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Could Chelsea Risk Losing Anelka And Cole?

This weekend, it was Nicolas Anelka who opened the scoring for us (ok, technically it should’ve been Malouda but let’s not split hairs), underlining his importance to Chelsea. Not just because Didier Drogba’s away right now – although clearly it’s great to have Anelka’s goals to fall back on – but because he really sets an example when it comes to getting the job done.  In fact, I’d go as far as to say he’s quietly turning into a bit of a leader at Chelsea, and what’s more he’s loving it!

That hasn’t always been the case obviously, because there were plenty of teething problems before Anelka settled himself in properly at the club. I mean, having a manager with as much about him in terms of a footballing brain as he did in the looks department, was never going to help so it was inevitable that being played out of position wasn’t going to get the best out of the Frenchman.  Needless to say there was the inevitable ‘sulk’ and the fact that it seemed to come at the end of a penalty shoot-out in the Champions League final didn’t do him or us any favours.

Fair play to him though, once we’d got rid of Grant things slowly improved for Anelka, even managing to get last year’s Golden Boot in spite of playing under Scolari for most of the season. And this season, he’s just continued to get better. He’s in some of the best form of his career and his contribution to Chelsea is definitely – as the man says himself – about much more than scoring goals.

So why on earth would Chelsea risk his departure? I mean seriously, what is wrong with the bloody club that we’re hearing first about Joe Cole’s protracted contract negotiations and now, it appears it’s Anelka’s talks that have hit a snag. Ok, so it’s come from the News of the World, but we know Roman’s trying to cut costs and we also know there’s rarely smoke without a bit of a flame.

What we’re hearing is that despite offering Anelka a £40,000 a week pay rise early in the season, Chelsea are allegedly back-tracking as a result of Abramovich’s directive on budget cuts. If this is true, then given Anelka’s previous history for tantrums, you’d have to suspect we’ll be at risk of him departing Stamford Bridge.

Now, I don’t know about anyone else but whilst I commend Abramovich for being much more realistic about the club’s finances these days, I think he shot himself in the foot a long time ago, so there’s no point using a plaster to cover up the wound. Chelsea made a rod for their own backs when they bent over for players like Terry and Lampard and whilst I’m not suggesting Nicolas Anelka, or Joe Cole for that matter, have the same standing within the club, they at least both deserve some sort of realistic comparison reflected in their salaries.

So, whilst I wholeheartedly agree Abramovich should be asking for the wage structure at Chelsea to be addressed, I think it makes much more sense to do this in regards to any new signings from here on in rather than penalise established and much valued players we really shouldn’t risk losing.

What do you reckon?




Blue is the colour is an honest insight to the World of Chelsea FC. Not always pretty, sometimes rather cynical, but always realistic.


January 2010
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