Throughout Chelsea’s 2012/13 campaign there has been a sense of frustration, a sense of incomprehension.
How can a team that has evolved from a strong, powerful but clearly functional side into a team that plays with flair and creativity be so lacking on the domestic front and in the Champions League?
The answer to these questions are simple: they need a proven world-class manager, a clinical and effective striker and a campaign which will give experience to the new breed of talented players at Chelsea.
And it just so happens that in the new season Chelsea may well have acquired all of these assets.
Firstly, Chelsea hiring Rafael Benitez as manager was never going to turn Chelsea into a worthy, all-conquering, attacking side. The fact that he was announced as an ‘interim manager’ always showed that confidence lacked in his ability and he was simply hired to fulfil the basics: qualify for the Champions League and show some good form in cup competitions.
Any manager in the world knowing he is there on a temporary basis and will not be allowed to think in terms of the long term is always going to struggle to employ his individual imprint on the club. This does not doubt his ability, though the nearest he came to winning the Premier League with Liverpool was a second place position in 2008/09.
It seems Chelsea were always thinking that, to mount a title challenge, they would need a world-class manager with proven experience at winning titles.
Solution: Jose Mourinho
In the football grapevine, whispers are becoming shouts that Mourinho will be handed the reins at Chelsea. The employment of a manager such as Mourinho will invigorate and inspire a Chelsea side that have lacked a cutting edge to their game.
Mourinho knows exactly how to build a title-winning side, as can be highlighted by his two Premier League winners' medals, in addition to the domestic trophies he has won elsewhere in Europe.
Last time Mourinho was at Chelsea his side were built on physical strength and power, epitomised by Didier Drogba, but he has now shown by winning La Liga with Real Madrid that he can build a side that can attack with style, flair and fearsome efficiency.
With the midfield trio of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar it seems only fitting that Mourinho will inspire and invigorate these players to play with attacking and creative flair but also that much-needed end product.
This idea of Chelsea lacking an end product points to a problem at the front of the team: the lack of a clinical, effective striker.
Chelsea have struggled through the campaign at times, due to chances not being converted in the attacking third. Fernando Torres, though having a successful Europa League campaign, has lost the pace which make made him a fearsome striker in Europe and he is also short of confidence.
Demba Ba, bought in the January transfer window, has scored a paltry two goals in fourteen appearances in the Premier League. Though he might yet shine next season it is clear that what Chelsea need is a striker to convert the creativity of their mighty midfield into goals.
Chelsea have been linked with numerous strikers recently so it is clear that they are actively pursuing a striker to find a solution to this problem. They also have Romelu Lukaku, arriving back from West Brom, who has had a great campaign. It seems that with an extra striker and perhaps an upturn in confidence for the current strikers, due to the Mourinho factor, Chelsea may be at their scintillating, clinical best next season.
Lastly, this season has gave the likes of Hazard and Oscar a campaign to learn the Chelsea style and gain experience in England and in Europe. This will surely enhance their already great footballing instincts.
So, with Mourinho as manager, a proven striker and a Chelsea team that has plenty of experience, the Blues look like they could be a formidable side on all fronts next season.
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