Need to know: Chelsea
Need to know: Chelsea
Aug. 13, 2013
LONDON (AP) — Five things to know about Chelsea going into the 2013-14 English Premier League season:
THE RETURN OF MOURINHO
After his acrimonious departure from Stamford Bridge early in the 2007-08 season, Jose Mourinho has returned to Chelsea after spells in Italy and Spain coaching Inter Milan and Real Madrid. He won the Premier League and League Cup twice and the FA Cup once during his first reign at the London club and, while he will aim to make Chelsea Premier League champion again, delivering the Champions League will also be a priority. Mourinho was openly frustrated at his failure to win the tournament last time around but he has won it with Porto and Inter so won't doubt his chances of success with Chelsea this time around.
CHANGING OF THE GUARD
Frank Lampard, John Terry and Ashley Cole are the only remaining outfield players who played for Mourinho during his first stint at the club. All three are now in the twilight of their careers and the returning coach is likely to keep an eye out for potential replacements at the core of the team. Young players such as Nathan Ake and Nathaniel Chalobah have been earmarked as potential first-team players but are likely a couple years away from making an impact. Mourinho will need to decide whether to afford them playing time in his first team or send them out on loan to gain experience.
SCHUERRLE, VAN GINKEL JOIN
Mourinho has bought in Andre Schuerrle from Bayer Leverkusen and Marco van Ginkel from Vitesse Arnhem to reinforce his attacking options. The 22-year-old Schuerrle can play as a wide attacker or as a central striker and has already played 24 times for Germany. Van Ginkel, a 20-year-old winger, was voted Dutch Talent of the Year after impressing during the 2012-13 season and will be looking to perform well enough at Chelsea to add to his solitary international cap with the Netherlands in a World Cup year. He will face competition for playing time from the likes of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Schuerrle.
LUKAKU OR TORRES?
Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku will undoubtedly challenge Fernando Torres for a place in Chelsea's starting eleven. Lukaku scored 17 goals in 38 appearances while on loan at West Brom last season, including a hat-trick on the final day of the season against Manchester United. Lukaku is 193 centimeters (6 feet, 4 inches) tall and very quick; at only 20 years of age he will likely still improve. Torres managed a return of 22 goals last season, including the opening strike of the Europe League final against Benfica, but has never truly rediscovered the clinical finishing touch he showed while at Liverpool.
WILL THEY SIGN ROONEY?
Chelsea's top target of the transfer window is Wayne Rooney of Manchester United. They have had two offers rejected but Rooney is said to be interested in a move to Chelsea, such is his frustration at being the second-choice striker at United behind Robin van Persie. Rooney was not included by United coach David Moyes for last Sunday's Community Shield win against Wigan due to a shoulder injury but has been deemed fit enough to play for England against Scotland on Wednesday by England coach Roy Hodgson. The saga is set to drag on throughout the transfer window, which closes on Sept. 2.