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Posted by Phil Lythell on 06/05/2012

The last 15 years have seen Chelsea emerge from being a mid-table top flight team into a club renowned around the world. The last step on that path was taken when the European Cup was hoisted aloft by Frank Lampard and co on a heady night in Munich.

As a reward for the last nine years of toil in the Champions League, the victory felt appropriate but more than just engraving the name of Chelsea Football Club in the annals of the sport’s history, this seminal achievement has done more than anything to shape the future of CFC. Didier Drogba’s decisive penalty has paved the way for his successors hopefully to enjoy yet more glorious days rather than scrub around in the Europa League and see preferred transfer targets opt to join rivals instead.

Many numbers have been quoted on the impact that THAT penalty has had on Chelsea’s finances with £95m being one of the headier figures mentioned. What is clear is that the prize money for winning the competition (around £49m), related matchday revenue and ensuing sponsorship deals struck with companies keen to be associated with success could not be more gratefully received given the need to balance the books in the wake of the Financial Fair Play rules being implemented by UEFA. There have even been murmurings within the corridors of Stamford Bridge that Chelsea might be on course to reach their target of breaking even in their next financial results, something that has always been thought to be extremely unlikely given the largesse of the Roman Abramovich years.

However, that might just be a blip of financial prudence seeing that the purse strings are being loosened once more. The £32m signing of Eden Hazard is enough to excite any fan of the club though is not as surprising as some may believe. Yes, the Belgium international has fluttered his eyes at just about any club that has come calling at his door but Chelsea’s interest has been set in stone for the past 18 months. The scrap over his signature was thought to be solely between Premier League champions Manchester City and their bitter rivals Manchester United but the Champions League final changed all that. Chelsea had courted Hazard in the previous three transfer windows with huge offers having been rejected both last summer and in January this year. The commitment shown by the Blues was rewarded by his decision to move to SW6 once their participation in Europe’s elite club competition was assured for next season. Many have derided the young star as a mercenary but in fact he has shown a degree of loyalty in joining the club that has pursued him most actively.

Playing alongside Hazard at Stamford Bridge in August could be FC Porto’s Hulk and should that eventuality occur, headline writers everywhere will be licking their lips. The Guardian newspaper is convinced that a £38m deal has been agreed for the Brazilian which seems like an incredible amount of money for a player who has shone only in the Portuguese Primeira Liga. Having said that, Porto president Jorge Pinto Da Costa has a reputation for negotiating eye-watering transfer fees and has often extracted them from Chelsea so we shouldn’t be surprised. Ricardo Carvalho joined for almost £20m along with £13m Paulo Ferreira in 2004. While both of those transfers – particularly the former - reaped substantial benefits for Chelsea, the same could not be said of the last transaction between the clubs when Abramovich handed over another £13m to bring Andre Villas-Boas to London. That deal did not produce the expected results and while the jury is currently out on the Porto forward, the potential of playing Hulk, Hazard and Mata – not to mention this summer’s first signing, Marko Marin – behind Fernando Torres is an exhilarating prospect.

There are likely to be others also signing on the dotted line at Stamford Bridge with Ajax’s Gregory van der Wiel being heavily tipped to be the next acquisition. With Jose Bosingwa having been released by the club the need for a right back is clear even if Branislav Ivanovic has excelled in that position over the last two years. Competition for places is the bedrock of a successful team and the presence of the young Holland international would do just that as well as provide a more dynamic attacking option.

These hefty outlays have also disproved one of the great theories espoused by those who yearn for the downfall of Chelsea. The club have relentlessly been referred to as “Roman Abramovich’s play-thing”, something that the Russian will get bored of once he achieves his goal of Champions League glory. Those accusations could not be more wrong. In the dressing room in Munich after the match, Abramovich delivered a speech which stated that the victory was just the start of what he hoped would be an era laden with silverware. This rhetoric has now been backed up with the signing of the most exciting and highly sought-after young player in Europe.

With more signings appearing on the horizon, there can be no questioning Abramovich’s long-term commitment to the club to the delight of all of us that support the Champions of Europe and to the annoyance of everybody else.

You can read more of Phil's opinions at or on Twitter @PhilLythell

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Posted by spotty on 06/05/2012

Personally I would not worry much about those envious folks.We the Blues fans know better.

