60 second pundit
Surprise Chelsea departure Meireles “wanted to go”
One of the most surprising transfers this summer was Raul Meireles leaving Chelsea for Turkish side Fenerbahce in an £8m deal. The Portuguese looked an assured presence in the Blues’ midfield last season, playing his part in the Champions League and FA Cup successes. And while Chelsea bought in an array of attacking creativity in Eden Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin, many assumed Meireles would play the deeper-lying midfield role. The Life’s a Pitch team try to get to the bottom of his departure.
“He’s a good player, I didn’t see that one coming at all,” says footballer-turned-journalist Adrian Clarke. “I don’t think that John Obi Mikel is the guy that you can rely upon [for the defensive midfield role at Chelsea].”
But the Sunday Telegraph’s Jason Burt says it wasn’t just the club’s willingness to sell Meireles: he was actually keen to leave. ”With Meireles, he wanted to go. I think he let it be known that he wanted to go, then he wanted to stay, but the cat was already out of the bag on that one. So they thought they’d get some money back on him.
“They had to balance it out a little bit by moving on some of the players [after the sums spent bringing players in]. They were determined to get Michael Essien out if they could, and obviously Yossi Benayoun as well.” And while Mikel looks like taking up the job of anchoring the midfield, Jason wonders why the young Spaniard Oriol Romeu hasn’t been more trusted in that role. “Romeu is quite interesting. He doesn’t seem to get a look-in at the moment. I’m surprised they haven’t tried to develop him a bit more.”
Watch the full video discussion by clicking on the play button in the image above.
Follow Life’s A Pitch on Twitter @BTLifesaPitch
Watch Chelsea live on BT Vision:
Chelsea v Juventus, 6pm, 19 September, Sky Sports 2
Arsenal v Chelsea, 12.30pm, 29 September, Sky Sports 2
Don’t have BT Vision? Find out how to get it