I read the other day that Mourinho referred to Cech and Terry as the best keeper and best defender in the world, and that instead of buying replacements in January he was looking forward to welcome his ‘best’ duo back in action for Chelsea.
While both players are certainly contenders for being the best in their respective positions (despite Terry’s less than stellar performances for England), it’s Mourinho’s approach that makes me wonder.
Have Chelsea let their obsession with being the best come in the way of being good enough to win the Premiership and the Champions League?
There are two sides to this – on one hand, ‘good enough’ often turns out to be insufficient, and sometimes you really do need the best players in that position (Saha is good enough to replace Ruud but United still need to buy a world-class striker (or hope that Rossi gets going)).
On the other hand, buying the ‘best’ player does not mean you’re buying the ‘best fit’ for your side.
Andriy Shevchenko (common scapegoat in such discussions) quite possibly held the reputation of being the one of the best strikers in the world when he came to Chelsea. He’s not getting better, and he’s not getting younger. Imagine if Chelsea had bought a Defoe, or a Kuyt, or a Villa, or even a Torres. Go for qualities that are needed in the Premiership as opposed to buying on reputation.
Have Chelsea become too obsessed with being the best? I don’t think that Mourinho suffers from such delusions, regardless of his interviews. Ditto for the players. Chelsea as an institution, however, I’m not so sure of.
Hindsight’s always 20-20, but we were (at least I was) doubting the worth of Boulahrouz (who’s not half bad), Sheva, Mikel and Kalou before they played for Chelsea.
Players should be given more time, so I guess that KB will get better, and that Kalou and Mikel will improve (Mikel does have great ball skills).
But considering Chelsea’s position last summer, it seems to be that they went for the ‘best’ foreign imports for each key position (young striker, proven striker, central defender and young midfielder).
Less pricier, and more accomplished (and even less talented) options were available. Why weren’t they taken?
I don’t think Chelsea will ‘buy’ this January – they don’t need to. I don’t think Mourinho would want to bring new players in at such a crucial time – with Terry coming back against Wigan and Cech and Robben coming back before the Liverpool game, Chelsea will be almost full-strength (Cole and KB will still be out) before 20th Jan.
Or will their obsession with being the best force their hand?