why we have to sell off some players who qualify as international players and buy more that qualify as club trained or association trained. This is partly what makes a Pogba's (or a similar association trained player)purchase,or better still a promotion from the youth ranks, imperative and also why I believe if Drogba comes,then Torres is the one who has to leave and not Lukaku who I think qualifies as association trained.
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 14:58:00

Totally disagree! At present we have plenty of cover in all positionswith the squad right at this time. CM you want 6 players max for 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. You don't need 4 out and out DM just because you play the awful pivot. Matic mikel ramires MvG fabregas oscar is plenty for a 3 or 2 man midfield.--------- re-read the article dave-david!
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 15:30:00

thats why i cant understand on bringing drogba back...there is no point in bringing him back..he will be blocking one international slot.--- shlok DD using an international slot isnt a waste of space. torres using one is. o suspect its a move to send torres off.
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 15:32:00

rather giving rami and mikel the slot i will give romeu and mvg that slot.------ Shlok, replacing both of those guys with two young players who havent yet had a proper run in the premier league is risky because inexperience aside both pf them are coming of the back of horrible knee injuries and are hence potentially injury prone . plus you need 6-12 months to be sure the knee injury hasnt brought down their performance level (re-essien). replacing one of mikel or rami is fine but both?? that's just hipster manager stuff
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 15:37:00

Is Ake left footed? If not, why would he play at LB?
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 15:51:00

Marko Marin is set to complete a ú3M move to Besiktas, according to reports in Turkey. #CFC
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 16:20:00

Jose Mourinho still wants to sign Raphael Varane. (Sky) #CFC # RMCF
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 16:21:00

Costa (1/3): "I'd say to the fans that you need to be confident that I personally will fight for this club to make sure..." #CFC
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 16:24:00

Costa (2/3): "...we are in contention to win as many trophies as possible. I'm part of a great group here of players and we will do..." #CFC
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 16:24:00

Costa (3/3): "...everything we can to give the fans what they want - and that's titles" #CFC (ChelseaTV)
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 16:24:00

Diego Costa: "I am honored to be in Chelsea and play for a club with a great history. I'll be proud to wear the Chelsea shirt."
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 16:25:00

Diego Costa: "Jose Mourinho was one of the reasons why I decided to go to Chelsea. I am very pleased that he is the boss in this club." #CFC
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23/07/2014 16:29:00

Diego Costa: "The decision to move to Chelsea was given to me easily, because it is a very big club." #CFC
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23/07/2014 16:30:00

Well written and beautiful article @Saber thanks.
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 16:31:00

Nice updates sameX
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 17:10:00

wait, isn't Torres AT? as in Liverpool? LOL
Petrika Mišinoti
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23/07/2014 17:12:00

wait, isn't Torres AT? as in Liverpool? LOLPetrika Mišinoti ---- unfortunately no. spent the under-21 part of his life at Atleti- moved to liverpool at 23. infact he was atleti's 19 yr old captain.
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 21:18:00

Is Ake left footed? If not, why would he play at LB?foreign_viewer---- Ake is left footed. he is also a VERY versatile player. kind of like Daley blind in terms of versatility. can play at LB; DM; CB. he is homegrown and jose+rafa+dimatteo all rated him highly enough to push him into the first squad. they cant be all wrong
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 21:21:00

thank u sameX- we miss you in the whatsapp group. do join us soon.
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 21:22:00

dwonder - mikel's sale alone isnt enough. you are using both romeu and MVG in ur calculations when only one of them can stay in the current set up
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 21:24:00

@ikdaniels - the respect is mutual
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 21:25:00

its nice to see how constructive this thread was. even shlok and FV came out with their points in a very good manner. its good to see !
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 21:26:00

We won't be signing anyone else unless we make some big sales, I think dogba is as a coach only, not to play. I have a feeling it might be Costa, lukaku, bamford as our strikers, then we can have Mvg and Romeu in.
Report Abuse
23/07/2014 23:36:00

Drogba will be signing to play. He has already agreed to comeback.
Report Abuse
24/07/2014 00:03:00

Schubert D'souza
Report Abuse
24/07/2014 07:31:00

Scenario 1 Sell Mikel, Ramires. Buy Pogba 6 HG: Terry, Cahill, Ake, Cesc, Pogba, Lukaku U21 : Zouma 17 Others : Cech, Courtosis, Mark, Ivanovic, Azpi, Felipe, Matic, Oscar, MVG, Romeu, Willian, Schrulle, Salah, Hazard, Costa, Torres, Drogba
Report Abuse
24/07/2014 08:53:00

Scenario 2 Loan Salah, Sell Torres Include Moses 6 HG: Terry, Cahill, Ake, Cesc, Lukaku, Moses So, we can register a squad of 24 U21 : Zouma 17 Others : Cech, Courtosis, Mark, Ivanovic, Azpi, Felipe, Matic, Mikel, Ramires, Oscar, MVG, Romeu, Willian, Schrulle, Hazard, Costa, Drogba
Report Abuse
24/07/2014 08:54:00

^^ Corrected Scenario 2 Loan Salah, Sell Torres Include Moses 6 HG: Terry, Cahill, Ake, Cesc, Lukaku, Moses U21 : Zouma 17 Others : Cech, Courtosis, Mark, Ivanovic, Azpi, Felipe, Matic, Mikel, Ramires, Oscar, MVG, Romeu, Willian, Schrulle, Hazard, Costa, Drogba
Report Abuse
24/07/2014 08:55:00


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