Inflation Hits Chelsea As Robinho Price Goes Up

As already suggested on this blog, Peter Kenyon went on his travels again on Wednesday, in the direction of Madrid and his continued search for Robinho’s signature. No, not an autograph, but an agreement to a deal in the region of £26million. Unfortunately for him, Real Madrid turned down his advances for the Brazilian yet again.

However, far be it for the Spanish outfit to be accused of slavery, because they’ve suggested Robinho can leave after all. The only catch being they want £32million for him…… So, Kenyon came back home.

But hang on, because of course being the Robinho saga it’d be too easy to just leave it at that. Yep, you guessed it, Kenyon’s probably on his way back as I write, in an attempt to prise the playmaker out of the evil Real Madrid’s clutches. Or at least he’ll grovel and offer more money anyway.

Because now that Real have at least hinted they’re prepared to let the player – who they don’t really want anyway – leave, it’ll only serve to encourage Chelsea more. That’s how the game goes surely? You see, in a meeting with Robinho’s agent, Wagner Ribeiro, and Real’s sporting director Predrag Mijatovic this week, Calderon tried to get Robinho back on side by suggesting Chelsea (despite Kenyon chasing him like a love-sick puppy) weren’t really that bothered about signing him and besides, Real valued him to such an extent that they wouldn’t let “such an important player go at a knock-down price.”  What was it, £26million? Who are they kidding? Well, ok they’d at least want the £29million back we got for Robben I suppose. And I’d suppose right, because in that very same meeting, true to form, Calderon and Mijatovic suggested they would indeed let Robinho go to Chelsea – as long as the offer was upped to £32million.

So does that mean Robinho will be wearing the Chelsea shirt once the transfer window closes on September 1st? Of course it doesn’t, we’ll just keep playing the game – probably upping the bid on a daily basis.

And will we eventually pay the new amount and get the signature Kenyon seems to crave? Who knows?

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Who Is This Fabio Paim?

Luiz Felipe Scolari has agreed to take Sporting Lisbon’s Fabio Paim on loan until the end of the season. But who is he?

Well, he’s a 20 year-old Portuguese winger who, at one time was widely regarded as the next big thing. It was suggested his football was in the same vein as Quaresma – great vision, quick feet and a pretty good shot to boot.

So, when you consider he’s had loan spells with Trofense and Pacos Ferreira last season, with a mere seven appearances for the latter, you’d think Sporting were mad surely? Why wasn’t he in the first team? And why on earth aren’t Sporting following everyone else’s lead when it comes to Chelsea by putting a ridiculous price on his head? Could it be that he simply hasn’t lived up to the early hype?

Well, according to what I’ve read (and no, I don’t believe everything I see in print), he is supposedly talented, or at least has the potential there. Here’s the ‘but’ though – his attitude and temperament have apparently seen him pick up more than his fair share of red cards, he lacks tactical focus and as if that’s not enough of a concern, he also sustained a pretty bad injury a few years ago that could make him a little prone to intermittent effects.

At least now it starts to make a little more sense. Because usually, the Portuguese club, who seem to have the knack of producing quality from their youth system, would surely have given Manchester United first pickings at a player they either weren’t planning to keep or wanted to make some money on. The two clubs have a pretty good relationship which has seen Manchester United benefit in the form of both Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani.

That’s not to say his temperament would put Ferguson off of course, if Scolari thinks he can manage the youngster, then Ferguson certainly could. But maybe the other rumoured difficulties were the deciding factor? After all, players like Moutinho have been retained whilst neither Ronaldo nor Nani were farmed out on loan, but sold for £12million and £17million respectively. So I for one won’t be expecting Paim to be the ‘Ronaldinho-alike’ he’s made out to be.

Fabio himself, is said to be ‘both thrilled and shocked’ at his loan move to Chelsea, telling Maisfutebol “It is a surprise, I was not expecting anything. I have no words to describe it. It is an unbelievable thing, it is a very important step and undoubtedly the greatest of my career. Beyond my loan year, they have an option to buy and of course, they have to observe me.”

So I guess we’ll have to wait and see what he’s got?

Joe Cole’s Ongoing Battle

I have to say I was less than impressed to see Joe Cole left out of England’s starting line-up on Wednesday night, particularly with Fabio Capello suggesting he’d be putting out a full-strength squad with the World Cup qualifiers in mind. But I’m even less impressed to see that the England manager apparently considers playing Stevie Me in Cole’s left-sided position as a stronger option. Is he serious?

I just don’t understand why Joe Cole is expected to repeatedly prove himself be it at club or international level. From the minute Cole joined Chelsea for £6,000,000 in 2003 he’s struggled to hold down a place with both Chelsea and England. In fact, rumour has it, with the ink barely dry following his transfer, Claudio Ranieri wanted to loan him out to CSKA Moscow. Cole refused and was subsequently left on the sidelines for much of the 2003-4 season.

