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Boys of summer
The season may be over, but the next couple of months are going to be busy ones for managers as they try and do business during the transfer window. We get the lowdown from Tony Cascarino.
Tony Cascarino, 06 Jun 2007
Jose Mourinho has already pulled off a coup by getting Steve Sidwell on a free from Reading, which won’t have gone down well with his mate Arsene Wenger who let him leave Highbury for a pittance.
Things can change overnight, but according to my Chelsea contacts Mourinho will still be the Chelsea manager next season, and will perservere with both Michael Ballack and Andriy Shevchenko. No one’s going to pay Chelsea anywhere near what they shelled out for Shevchenko last year, and I don’t think they’ll loan out a player who could still conceivably come good.
Don’t forget that Shevchenko had just had an ankle operation when he arrived at the Bridge, and didn’t get a proper pre-season, which he will this year. Nothing’s going to bring that lost yard of pace back, but fully fit he’s still a fantastic option to have.
My contacts also tell me that Chelsea mightn’t be quite as determined to hang on to Frank Lampard as he obviously thinks they are given his stalling over a new contract.
If Lampard doesn’t score, which he hasn’t of late, how much does he offer Chelsea as a midfielder? His performances over the last third of the season were mediocre, and if he delivers a “give me £150,000 a week or I leave” ultimatum he might not get the answer he wants.
Mourinho’s got a lot of big players coming back from injury, so I think the majority of his signings will be players like Steve Sidwell who’ll be cover for the squad, and soften the blow of losing Drogba, Essien, Mikel, Geremi and Kalou for six weeks next January when they go off to the African Cup of Nations.
Liverpool have already let it be known that they’re going to be spending big. Agger and Carragher are solid, but not the absolutely top notch defensive duo you need to win the Premiership. If I was Rafael Benitez, I’d have signed Jonathan Woodgate last season from Real Madrid, and would now be bidding for Ledley King. They could also do with a bit more pace up front, and less of Craig Bellamy’s antics. I think they’ll let him go, and see if they can pick up an Andy Johnson type of player.