Posted by yan aung paing on 06/05/2012

chelsea need ajax defender jan vertonghen, midfielder christian eriken , porto striker hulk and lucas moura. now we got eden hazard and marko marin. team line-up should be like this - GK-cech,DEFENDERS-ivanovic,luiz,terry(c),cole DMF-cahill,MIDFIELDER-hazard,mata,ramires,STRIKER-torres,hulk . SUBSTITUTE-marin,bertrand,de bruyne,piazon,vertonghen.

Posted by mats on 06/05/2012

I continue to wonder how this club are going to meet the home-grown rules without compromising... by which I mean including players in the 25 who will never see match action and foregoing some depth that they could actually make use of when injuries and tiredness mounts up.

Posted by Shanshy on 06/05/2012

CFC dont need to add any RWB cause they have Hutchison and Ramires to deputise for Ivanovic

Posted by David bassey on 06/05/2012

Chelsea should by sagna at arsenal

Posted by olawale on 06/05/2012

chelsea are showing they still have more to offer with this singing,i hope hulk sing in time and i wud like to see a 4_2_3-.1 formation invoiling cech,ivanovic,terry luiz,cole mikel,lampard,mata,harzard,hulk and torres

Posted by Austino on 06/05/2012

Im so happy for my darling club.Can't wait for the next season to commence.Hazard will be harzardous to many deffenders,Torres will be terrible as well while hulk will be incredible.Im salivating.

Posted by MM on 06/05/2012

Manchester United is owned by First Allied Corporation in America. Manchester City is owned by a Sheikh. Any fan from either of those clubs can piss off with the Chelski commments because Roman's more English at this point than either of their ownership groups. At least Roman attends lives in London, attends games, and seems genuinely thrilled by the game. At least he puts his money where his heart is and spends the way any die hard fan would. Blues fans need to come up with some funny nicknames for American-owned Manchester United and Sheikh-owned Man City now. Anybody want to have a go at either?

Posted by 'dami on 06/05/2012

.....And the loosers are, the young lads at the academy.

Posted by Arnold Alabere on 06/05/2012

Seriously people need to shut their mouth at times. Now its home grown players that are their problem so here they are. 1.Ross Turnbull, 2.Gary Cahil, 3.John Terry, 4.Ashley Cole, 5.Frank Lampard, 6.Samuel Hutchinton, 7.Daniel Sturridge, 8.Josh McEchrean, 9.Nathan Chalobah, 10.Ryan Bethrand. If the rumours are true about Theo Walcot, Jay Simpson and Jack Rodwell that gives Chelsea FC at least 12-13 English players in the Chelsea FC ranks and don't forget other youth players coming through. So before you start talking trash, think deep and hard, that reminds me how many english players are in Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool and Newcastle that you wont let Chelsea be. Just because your not happy with Chelsea's success doesn't mean you won't say the truth when required. Please stop the HATE CRIMES cos you embarrassing yourself.

Posted by Alawiye Adedeji on 06/05/2012

Chelsea must seal Hulk deal as early as possible den van der weil dat's all

Posted by Tivkaa Sonnen on 06/05/2012

I have neva doubted Roman on his ability to transform Chelsea to a more formidable Club. I am just delighted for the activeness and activities of the transfer market. I can't wait for the start of the season so I can see the possibility of Chelsea defending the Champons league cum contending for EPL. UP BLUES.

Posted by Ogie on 06/05/2012

i tink chelsea should make hulk their last signing and make uses of reseverd players to complete the rebuld team.chels 4 life till mum sey she doseing like me

Posted by Anthony on 06/05/2012

I wonder what hope the likes of Hutchinson, piason,Choloboah, Mcechran and other wonderful talent CFC has invested on,have of making first team?
Mind you I would wish as a loyal fan,Van d wiel and hulk join our ranks.
Am more interested in balancing the act of buying established stars and giving opportunities to young talents from our acedemy/ reserves.

Posted by mats on 06/05/2012

woah there, someone had a bad day or something? Worrying about the homegrown rule is not "hate" or "trash" but genuine worry - hey it's my favored club too. I think you can fairly expect that not all of Hutchinson, McEachran, Chalobah will be in the 25-man roster, someone will likely go out on loan, or leave. Which would make it a bit tight. There's two aspects to consider - Prem rules and UEFA rules. Prem is easier; UEFA rules require four "home grown at club". Last year Bertrand and Lukaku fell afoul of this rule. Bertrand should be in the "club" category but he's been out on loan so much UEFA only consider him "trained in nation". Neither ended up on the fall Champions League registration list; if I remember from when that list came out, Chelsea only registered 22 instead of 25, since they didn't have four "home grown at club" players they had to leave three slots empty instead. Cahill's arrival helped, but not with "club" category.

