In what has to go down as one of the strangest moves of January, Chelsea's Ramires signed for Chinese Super League club, Jiangsu Suning, for a fee of £25 million, representing a tidy profit for the Blues but, more importantly, a serious step down in the standard of football for the Brazilian.
Regardless of the fee, it seems a strange decision on Chelsea's part, few would suggest that Ramires was at fault for much of this season's decline and he is certainly not past his peak so what were the reasons behind the move?
Offer too tempting to refuse?
£25 million is not a crazy sum to pay for a player with Ramires' talent and experience, in today's market, but it did present Chelsea with an opportunity to reclaim the money they spent on the former Benfica midfielder plus a little extra. Abramovich has made decisions like this before - consider the sale of Juan Mata to Manchester United, in this same window two seasons ago.
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There are some parallels to be drawn from the two transfers but at the same time, Ramires had certainly not been marginalised to the same extent as Mata in his last weeks with the West London club.
Ramires has always been a great utility player, adept in many positions around the pitch and a perfect man to have on the bench, but is his sale part of a bigger picture?
Youth finally getting the nod?
Chelsea have repeatedly been the target of criticism due to their stockpiling of youth players without offering much in the way of first team game time, but the departure of Ramires offers a real opportunity for several youngsters.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is the main beneficiary, already on the fringes of the first team, with Ramires gone, he can now expect to be the primary deputy for the defensive midfield position behind Nemanja Matic and John Obi Mikel. Tall, comfortable on the ball and physically intimidating, the England U21 international has all the correct attributes to fulfil that role.
Another two players that stand to gain are, Bertrand Traore and Charly Musonda. A winger and an attacking midfielder respectively, the two have shown real promise for Chelsea's U21's. Traore has already made a first team appearance this season but with Ramires gone, will no doubt have more involvement.
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