This season we saw players come and go: club heroes; lots of loanees; and players wanting to come in and make an impact. In this article, we will be talking about the departures and acquisitions Chelsea made both last summer and this past January.
Paulo Ferreira – Despite not playing every week and struggling with injuries, Paulo Ferreira joined Chelsea in 2004 and stayed until this past season. With just a single goal scored against Blackburn, he’s recently become a forgotten man at Chelsea. This being said, he’s won it all with the club from Premier League to FA Cup to League Cup to Champions League. We now have to bid farewell to Paulo and wish him luck in his future.
Florent Malouda – Where do you start with him? He’s been a vital key to Chelsea’s success since he joined the club in 2007. Playing as one of the best left wingers in the world for an extended period of time, he scored 35 goals with his gifted left foot for the club. He also appeared in the Champions League final against Munich. Despite Villas Boas not picking him at Chelsea, Di Matteo gave him a few more games; this one was by far the biggest. He now plays at Trabzonspor and we thank him for the success and trophies he helped us acquire throughout his years at Chelsea.
Kevin De Bruyne – Acquired from Genk in 2012, he looked to be a steal. But, with Oscar, Hazard, and Moses being brought in that summer and Juan Mata still at the club, game time didn’t look very likely. Chelsea decided to loan him back to Genk. After that he came back to Chelsea and shortly after, he was sent back on loan to Werder Bremen where he was very impressive. At the beginning of this past season, Mourinho gave him his chance. Mourinho gave him a few more chances, but the Belgian failed to impress Jose and was then sold to Wolfsburg. Good luck to Kevin in the future.
Michael Essien – A club legend, he hit wonder goals vs Barcelona and Arsenal during his career at Chelsea. Joining from Lyon in 2005, Essien was brought in to bully and be a strong ball-winning defensive midfielder. He was that and more. From 2005, during the next few years he would be known worldwide as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. Going from box to box and scoring the occasional screamer, Essien was fun to watch. Unfortunately, his knees became weaker and struggling with injury he failed to get games. He was loaned to Real Madrid for the season in 2012-2013 and did well working with Mourinho again. He followed Mourinho back to Chelsea, but wasn’t given too many chances and he was unable to really impress. This past January he was sold to AC Milan and helped them in a shaky season. Again, thank you and good luck to Michael Essien, legend.
Juan Mata – This was the hardest one, I think, for Chelsea fans to swallow. Acquired from Valencia in 2011, he took the Premier League by storm and with Drogba and others got the club their first Champions League trophy in club history. The following season, Drogba left, but in came Oscar, and Hazard. This trio would be known as ‘Mazacar’. The trio did well despite being knocked out in the group stage of that year’s Champions League. The same season they went all the way and won the Europa League, largely in part by Mata and his influence.
At this time Mata was known as the best midfielder in Premier League. Unfortunately, Mourinho, the new Chelsea manager, did not see him as this, but instead as a lazy attacking midfielder, unwilling to work on both sides of the ball. He was given half the season and a few chances to prove himself but looked a bit tired and sluggish. He grew frustrated and asked the club if he could make a move elsewhere in order to get games ahead of the World Cup this summer. He was granted his request and in the biggest January transfer, joined Chelsea rivals, Manchester United. A big thank you to Juan and what he did for the club and good luck in the future. We truly couldn’t have done it without you.
Ashley Cole – Joining from Arsenal in 2006 in a controversial transfer between the rivals, he was already loved because that is a weird transfer to make. Now, eight years later, he is one of the old guard, one of our greatest legends. Not only is he the club’s greatest left back, but one of the top five ever in all of the world. Sometimes called Cashley Cole, he was always surrounded by controversy with cheating and, again, the transfer saga. He took the fourth penalty that night in Munich despite not being England’s best penalty taker, and he stepped up and wrapped it around the corner with one of the best penalties that night. I could write for days about Ashley Cole, but not at this time. For now, thank you Ashley Cole, club legend always. Good luck in your next challenge.
David Luiz– We are all geezers. David Luiz. David Luiz. David Luiz. This is the hardest one for me personally because I have nothing but love for him. Same with Mata, but he wanted to leave so I had a few bad feelings towards him. But the same cannot be said about Luiz. David is one of the hardest working, most fun-loving guys to come to Chelsea. Joining from Benfica in 2011, he was expected to be a world class partner for John Terry. Called the Manchester Killer early on, he scored vital goals vs both Manchester clubs in his first half season. He’d score a few more goals in the next few seasons and later became an excellent free kick taker scoring a handful in the 2012-13 campaign.
In 2011-12 he stepped up second after Juan Mata’s miss playing the whole 120 minutes prior basically on one leg. He took his very long step back which looked to be about 20 yards, sprinted as fast as he could at it and hit the ball. Barely able to look, we watched his penalty fly into the top corner of the net, one of the best penalties I’ve seen. He was the ideal player when it came to passion for a club. He was always a joker and made everyone laugh. He was able to lift other players’ spirits with just his smile. But, when it became game time, he was laser focused. He is a model for all Chelsea players, and for that we thank you David, legend to me and many others. Good luck in Paris and hopefully we meet again soon.
Samuel Eto’o– Joining for free from Anzhi last summer, Samuel Eto’o was a fine pickup. He wasn’t expected to do a whole lot this season. But he did. Scoring very critical home goals for the club, he never scored away. That being said, he scored the winner at home vs Liverpool, the first goal against Arsenal at home in the 6-0 thrashing, and a hat trick against Manchester United. We thank him for what he did this season and good luck in his next years, but he won’t be forgiven if he does join Arsenal like he is rumored to.
Mark Schwarzer – He became the oldest player to play in a Champions League semi this past year after Petr Cech was injured early on in the first leg. He was called upon to fill in for the rest of the season. He had a poor game vs Sunderland in the league, but apart from that he was very good in the games we needed him to be. Can’t really be blamed. Thank you Mark for your service to the club this past year and good luck to you in the future.
Henrique Hilario– A backup his whole career, it’s hard to comment on Hilario because he really wasn’t called upon to do much. That being said, he served as Cech’s backup most of his career and we thank him for being a part of the squad during his time at Chelsea and again good luck to him in the future.
We thank all of the players that have left this year and wish them all good luck in the future. It was a great last season despite no trophies, and we now have something to build on next year. Look forward to “Grading the Chelsea 2013-14 Acquisitions”, coming soon.
Keep The Blue Flag Flying High!