Chelsea, Shevchenko and the price of playing fantasy football

One day they’re quoting Shevchenko as saying that he’s prepared to leave Chelsea, the next day Chelsea deny these claims saying that Sheva has been misquoted in a Russian rag.

What’s going on?

Here’s what Shevchenko was reported to have said:

“I feel at home and it’s felt like my team for a long time but unfortunately my game doesn’t suit Mourinho.

Roman Abramovich is my friend but all he could do was insist on a loan deal instead of me being sold.

But if it happens, I am ready to pack my bags. I’m a completely self-confident person. If I don’t suit somebody then I’ll go back to Italy and prove how good I can still be.”

Sounded bollocks yesterday, and sounds like bollocks today as well. But despite the fact that Chelsea say Sheva was misinterpreted, the issue does remind us of the circumstances under which Shevchenko came to Chelsea.

Questions raised then, as now, were on how much of a say Mourinho had in Shevchenko’s and Ballack’s arrivals at Stamford Bridge. They looked like superstar signings, not the young, talented signings Mourinho has usually made with an attempt to build a team for the future. They didn’t fit the pattern, so people talked, and questioned.

Sheva and Abramovich’s friendship has never been hidden, neither has been Roman’s hand in bringing Shevchenko to Chelsea. Mourinho, to his credit, has done a remarkable job in keeping the players in the squad and playing with them. Chelsea’s width has been compromised, but they’re still going strong thanks to the discipline and tactics instilled by Mourinho.

Sheva’s future? I don’t think he will be loaned out or sold this year. Maybe after the next year. There IS a chance though, that Chelsea will either shop for a younger striker, or elevate Kalou to more regular games by the end of the season, and then use Sheva as an impact player.

That’s assuming that Shevchenko doesn’t fire on all cylinders. Right now, it’s too early to say if he’s failed, and there’s too much class in those feet to count against them scoring more goals this season.

Precisely the sort of BS Chelsea didn’t need before meeting Arsenal at Stamford Bridge – even though everyone is predicting a relatively easy win for Chelsea.

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