Everything's slotting into place at Chelsea right now; Blues boss Jose Mourinho has seemingly put together a squad ready to challenge on all fronts this season, as the club go in search of trophy success after failure last term.
But, if reports are to be believed, the Portuguese tactician is considering the sale of Brazilian midfielder Ramires to Spanish giants Real Madrid. This is a deal, though, that Mourinho must steer well clear of.
Midfield three for the big games
Ramires, of course, picked up a knee injury in Chelsea's clash with Manchester City this past weekend and it remains to be seen as to how long he will be out of action for. Mourinho must hope he returns to action sooner rather than later, and should certainly forget about selling him in a big money deal to his former club, Real Madrid.
With the season just six weeks old, Ramires has already proved he's a key man for the Stamford Bridge outfit, despite the club having the exceptionally talented Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic at their disposal.
There's no doubt about it, Fabregas and Matic are crucial to Chelsea, but Ramires' importance to the cause should not be underestimated. He's a man for the big games - he's a Mourinho-type player.
The 'Special One' has already proved with his team selection that the Brazilian is key: Ramires started in the away games against Everton and Manchester City - Chelsea's toughest Premier League games so far this season.
Ramires also started alongside Fabregas and Matic in a three man midfield in the club's Champions League opener with German outfit Schalke last week. One of the games in which he didn't start - against Swansea City at Stamford Bridge on September 13 - he was brought on at half-time with the Blues struggling to control the game. With the scores level at half-time against the Welsh outfit, Chelsea went on to win the game 4-2, producing a dominant second-half display.
With Ramies in the side, there's a greater balance about Jose Mourinho's side. Of course, against the likes of Leicester City and Co. on home soil, Chelsea can afford to play with just two in the centre, and unleash the attacking talents of Eden Hazard, Oscar, Willian and co.
But against the big-boys, the Brazilian has - and usually is - on Mourinho's team-sheet. While Matic digs in and sits in front of the back four, Fabregas is free to go forward and hurt the opposition, but Ramies offers the side something different. His energy is unique - Chelsea fans certainly won't forget his performance - and goal - against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final of 2012.
On that day, with Chelsea down to 10-men, Ramires put in a fine performance for the club. Despite that goal, he may not score many, but he's still extremely influential and is a battler.
And it's battlers the Blues are going to need as they attempt to bring silverware to Stamford Bridge in Mourinho's second spell at the club.
Of course, Ramires could be replaced. After all, the name Ross Barkley has been mentioned on a number of occasions over the last few months, but is he really ready to star week in week out at the Bridge?
Mourinho needs a team that's going to win him silverware now; Barkley has great potential, but he still has a lot of learning to. Ramires, meanwhile, has been there and done it before, so he won't hide away in Chelsea's pursuit of success this season or next.
Mourinho certainly hasn't been afraid of shaking things up at Stamford Bridge, however, as he quickly offloaded a number of players last summer. Ramires' Brazilian colleague, David Luiz, of course, was offloaded in a big-money deal, whilst the likes of Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Fernando Torres and Co. were also moved on.
But, Ramires is different - he's happy, still performing and key to the club's success. By no means is he past it, and by no means should Mourinho sell - especially to Real Madrid. Of course, if Ramires was to move to the Bernabeu in January, then he would be unable to play in the Champions League, but he would play a key role for the club in the coming years.
Why, then, would Mourinho want to strengthen one of his greatest rivals in Europe when there's no need to sell. £25m wouldn't be a bad price, but the Brazilian should star for the Blues for at least a couple more years yet.
Chelsea fans: Do you want your club to keep Ramires? Have your say in the comments section below!
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