Chelsea blog PlainsOfAlmeria.co.uk relaunched on Thursday this week, so I had a quick few words with editor Joe Tweeds about his hopes for the coming season.
1. Firstly, congratulations on the relaunch of the PlainsOfAlmeria.co.uk, what are your hopes for the new season?
Thanks a lot! Has been a long time coming and trying to coordinate something across four continents has faced its challenges! Personally, I just want to see the development of the side. I am seeing this as a two year project. The likes of Hazard, Mata and Oscar to solidify their reputations and De Bruyne, van Ginkel and Lukaku to create theirs.
I would love a top two finish and a strong showing in Europe. We will probably nick a cup under Mourinho as well. Very optimistic, but I still think we could have done a lot more in the transfer window to really cement ourselves back at the top table. In my eyes a centre back, athletic quality in the holding role and more worryingly a world class centre forward should have been added.
2. Many pundits have tipped Chelsea as title favourites under Jose Mourinho, where do you think we’ll finish in the league?
I personally think we will finish second this season. Though, that is dependent on City. They have options up front that we can only really dream of and I would do a lot to take someone like Agüero from them. They are, however, a team that still plays as a collection of good players. I do not genuinely see the same level of spirit or desire there. Will Pellegrini adapt to the Premier League? Only time will tell.
3. Chelsea’s key player this season?
I am going to buck the trend and say Fernando Torres. No, not because I think he is going to return to former glories, but because so many of our issues seem to stem from his presence in the squad. His attempt at adapting to playing as a deeper lying forward have not worked as he doesn’t have the skillset to achieve that. Likewise, he seems to have lost all ability to gamble and play on the shoulder of the opposition. How Mourinho handles the obvious elephant in the room when he has a capable, but incredibly raw, Lukaku in the wings will be key.
4. Do you see any youngsters making a breakthrough?
From the academy? Maybe Nathan Aké will get a few games. I really like the look of him as a midfielder and think he needs to start playing there more regularly in his own age group. If we are counting anyone under 23 as a youngster then I do not know where to start. Exciting times given who we have in charge and the potential within this young squad.
5. What is your view on the Wayne Rooney saga that has dominated the headlines this summer?
Perhaps quite vocal in not being a fan about it. The fact we are after a striker with too many questions surrounding him is enough for me to not particularly want him. We have been here before – purchasing someone on the back of some questionable form in hope rather than expectation. Realistically it has already driven a wedge in the United squad and Moyes is being shown well out of his depth in terms of his handling of the situation.
6. How do you grade Chelsea’s transfer business so far, do we need to strengthen further?
Briefly touched upon earlier, but I genuinely think it’s a mixed bag. Clearly buys like van Ginkel are astute and look akin to robbery, the fact Schürrle is our biggest spend is worrying considering the activity in the market. I do think the German will surprise a lot of people this season, but when your biggest spend is someone who is not going to command a starting spot straight away, I think that says a lot. I wanted a megastar forward and genuinely feel that we have missed a trick with both Falcao and Cavani. I also really fancied Aubameyang, who recently joined Dortmund. Would like to see us sign a centre back and a midfielder, but centre forward remains a priority.