Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Essien Replacement Just As Important As Creative Need

http://footballstreams.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/michael-essien.jpgPartially ignored perhaps, as more exciting news catches the attention, what was originally a search for a luxury midfield player has turned into an even more pressing quest for a Ghanaian's replacement.

Haunted by injuries over the past few years, Michael Essien's dreams of a completed 2011/12 season were dashed several days ago, as a serious knee problem ruled him out for six months. With wishes of a swift recovery from teammates and reports of a successful surgery abound, Essien embarks on a grueling recovery process, one which will be matched in labor only by the efforts of the men upstairs to acquire a suitable replacement.

While the Luka Modric saga drags on, Chelsea would do well to turn their attentions to a new holding midfield player; even if Essien had stayed fit, his age and chronic knee problems should have been enough to prompt action on the transfer front.

Mind you, replacing Essien will not be easy, the Ghanaian international combines dynamism with technique; the ability to perfectly time a crunching tackle, as well as smash home volleys from thirty-five yards.

Joao Moutinho of Porto has been linked (along with all of Villas Boas' former charges) with a move to Stamford Bridge, though he wouldn't quite be a like for like replacement, Moutinho is perhaps a little more suited to an attacking role than the injured Michael Essien.

No, Chelsea must make sure that they secure a player of equal calibre to Essien in the position that he plays, a strong holding midfielder has been so crucial to the Chelsea cause over the past few years. At one point it seemed that Jon Obi Mikel would be able to fill in for fellow African Essien, but his problems with consistency have made starting the Nigerian on a frequent basis a risk. Ramires too, has flattered to decieve at times, putting in too many erratic displays to be trusted with Essien's starting spot.

There are several players currently available that would fit the bill for Chelsea, Lassana Diarra was left out of Real Madrid's squad for their tour of the United States, and men like Sven Bender of Dortmund are also attracting interest from a number of parties.

Whether Chelsea will choose to splurge a large sum of money on a high profile player like Diarra or Bender remains to be seen, with financial fair play rules set to be instituted in the near future, more clubs are focussing on promotion from within, so perhaps an academy graduate could emerge to take over the defensive midfield position.

The importance of securing an adequate holding midfield player is likely to become even more apparent if the Blues' long term interest in Luka Modric leads to a transfer; the Croatian needs support from behind of the sort that Wilson Palacios and Sandro provided him at Spurs. By no means an asset in defense, Modric must be complemented by a strong presence in midfield, or Chelsea will be overrun.

Who should Chelsea sign to replace Essien?

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