If the media is to be believed, Steve Sidwell is bound to show up as a Chelsea player on a Bosman by the end of next week.
This raises the all-important question – what the hell is Sidwell going to do at Chelsea, and why did he turn down Newcastle?
For starters, there’s the obvious – Chelsea are in the Champions League and will be challenging for all four trophies next season – he will get his chance to play at the top level.
There are shades of the Scott Parker and Shaun-Wright Phillips moves here – Moving to Chelsea with the hope of playing top-level football, these players essentially put their careers on hold. Parker, to be fair, got injured and by the time he came back there was no place for him in the starting lineup. SWP has taken a couple of years to get a good run in the squad, and that’s come about due to injuries to several players.
There are two other reasons – one, sacking Roeder meant that Newcastle had no one to talk to Sidwell about long-term team plans, etc. In effect, the Roeder move could have effectively pushed Sidwell to Chelsea.
Second, and this will hurt Newcastle fans the most, Newcastle are in the shits and unless there’s some clarity about the new manager and the players he’s going to bring in, you wouldn’t want to bet your career on them.
What will Sidwell do at Chelsea?
With Diarra, Obi Mikel, Essien, Lampard, Ballack and Makelele already playing central midfield, Sidwell will be the extra cog. However, we should keep in mind that Mikel and Essien will leave for a couple of months for the ANC, and Makelele will take an increasingly reserved role at Chelsea (assuming he’s not discarded this summer), so Mourinho will need a midfielder to bring in some backup throughout the season and especially during the months the ANC is being played.
However, Sidwell WILL be distinctly one for the squad / bench, not for the starting lineup. Considering that Chelsea’s bench is already very strong, Sidwell can be the long-term replacement (in terms of numbers) for Makelele, if nothing more.
Chelsea will make more important signings in the summer – especially in the strikers department. With Berbatov sticking to Tottenham, I doubt Chelsea will buy from within the Premiership. I wouldn’t mind seeing them play Scott Sinclair and Ben Sahar more often next season – both of them are good prospects and along with one good striker coming in, should be enough cover for Drogba and Kalou.