Following their 2011/12 FA Cup and UEFA Champions League Double, it seems Chelsea football club are moving forward at pace again.
Not since the era of Jose Mourinho have we seen such a dramatic influx of talent through the doors at Stamford Bridge. Club owner Roman Abramovich obviously enjoyed last season immensely. The Chelsea squad Abramovich funded and built under Mourinho (with a little help form Avram Grant, Guus Hiddink, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Carlo Ancelotti and Andre-Villas Boas) finally delivered the holy-grail that Abramovich had craved when Chelsea defeated Bayern Munich in the Champions League final back in May. And now Abramovich is funding a Chelsea revolution again.
With the exception of Juan Mata, the 2011 summer transfer window saw Chelsea recruit little to keep their fans excited. Arrivals under AVB included Romelu Lukaku, Thibaud Courtois, Oriol Romeu, Lucas Piazon, Ulises Davila, and Raul Meireles.
This summer however, under the management of Roberto Di Matteo, Chelsea and Abramovich seem to be at it again, stamping their intent with a chequebook few can compete with. Chelsea’s plan is simple. Bankroll their way to more silverware by buying the best.
Arrivals in the 2012 transfer window so far include Lille’s highly rated playmaker Eden Hazard, Werder Bremen’s Marko Marin, and potentially 20-year-old Brazilian superstar Oscar.
What we’re witnessing is a football club that are hungry again, revitalised by the success of last season’s finale. Chelsea are injecting youth into their squad, but unlike last summer, their new signings are likely to feature much more prominently than some of Andre Villas-Boas signings did, especially towards the end of last season.
The old-guard of Lampard, Terry, Essien, Drogba et al is set to be replaced by a new-age Chelsea. Not immediately, but soon. Think Torres, Mata, Hazard, Marin, Cahill, Oscar, Luiz. It could, and should be a frightening prospect for Chelsea’s Premier League opponents.
With Manchester City yet to spend this summer, and Manchester United signing largely unproven youth talent, in Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell, Chelsea are planning to raid the party come May 2013. Finishing sixth in the Barclays Premier League last term obviously hurt badly and without their success in the Champions League they may not have been able to attract the likes of Hazard.
Chelsea’s recruitment this summer brings us on to the subject of this article. What will Chelsea’s starting line-up this season look like? With other signings likely before transfer deadline day on 31st August, it’s difficult to predict exactly, but this is our prediction of what Chelsea’s starting eleven could look like this season.
With many teams now adopting a more dynamic 4-2-3-1 formation rather than the traditional 4-4-2, Chelsea have enough quality to field two teams of eleven. There likely first eleven is a line-up which on-paper at least looks as strong as anyone’s. And that’s with a couple of weeks still to go before the curtain comes down on the transfer window. A little bit scary isn’t it?
This article was written by Chris Holmes, author of Transfer Gossip and Fantasy Premier League blog PremierLeagueTransfers.net. Visit the site to read more on Premier League transfer rumours and news of confirmed Premier League signings.