news: Blueprint

At the end of Chelsea’s 2004/05 record breaking Premiership season, manager José Mourinho declared himself happy with his present squad, stating that no major acquisitions were planned for this summer.

Chief executive Peter Kenyon echoed these sentiments, declaring that owner Roman Abramovich’s millions would no longer be made available at will. Hogwash! The competition can only sit back and wonder as the dream team at Stamford Bridge continues to be enhanced by hand-picked superstars, money no object. Summer transfers have taken spending under Mourinho’s regime past the 150 million euro mark, a sum that will be almost doubled in one fell swoop should the Blues’ latest two targets arrive at Stamford Bridge. 45 million euros is on the table for Lyon’s young Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien and an incredible 90 million euros is the final bid for the top striker in the world, AC Milan’s Andrey Shevshenko, 29. Chelsea will face great internal strife once the domestic season gets under way. Star players are not museum pieces; they need to see action on the pitch especially in the run-up to a World Cup year. Many national side managers will only pick players who command regular first team places at club level. Chelsea, like everyone else, only has 11 of these. A sure recipe for discontent.

Meanwhile, Chelsea’s preseason tour of the US is going well. A Robben goal was enough to beat AC Milan in Foxboro while strikes from Duff and Crespo saw off DC United 2-1.