Piecing together the latest bits of Chelsea personnel chatter
Chelsea FC is in Malaysia, training up a storm in oppressive heat, getting ready for their third preseason match this Thursday against Malaysia XI. By the way, that match will air live in the U.S. on Fox Soccer. Since arriving in Malaysia, new manager Andre Villas-Boas has talked about “evolution” for Chelsea rather than “revolution”, meaning he is taking a cautious approach to major team alterations rather than having a fire sale and dominating the transfer market. AVB’s approach is a wise one. When you’re the new guy, you don’t want to be a smarty-pants who’s going to fix everything with your genius. Fact is, Chelsea has a roster still loaded with top-tier talent. The team needs tweaks, not an overhaul. Having said that, the club is still keeping their name in the transfer hat and here are some recent notes of interest:
Back in June, it seemed Chelsea was ready to sign 18-year-old Bel-gian/Anderlecht forward Romelu Lukaku. That deal cooled off for some reason, but over the weekend, the buzz was back. Some reports say Chelsea has the highest bid at the moment, but Arsenal has entered the pursuit as well. Since we don’t see much Jupiler Pro League stateside (actually we never see it), I haven’t had the opportunity to evaluate Lukaku. But anyone who is seriously compared to Drogba definitely piques my interest. Could be an interesting acquisition.
Apparently Scott Parker is back on the radar, with Chelsea now attempting to buy him outright from West Ham, rather than attempting a loan deal. Aston Villa is still the top competition for Parker, but Chelsea’s change in strategy will make things interesting this week. I’m a Parker fan and would really like to see him at Chelsea. He could be a solid part of a deep midfield rotation that could come in handy over the long haul of this season’s competitions.
AVB says he will take the Malaysian trip to decide what to do with Daniel Sturridge. AVB insists Sturridge is part of his long-term vision for Chelsea, but is considering loaning him out for another season. That’s a hard call. Sturridge is still very young and Chelsea is loaded at forward (it would be all the more crowded with Lukaku), but they should start incorporating him now. There were many times last spring I wished Sturridge was playing instead of Torres!
One final rumor from today involves Chelsea interest in Chilean/Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Arturo Vidal. Alas, I know nothing of Vidal, so I don’t know what to think about this rumor.
What do you think about Vidal? Lukaku? Are these worthwhile pursuits for Chelsea?