World Soccer views and news
Friday afternoon question: Is this the end of a Chelsea era?
The futures of coach Avram Grant and several Chelsea players are uncertain following their Champions League final defeat by Manchester United. But how many will leave?
Speculation that Grant will be axed has intensified after chief executive Peter Kenyon said finishing second in the Premier League, Champions League and League Cup was not good enough.
“It’s been an interesting season, but you don’t like finishing second and as runners-up. Given the standards we’ve set, that’s not something we’ve settled for,” he said.
“We’re looking at players who have the potential to be star names. We’ve brought in one player, Jose Bosingwa from Porto, who strengthens a position which has been an issue for us. We’ll take our time to look at what else is needed, but I think that’s two players rather than 20.”
Didier Drogba’s sending off in Moscow on Wednesday could well be his last appearance in blue. The striker has never hidden the fact that a move to AC Milan appeals and the Serie A side are keen to sign him, even if they are only in the UEFA Cup next season.
Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi would also love to have former striker Andriy Shevchenko back at the San Siro. Coach Carlo Ancelotti is not so sure and media reports say Milan will only take the Ukrainian on a free.
Even Chelsea talisman Frank Lampard is not definitely staying. After a difficult period following the death of his mother, the midfielder has said he will talk with Chelsea after England’s forthcoming friendlies.
Inter Milan lie in wait if Lampard decides to move on. Would Jose Mourinho’s possible arrival at the Italian champions increase the possibility of Lampard moving?
Claude Makelele, Paulo Ferreira, Steve Sidwell, Ricardo Carvalho, Tal Ben Haim, Nicolas Anelka, Carlo Cudicini, Wayne Bridge and Claudio Pizarro are among the other Chelsea players to be linked with a move.
Is Roman Abramovich’s empire crumbling or will a bigger, better Chelsea emerge?
Mark Meadows, Milan
PHOTO: John Terry hits the post with a penalty which would have won the Champions League for Chelsea. May 22 REUTERS/Eddie Keogh