ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE:JOHN TERRY has urged Chelsea to strengthen their squad over the summer to ensure the newly crowned Premier League champions sustain their success next season.
Chelsea have been relatively frugal in the market in recent years, spending only on Russia’s Yuri Zhirkov last summer, and will place more emphasis on promoting young players from their academy set-up into the first team next year.
Yet the chief executive, Ron Gourlay, said yesterday that the club retains the ability to compete with Manchester City for the likes of Fernando Torres or Sergio Aguero if they became available at an appropriate price.
“I think the big four need to strengthen next year because everyone’s become closer,” Terry said. “Us, Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool – no doubt it’s going to be a busy summer for the big clubs, but we have a great squad here already.
“Hopefully we can keep everyone here, the likes of Coley (Joe Cole), who has been key for us with his goal away to Manchester United, and Nico (Anelka) hopefully signing a new deal.”
While Nicolas Anelka is expected to sign a two-year contract extension, Chelsea will resume talks with Joe Cole and Michael Ballack after Saturday’s FA Cup final with the board still seeking to reduce the wage bill at the club.
Juliano Belletti is expected to leave under freedom of contract, while the club would potentially be willing to listen to offers for Deco and Paulo Ferreira as they seek to raise some level of funding through player sales.
Manager, Carlo Ancelotti, will speak to Roman Abramovich and Gourlay next week to finalise transfer policy.
“If there is a player that is highlighted or recommended by the coach that can take the team forward, we have got to have a look at that as a board of directors and determine whether it fits into our plans going forward from a financial point of view,” said Gourlay.
“Then we will take the decision based on that. If the question is: is the ability there for us to go into the marketplace and spend x million on a player? Then yes. If it’s right for the football club.
“I would imagine there will be the opportunity of one or two new players coming into the squad and, in an ideal world, it would be nice if the money we spend on incoming players could be part-financed by players going out. But if we have to go to the ‘bank’ then we’ll go to the ‘bank’. But it has to be at the right level.
“Our strategy is to run this club towards self-sufficiency, but the avenue [to seek significant money from Abramovich] is there to take.
“We have a mature side but we also have a very experienced side,” added Gourlay. “If the correct player of the quality that Chelsea requires is available in the summer, then the funds are there for us to take that opportunity.
“What happens is that manager Carlo Ancelotti will identify any player that is required for the club going forward, then we’ll take it from there.
“Roman is always interested. He’s very engaged with the football club, he likes to understand the decisions that we come up with and our thought process.
“He may not veto but he will certainly make sure that he has every right to question and ask about our thought process.”
Chelsea’s hat-trick hero in their 8-0 hammering of Wigan, Ivorian striker Didier Drogba, hailed the title success as the best moment of his career. Drogba won the Premier League’s Golden Boot with 29 goals – three more than Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney.
“This is the best moment I have had since I became a professional footballer,” said Drogba.
“It’s been a fantastic season, we scored a lot of goals, 103, and we have played some good football and that’s what is important for the team. The team have worked hard for this all season and they helped me win the Golden Boot, which will always mean a lot. It is amazing and special and I owe it to the whole team.
“We had a great season and we deserve to be champions. This is what we wanted to achieve at the start of the season and for four years we have been fighting for this, so it is great. Since Jose Mourinho left we have wanted to win the league and now it is done.
“It’s not a new era it’s just the continuity of what we have been doing for years and there’s more to come. Now we could win the double. It’s going to be hard but we will try.”