Posted by Vince on 06/05/2012

I really like & appreciate what Roman has done for the club! Its great to have such owner at our club, we are very fortunate!(He is,I think #50 something on worlds richest list). I trust he'll continue doing it for years to come! I do think other clubs are jealous that our wealth have turned into great success.(If I'm not mistaken, 11 or 12 trophies in 8 years). If there is one thing I don't like about Chelsea, is the fact that we have the best youngsters and all have potential to be the best in the world but they won't, they won't get enough game time at this great club and will eventually be sold to mediocre clubs like Stoke, Wigan etc. But as much as I would like for us to use them, like everyone, I'd like for us to have only the best. If we get Hulk, with Hazard, we should get vd Wiel. Play 433/451. Cech. vd Wiel,Luiz,Terry,Cole. Mikel,Ramires,Mata,Hazard,Hulk. Torres. (Mikel holds,Mata creative,Ramires runs boks2boks,he's got the legs,Hazard & Hulk out wide & push forward in 433.

Posted by Vince on 06/05/2012

Would like to address the 'homegrown' issue. If we get Hulk & vd Wiel, our squad without any England players will be:

Cech, Hilario
Vd Wiel, Ivanovic, Luiz,
Mikel, Romeu, Essien, Meireles, Ramires, Mata, Malouda, Hazard, Marin
Torres, Hulk, Lukaku

That's only 17, which leaves 8 places to fill a squad of 25.
Then England players who qualifies as 'homegrown':

Hutchinson, Gordon, Cahill, Terry, Cole, Bertrand
McEachren, Lampard, Chalobah
Sturridge, Bamford

That's 12. Now I know not all will make the cut but if we take 8, say in Turnbull, Hutchinson, Cahill, Terry, Cole, Bertrand, Lampard, Sturridge..

Together with our foreign players, just imagine:

Cech, Turnbull, Hilario
Vd Wiel, Hutchinson, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Terry, Bertrand, Cole
Mikel, Romeu, Essien, Meireles, Ramires, Lampard, Mata, Hazard, Malouda, Marin
Sturridge, Hulk, Torres, Lukaku

With unlimited U21 players like v Aanholt, McEachren, Piazon, Kakuta, Bamford...etc.., we will have a Very Very good squad!!!

Posted by Elnino on 06/05/2012

why are people turnin a blind eye on studge? at one point last season he was our best player,the only guy we could turn to for goals.okay he is a bit selfish but so is hulk! pliz studge deserves a bit more credit,remember it was his first full season in the epl(playin regularly),remember how he got us a point at white fart lane? hw he won us the game vs man city,hw he tormented evra and clichy? hw he earned us an fa cup replay vs birmingham,i dont want us to regret later!

Posted by Kingsley Edet on 06/05/2012

Chelsea still need to buy a left winger to strike a balance in the midfield

Posted by Victor on 06/06/2012

Up chel, hazard is a gd.

Posted by Ron on 06/06/2012

Ambramovich better be careful his ambition doesn't end up imploding th CHelsea organization. I applaud his efforts to bring a more exciting "tika taka" style to Stamford Bridge, but he has to keep in mind that this is NOT the only style of football that breeds success.... He also needs to be careful NOT to alienate the guys who are already familiar with and have been groomed in this system.....

Posted by jonathan akpos on 06/06/2012

Roman is trying his best to build this ageing squard.

Posted by Joe Gwambe on 06/06/2012

Wit the exit of drogba, chelsea need a stricker in person of hulk, also wit the exit of bosingwa, gregory van da weil should be welcomed. I think those are the two signin chelsea needs after signin hazard and marin.

Posted by Tom west on 06/06/2012

Yanks United
Dubai City
In response to MM's comment

Posted by Fumba Janga on 06/06/2012

chelsea needs to sign hulk to support torres and chelsea needs to play with formation to enable them score more goals 4.2.4 terry luzi cole ivanonic ,mikel hazard , hulk marin mata torres.

