I thought we’d have appointed the new manager by the time I publish the next blog. The blog is here. The manager is not. If rumours are to be believed (of course, we believe them), Guus Hiddink will slip through the legal and contractual requirements and make himself available for a Chelsea role shortly.
Luckily for Guus, the media has been kind. If it happens to the managers that some love to hate, the world would have melted down. When Turkey appointed Guus as their manager, they had done so with a dream. Guus is the man who makes a living out of turning dreams into reality. Turkey have been improving steadily in Euro. The last time they made it till the semi finals. With a magician like Guus, they might have dreamt of going for gold.
If I were a fan of Turkish national football team, I’d be totally pissed off with Guus’ behaviour. I might have called him unethical and unfair. Even his idea of flirting with the Chelsea offer while he has unfinished business with Turkey and right in the middle of European qualifiers, would have been unacceptable.
But then, I’m no Turkey fan. As far as I’m concerned, I’m willing to smuggle him to England to take up a Chelsea role. Yes, it wasn’t the most ideal back drop with his involvement with Turkey and the ‘halfway-throughness’ of their Euro campaign. You can’t blame Guus. He’s got a call from his close friend. And when Roman makes an offer, I’d imagine that it’d be an offer that you cannot refuse.
I’m still in two minds whether I’d want him to be our manager though. I quite like the idea of Guus as the football director or any role that links the manager and the owner. Even if Guus is to take the manager job, I hope it’s for one season or so and then we find the young, hungry and ambitious manager during that time.
Meanwhile, Terry has named Hughes as a potential candidate or at least that’s what I infer from his comments. My initial reaction is quite blank. I don’t know if Sparky’s involvement is a good or bad thing for us. If Guus is going to be in a senior role, I guess grade B managers can also make the cut. Right now, I think it’s not a possibility and his resignation from Fulham is really a coincidence.
Some interesting football news in the last week. Fernando Torres finding the net for Spain is one. That was a neat goal by Nando. It was a very good ball to set the goal up and it was a neat finish. Good for him.
The other big news is that our reserve team is moving to Hamburg. Frank Arensen is buying them all up. Just when we thought that Chelsea must offload our old players, Chelsea FC does the exact opposite. Gokhan Tore, Jacopo Sala and Michael Mancienne have now moved to Hamburger SV. Now Arsnesen is also looking to land Bruma. There was a rumour that Josh might also be joining them.
I don’t quite know the exact terms of these transfers. One of these is a loan. The others could even possibly be with a buy back option, which is acceptable for me. In that case, sending them over to Hamburger SV is a million times better than having them play in the championship. Of all the top European leagues, the Bundesliga is what can be the closest to the premier league in terms of style and approach. They are not identical or similar, but they are the closest to the premier league type of football. Secondly, these players will get to play at a top league against some really good oppositions. They’d only be matured by playing a different league/country and if they come back, sure they’d come back wiser than returning from Crystal Palace (no offence!).
This whole episode of offloading youth players to Hamburger SV proves a few things. (a) Frank Arnesen still has a good relationship with Chelsea FC, contrary to the belief of some of us. (b) With so many players moving, we could be eyeing for more youth players (c) We can look forward to Hamburger SV to return our favour at some point in time.
While some see this as a failure of a youth project, I don’t agree. How many top teams (except Barca) have brought players through their academy in the last 5 seasons? How many did Arsenal bring in? None. How many did Man Utd bring in? One or two and no one so remarkable. How many did Liverpool, Spurs, Man City, Real Madrid produce? Not every young player in the club is a product of their academy. If Bertrand and Josh make it to the first team next season, that’s good output in my eyes.
The youth project will be only half fulfilled by the academy and the other half lies with the reserve and first team manager in integrating these young players, giving them the confidence and grooming them to be better players at high level. If we think our youth project is a failure, equal blame should be lying with the first team managers as well. Before someone starts making some silly comments let me clarify that I refer to Mourinho, Grant, Scolari, Hiddink, Ancelotti – all of them and plus the club’s expectations and directions.
Even if we had a 15-year old Messi in our youth team, he would still have light up the reserves league and would have gone on loan to a championship team and would have ‘broken into’ our first team at 24 by getting the last 5 minutes of some inconsequential matches. I’m not joking here. Suppose we got 15-year old Messi. Do you think we would have developed him into what he’s today? I don’t think so. Let’s get some perspective when it comes to youth players and their development.
Staying with ‘squad changes’, no new players yet. I think we are waiting for the appointment of the manager or football director to move ahead with players. Lukaku looks like a done deal. Sneijder is rumoured to be the top choice of Guus. I’d love to get Neymar in to replace Kalou and Anelka. Anyway, I think we might have to wait to see some action in this front. Let’s sort the manager vacancy first.