After a lengthy wait of 4 years, the Barclays Premier League Trophy has once again returned to the fortress that it once was, and is yet considered to be, Stamford Bridge. The Home of Chelsea Football Club.
These last 4 years have been nothing less than frantic, being one of the most hectic years for the Club in its entire history. However two things have remained the same through this tumultuous period- The Owner and importantly the majority of the First team players. The Nucleus of the Team yet enterprises of those that "The Special One" had put together. This is something even he has not yet managed to disintegrate, nor have the riches or Real Madrid and Manchester City, despite the Millions of Carrots drawn by them in their desperate bids to lure away our Captain John Terry last season.
Five Managers in four years would suggest grave instability at a club, in the midst of a crisis, and suffering from the wrath of a disillusioned and confused board. However this has been far from reality as the flipside to this so called deemed crisis is that those 4 years have bought the club 6 trophies, 6 more than Arsenal and 5 more than Liverpool. These 5 years have come a long way in making the club self sufficient to a large extent, keeping in mind UEFA's Fair Play Policy, to be implemented by the 2014-15 season, dealing with Financial Irregularities of clubs. The 2009-10 League and Cup Double Winners are only the 7th team to have achieved this feat, needless to say, this summer will require a lot to be done, if the club have to put up a fight for silverware on all four fronts next Season.
What Chelsea need to do this summer is firstly keep hold of their first team, barring a few fringe and aging players that may be needed to be cleared out at the close of every season as a regularity at the top football clubs of today. It goes without saying that Chelsea will be facing stiff competition this summer from a certain team from Madrid. With Jose Mourinho on the verge of signing for Real Madrid, who have already shown the entire universe last season of what they are capable of, Chelsea will have to be on guard. Robbing Manchester United of the services of then World Player of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo for a staggering 80 million pounds was the highlight of last summer. This only suggests that with Mourinho tipped to be installed boss at the Santiago Bernabaue, it will only be a Tougher challenge for Chelsea to hold on to the core of their team. This is the bare minimum the Chelsea Board will need to do if a challenge has to be made to emulate the successes of this season and have another crack at Europe's Most Coveted Prized possession, The Champions League crown.
The senior faces in the Chelsea Dressing Room, in footballing terms "Chelsea Pensioners" have shown Sir Alex how it is to be done, 2 years after and 2 years older than when Sir Alex had termed the Chelsea Squad as an aging one, not capable Of challenging for the Premier League title, at the start of the 2008-09 season. What Carlo Ancelotti did that his predecessor, Luiz Felipe Scolari had not managed to do despite having very similar first few months at the club was to get the complete backing of the senior players of the team, sometimes Michael Ballack, Petr Cech and Frank Lampard who Had openly shown their displeasure at his training methods and casual lackluster approach. This was directly reflected in the big games, one of which also saw our 4 and a half year unbeaten home record at Stamford Bridge come to an end. The largest blunder made by Scolari was to leave out Didier Drogba and his belief that 2 youngsters in Miroslav Stoch and fellow South American Franco Disanto could offer him more than the mighty Ivorian, proved to be a slap on his face. Carlo Ancelotti has gone about backing the entire squad to perform exceptionally well and has delivered the goods with the existing stock he had. The faith and confidence in his existing players and the backing of the entire team, through the temporary FIFA transfer ban and allegations on the personal lives of our captain and full back, Ancelotti has retained the lively spirit inside the dressing room, ensuring that off the Field matter do not affect the on-field performance of the team and has led the club to its ever League and Cup double in its history. It is far from me to belittle the accomplishments by Jose Mourinho in his tenure at the Bridge. He was no doubt an exceptional manager and won the silverware to show this – though Ancelotti has done the same with a squad who is four years older and little changed from those times, his record at AC Milan was not to be sniffed at.
A winning combination is one that is created with much difficulty and as Chelsea have witnessed earlier, it takes great fortitude and endurance, combined with hard work, ethic and a great manager to create this combination. The harder battle is then retaining this combination, and Chelsea will need to dig deep in to their pockets to retain this champion material. This combination must only be supplemented and not replaced. Chelsea have to hold on to their key players and no swap or exchange deals for any of these stars must be entertained by the Chelsea board, however attractive they may be as a player having tasted victory at a club, can only attain greater heights and the Nucleus of this winning combination must not be disturbed. 103 goals in the Premier League is a record breaking feat, something no club has achieved since the 1961/62 season. Over the last couple of Seasons, a few players have been now worthy of being now referred to as "Mr. Chelsea", namely John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba to name a few. These Players have stuck together and stayed at the Club through thick and thin, only to echo the sentiment and belief that the Club is bigger than a player or manager.
Having an Alexander Pato or Sergio Aguero supplementing this side would be essential to go even another step further next season, come May 2011. With Ballack, Drogba and Lampard in their 30's and Deco luring towards Brazilian football, some established young legs would be indispensable to Chelsea. To summarize this, Michael Ballack should have offered an extension and contract negotiations should begin for Joe Cole and Nicolas Anelka, come the end of the World Cup, with Carlo Ancelotti already having started considering potential summer targets for the following campaign, with the future looking Ever so bright for the Blues!