Posted by Sdamy on 06/06/2012

After Hulk signing, we still need modric, falcao, Nick Powell, VD and Cavani and then call it incredible season

Posted by Chinoble on 06/06/2012

Chelsea need falcao, di maria ,van d weil, tioti,luka moura ,and cavani they should sign all this players so that stanford bridge wil be unbreakable as it b4 but the mostly important player is left side di maria,midfielder luca moura, weil and falcao they abramovic should break bank to get all this players i mentioned

Posted by Chinoble on 06/06/2012

Chelsea should make sure they sell bosingwa replace by weil,maluda rp by di maria ,essien rp by moura thanks

Posted by JD on 06/07/2012

Wow. The people commenting on this blog are either beyond stupid, or completely ignorant of economics. Van der Wiel would be a solid signing. The assclown that suggested that Ramires could deputize there is off his rocker. So is the kid that thinks di Maria is a reasonable target.

Posted by Chinoble on 06/07/2012

Chelsea pls go for moura ,falcao,weil,di maria and cavani and also marcelo to help a.cole

Posted by TD on 06/07/2012

Is it just me who remains unconvinced by Mata, just like I was when everyone was waxing lyrical about Sturridge early on?

BTW, Phil, why do we seem to always pay more (>$25m) for similar quality players than MANU, e.g. Lukaku, Hazard vs Chicharito, Kagawa; and now Hulk?

I also thought our 4-nil drubbing by Lvpool in that dead rubber gave us enough to off-load more players and raise funds to deepen the squad. There were still CL final sub jerseys to play for but a lot of players proved they were not even worthy of being squad players.

If City are off-loading Dezeko I wouldn't mind us buying him cheaper than Hulk. IMO, with all our eggs in Torres' basket we will definitely be lightweight upfront.

Posted by Daniel on 06/09/2012

I tink, cfc shud buy hulk to suport torres nd vd weil to suport ivanovic at r. Back, cfc shud play a 4-2-3-1 formation, wit ivanovic terry luiz cole, in defence nd mikel nd lampard in dmf, then hazard, mata nd hulk, den tores up front, dis wud b fantastic

Posted by moses on 06/09/2012

Hulk might be a good replacement †☺ pair with toRres. I foresee a conflict I̶̲̥̅̊n̶̲̥̅̊ the midfield bcos there are many players who play I̅there. Mikel and merilles essien even ramires at the DMF. Lampard,marco marin, mata maloda, macecran, ramires, merilles and hazard †☺ be as well the midfield. I pray there won't be problem. The defence migght be better though. I pray chelsea flourish dis coming season. Proudly Blues from nigeria

Posted by fidel on 06/10/2012

My take here is we buy only6foreigners(hazard,hulk,falcao,tiote,modric-to help mata and van der viel) and 2 english players(adam johnson and Rodwell)

Posted by rocks willy on 06/17/2012

You guys are ***** we don't need hulk at all give sturridge is rightful position as a striker along side torres n give lukaku some playing time. Leave Josh at swansea until january n get modric n ven der weil that's it hazard n marin are enough already. Its time to let malouda,kalou, ferrira, n maybe merieles to say good by to SW6 n maybe even Essein if he can't get his knees back

Posted by Obayomi adeoye. Adetunji on 06/21/2012

I thank God 4 signing eden hazard 4 chelsea and l pray dat we wil get hulk by d end of d day. Up chelsea.

Posted by olii woticha on 06/27/2012

Spain will win 2;0 because they can show real foot ball to world

Posted by manu kelechi aka kcyoo on 07/07/2012

cfc should buy modric n leave hulk it wil bring more creativity n team work i chelsea

Posted by prince on 07/12/2012

seems our midfield is gettn ovacrowded. Certain elements r surplus 2 requirements. D lyks of malouda, an injury-plagued essien, a barely above average meireles, and a certain ferreira shuld all b let go create more elbow room n let d younger ones develop, inject more pace n flair into our play.
Hulk would b a good acquisition but it shldnt b a do or die thing as of now. I believe lukaku has a lot of quality 2 bring, but he has to get mo playin tym. We stil hav a certain sturridge whose game jst needs a little polishin. Nobody can deny his quality.

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Phil Lythell Phil Lythell is a Chelsea season ticket holder and lifelong Blues supporter stretching back to the sepia-tinted days of Kerry Dixon and Pat Nevin. Author of Chelsea-centric blog, Phil has spent his entire life living within a 20 minute walk of Stamford Bridge which has cost him a fortune but has also kept him from those interminable queues outside Fulham Broadway Station giving him more time in the pub to discuss the latest glorious/calamitous/insipid match.

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