Cole’s next season saw him endure public criticism from his new boss, Jose Mourinho because despite scoring the winning goal against Liverpool, his leaning towards attacking football meant he’d neglected his defensive duties. Indeed, Cole was substituted shortly after scoring, suggesting “after Cole scored, the game ended for him. We were playing with ten men afterwards because Cole stopped running, stopped playing.”

Cole meanwhile was taking all this on board, and with Robben taking up a regular place on the physio’s couch, Joe took the opportunity to become one of the stars of our title winning side, picking up a starting place in the England team along the way. He even managed to move up Chelsea’s pecking order in the first half of the following season despite even more competition provided by the arrival of Shaun Wright-Phillips. He ended that season scoring a solo goal that saw us clinch the title against Manchester United and was named in the PFA’s team of the season.

2006/7 saw Cole miss the first three months for Chelsea along with England’s first four Euro 2008 qualifying games following a knee injury picked up pre-season. And in January 2007 Cole underwent surgery for a stress fracture of his foot – not one of Chelsea’s better season’s either strangely enough.

Last season however, arguably Cole’s best at Chelsea to date, the 26 year old midfielder justifiably earned praise from both the manager and media, winning the Chelsea Fans Player of the Year award into the bargain.

And yet here we are again at the start of a new season and already Cole’s place is rumoured to be under threat with the possible acquisition of Robinho, whilst England, who after years of being desperate for a naturally left-sided player appear to be overlooking the one they have in favour of Gerrard.

Whilst I was certainly one of many who found him frustrating during his early days, swinging from either watching him open-mouthed to finding my head strangely attracted to the nearest wall, that Joe Cole has changed. He has a discipline and team ethic now that was missing in his younger showboating days, but more importantly, despite Mourinho’s best efforts, he still has something that sets him apart from the rest of England’s midfield on Wednesday night – flair. Because whilst I’m not going to suggest Gerrard, Lampard, Beckham and Barry don’t have their own attributes, what they don’t have is the necessary spark that can turn a game in the same way as Cole can.

You see, even on another dire England night, if it hadn’t been for Joe Cole popping up with a late equaliser right at the death, it could’ve been even more pitiful. And yet, even in the face of such obvious disappointment at being benched, again, Cole has responded by vowing to fight for a starting place for the qualifiers.

Following the game, Cole said “It was disappointing yes, I have had a good start to the season at Chelsea. Maybe the gaffer looked at that I missed the first two weeks of pre-season, I don’t know. But I will be hoping to start against Andorra and Croatia. Fingers crossed I’ll get the nod against Andorra and we will go from there. But I’m happy to play anywhere for England and I’m fortunate that I can play anywhere across the middle or frontline.”

When will these managers ever learn?

Didier Drogba: Even His Injury Turns Into A Drama

Well, the mystery that is Didier Drogba’s injury just gets deeper and deeper apparently. Because having questioned his status – and even his whereabouts – only two days ago, with him being named in the Ivory Coast squad to face Guinea on Wednesday, not only did he not play (although he did travel) but it’s actually been suggested he won’t do for some time.

Because despite Scolari’s suggestion before last week’s opening game against Portsmouth that Drogba would be out for around 15 days, the Ivorian’s international coach, Vahid Halilhodzic has said “Drogba will not be back before a month or a month-and-a-half. He has started to run but he will not be available for the match against Mozambique on September 5th.”

From Chelsea’s point of view, we don’t seem to be hearing quite as much on the missing striker, although it’s suggested Scolari has ‘refused to rush Drogba back into action.’

So, when will we see him back in a Chelsea shirt?

Andriy Shevchenko: The Agony Goes On

Was it really only two days ago I was patting Chelsea on the back for ‘doing the right thing’ where Andriy Shevchenko’s concerned?

Well, obviously I spoke too soon, because a mere two days later, Adriano Galliani has revealed talks over a potential deal are “frozen” because the ‘agreement’ stage was never reached. How unusual for the press to get it wrong!

You see, despite reports suggesting Sheva should’ve been back in Milan by now with Chelsea paying the Italian outfit for the privilege, Galliani told Gazzetta dello Sport yesterday “Negotiations for Shevchenko are at the moment frozen.”

So what happened to the supposed meeting between Berlusconi and Abramovich in Sardinia last week where this was reported to have been all but done and dusted? Well, apparently the deal needed more than just a lick and a promise before it was actually finalised, because Galliani says “Milan had wanted to take the player on loan with the right to buy him (not much to ask after they’d sold him for £30million), but Chelsea said no because they wanted us to buy him outright.”

And whilst I feel sorry for the prodigal son who may lose out on a return back to a club where he remains a firm favourite in favour of yet another season on the sidelines at Chelsea, maybe it really isn’t such a bad thing that Chelsea aren’t prepared to pay another astronomical wage only to see a player they own  running out every week in someone else’s colours.

Or should Chelsea just cut their losses?