It is no secret that Chelsea has been suffering because of a ridiculously hectic schedule. Beginning as a young talented side challenging on all fronts, Chelsea have since lost one competition after the next. Yet as they near the end of this season, they stand on the cusp of winning the Europa League, the only chance for the team to attain much needed silverware.
Undoubtedly, Chelsea needs the Europa League trophy to galvanize a failing season. Even Manager Rafa Benitez and the players (especially David Luiz) have spoken of their desire to win the Europa league. On the other hand, while the club sits pretty at 3rd place with 65 points, 2 important matches against league winners Manchester United and Tottenham will determine the fate of their future.
At such a critical juncture, Chelsea has to prevail to salvage their disastrous season. Yet in some corners of the blue camp, some fans may think that losing fourth place or the Europa League will give the team much needed motivation for the next season. While that may be true to a certain extent, the impact of such a result has other far reaching factors that will result in a tremendous step backward for the club.
The return of Jose Mourinho
The media is abuzz with news of an impending Jose Mourinho return to Chelsea Football club. The Portuguese is arguably Chelsea’s most successful manager since Club Owner Roman Abramovich took over and a return to the club where he made his name looks set on the cards following a dismal season at Real Madrid Football Club.
In this season, Mourinho has been plagued with news of player revolts and dismal results. Furthermore, club officials are doubtful of the coach’s commitment and management after having crashed out of the Champions League by the hands of an arguably less expensively assembled Borussia Dortmund Football club. Hence, with an impending departure on the cards, Chelsea seems to be his most likely destination. However, how Rafa Benitez steers the ship from now till the end of the season may sway his decision.
First of all, the positives of a move back to Chelsea are that Mourinho will inherit a young talented team that has already been adapted to the rigours of the premier league. In this current Chelsea side, Mourinho has the right blend of experience, youth and talent at his disposal. Mourinho also has one of Europe’s most coveted players, Eden Hazard in his team sheet. The only aspect missing from this team is a world class striker, a problem that is most likely to be fixed with the rumoured brokering of a deal to bring Athletico Madrid hit man Radamel Falcao to Stamford Bridge.
However, should Chelsea fail to gain top 4 placing, Mourinho might hesitate on returning to his former club, especially when other more attractive clubs are throwing him ridiculous amounts of cash for his services. One such club is second placed Manchester City FC.
In all honesty, Manchester City represents a better bet than Chelsea for the Mourinho. After all, the Mansours have been more patient and supportive of their manager Mancini despite his failings in the Champions league and his failure to retain the premier league crown. Mourinho can expect such patience to be awarded to him rather than lock horns with Roman Abramovich over control of the club. Furthermore, Mourinho’s unchanging need to assert control over the entire club could also lead to his downfall yet again.
Another factor that will attract Mourinho is Manchester City’s larger transfer war chest. Moreoever, with Manchester City having already secured another appearance in the Champions league, they represent Mourinho’s best hope to challenge again for a third trophy.
To convince Mourinho to return to Stamford Bridge, Chelsea has to secure their spot in the Champions league or lose his services to more successful neighbours.
The arrival of a top class Striker
The current Chelsea squad, while talented, has been missing a world class striker capable of making use of the arsenal of attacking talent supporting him. Fernando Torres has not been performing consistently over the last few seasons while new arrival Demba Ba is also another figure of inconsistence, brilliant in some games and insipid in many others.
Hence, it is unsurprising that Chelsea have been linked to many of the world’s top strikers such as Radamel Falcao and Robert Lewandoski. Because Lewandoski is more likely to end up playing at Bayern Munich or Mancehster United next season, Falcao looks set to be the sole winner of Chelsea’s affections. However, the Columbian might think twice about making a move over to Chelsea, should the club falter in the league table.
First of all, Falcao will be a fantastic addition to the Chelsea side. At the moment, he is arguable the best center forward in the world and has dazzled many with his all round play and finishing skills. This season, Atleitico Madrid has already secured their top 4 placing and looks set to challenge in the champion’s league next season. Therefore, a move by Falcao to a club that playing in the Europa league next season would be a huge step backwards for the Columbian.
Furthermore, with Manchester City and Real Madrid also vying for his signature, it is highly likely that the Columbian chooses them over Chelsea should they fail to gain top 4 placing.
Securing their own talents
When Belgian wonder kid Eden Hazard announced his decision to sign for Chelsea, Chelsea fans worldwide knew that they had a gem in their hands. Hazard’s decision to sign for Chelsea over more established clubs also renewed the fan’s faith in the club’s value. For many season, Chelsea has lost out to other rivals (mostly Manchester City) over the signing of key players. (Robinho to Manchester City, David Silvia to Manchester City, Sergio Aguero to Manchester City, Steven Pienaar to Tottenham, Javier Pastore to Paris St Germain and many more.) Signing Eden Hazard represents the first major coup for the club in a long while.
This season, the Belgian’s performances affirmed the fan’s belief that he will one day be a leading figure at the club. However, Hazard may not have his eyes on staying at the club for very long. After all, it is no secret that like his play style on the pitch, the 22 year old is a crafty player off pitch.
Choosing to join the blues was an astute move from the Belgian. After all, a move to Madrid will see him duke it out for a starting spot with established names such as Christiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil. A move to Manchester Rivals City and United would have seen the Belgian fall behind in game time with either Sir Alex’s rotational policy or Mancini’s already attack heavy squad. Chelsea on the other hand was a club who that had always lacked a proper left winger. Moving there would have seen the Belgian gain a huge amount of game time. Furthermore, the Belgian (being a marquee signing) would have been protected by Roman Abramovich (Remember a faltering Torres displacing Drogba after his 50 million pound move?).
Nevertheless, Hazard may not have expected to win the Champions league or Premier league in his first season in England. However, the Belgian (like all players) definitely expects to win at least a trophy in his first season in England. The Europa league while less significant than the Champions League, is the best way to keep the Belgian happy with his involvement with Chelsea. This goes the same for many of the clubs new arrivals, who will no doubt love to taste the success that veterans David Luiz and Juan Mata achieved last year.
Hence, failure to win anything or secure Champion’s league placing next season will be disastrous for the club. While it may be premature to suggest that the Hazard will leave if Champions league placing is not secured this year, failure to do so could be the catalyst which starts a reaction that eventually drives him and others out of the club in search of pastures anew.