Date: 15th May 2006 at 12:42pm
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Part Three of my Close Season Review. The probable loss of Gallas presents some major problems!

Defensively, we are very strong but conceded more than in 2004 season, and when Gallas leaves, as it increasingly looks like he will, then we will have problems. I think William Gallas is as important to us as Terry or Lampard, and without him we dont look nearly as cohesive. We are not even losing one of the world’s finest central defenders, but one of the world’s finest left-backs as well. His pace and reading of the game is one of the reasons JT looks as awesome as he does, and fine player though he is, Riccy Carvalho does not inspire the same confidence. Many teams try to sit back against us and let us play, and break with pace, and Gallas is the one player that can deal with it effectively. Without him, we are vulnerable. Huth and Carvalho dive in too much and are not as quick. Gallas also scores important goals, usually in very big games. We will miss him a great deal I fear. JT and possibly Carvalho aside, I would only put Nesta, Puyol, and Ferdinand in his class anywhere in the world. This is obviously a major concern, as we will be extremely unlikely to sign any of this illustrious trio. I think the Anderlecht centre-back Vincent Kompany would be a quality signing.

Another left-back will be required if Del Horno or Bridge are allowed to leave. Young Jonas Elmer is a fine prospect but not ready for the step up yet, so we will have to buy someone. I’d suggest Ashley Cole probably hates us and wont come to Chelsea, and I hate the nasty little so-and-so anyway. Matty Taylor from Pompey? I dont know why more teams dont come in for him. He is a very, very good player. Zebina is available from Juve I think, but I am not sure he is Premiership suited. Maxwell from Ajax is a long-term prospect too, and I’d seriously be looking at him and also Kaladze from Milan, who can also play at Centre-back. I’d love to see Wayne Bridge given a real chance by Jose. His aerial ability (or apparent lack of it) would be the reason Jose doesnt rate him, but I think he is a better player than Del Horno on the deck, and positionally better than both him and Ashley Cole. And, as we all know, he can score some VERY important goals.

Right back is another weird one. Paulo Ferreira is our most accomplished and natural right back, and he had a great first season, but seemed to lose his way a bit, losing his place to Geremi who came in and did really well until he met Harry Kewell at Old Trafford. Glen Johnson’s time at Chelsea looks to be up and he will probably be the third, after Crespo and Gallas, out of the exit door. Do we need another right-back? I dont think so. Ferreira can handle it, and Geremi is a good back up.