News paper reports in England have suggested that their may be problems with the contract renegotiation’s of 3 of Chelsea’s star players, captain John Terry, Frank Lampard, and Arjen Robben.
Negotiations between the players and Chelsea are said to have stalled after the players demanded to have their salaries match those of top earners Shevchenko and Ballack. Ballack and Shevchenko, who both arrived at the beginning of the season, have been flops for the blues in their first season, and have been used as scape goats for Chelsea losing their title to Man Utd. While they have not performed at a level that was expected, the real issues have been the lack of defensive cover, as well as the power struggle between manager and owner. It hasn’t helped that they are both viewed as purchases by the owner and not by Mourinho, particularly Shevchenko, a close friend of Abramovich. This is said to have caused dressing room problems amongst the squad, but again the feud between Mourinho and Abramovich has had a lot to do with the falling moral.
Mourinho, who’s future now seems more certain, having seemingly made up with Abramovich, has always maintained that Terry and Lampard, along with Cech, are the most important players in the team, the heart and soul of Chelsea. The players are said to be keen to commit themselves to Chelsea, but feel that they are worth more then they are being offered, and that they should at least match the top earners. Robben, who arrived in English football as one of the most promising wingers in the world, and who’s early form justified this belief, has struggled of late, and has often not been in Mourinho’s starting eleven. This has much to do with injuries he has suffered, Mourinho switching to a narrower midfield, and a lack of confidence brought about by both these factors. Yet he remains a very talented player, and one who can be devastating on his day. The Chelsea board are said to have issued the players with a take it or leave it deal that falls below their asking salary.
Chelsea struggled when Terry was absent through injury this season, and many inside believe this is where the league was lost, and thus they should be doing Anything to keep him, as captain, and arguably their best player, he should be amongst the top earners at the club. Likewise Lampard, who’s scoring form, from midfield, over the last few years has made him one of the most wanted players in world football. Barcelona are said to be very interested in taking Lampard to Spain, and will be keeping a keen eye on the situation. Terry is said to be attracting interest from Real Madrid, Barcelona and Inter, and the calibre of those pursuing him should help sway the thoughts of the Chelsea board. Robben, perhaps the most expendable of the trio, is said to be wanted by Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and is rumoured to be interested in a change of scenery. It has even been suggested that he could be on his way to Munich once the sale of Owen Hargreaves from Bayern to Man Utd has been finalised.
It is strange that in a era free spending that has been the cornerstone of the Abramovich period, often over spending on players, paying over the odds, just because they could, money may be the reason they lose their best players. Whether Chelsea decided to give in and hand the players exactly what they want, or stand firm and welcome a new period of responsible spending, will be keenly watched by the rest of the world. It is a problem of their own making, and their will be few who will be feeling sorry for them right now. You can’t see issues like this arising at Man Utd, Arsenal or even Liverpool, all big clubs, but with more of a family, community feel, then that of an over powering corporation.