The title-winning season is over and thoughts are already turning towards a new campaign, so what better time to assess which areas of the squad need freshening up and who might leave.
Having joined last summer from Arsenal, Gael Clichy had a hugely impressive first season with the Blues, displaying his defensive solidity as well as contributing regularly further forward. His all action displays caught the attention and his fitness levels were the envy of everyone. There were some doubts about his defensive nous and concentration levels when he signed but he has proven he is solid at the back, adept at denying the opposition winger space to cross the ball and reliable with regards to his positioning. Going forward, he’s a bundle of energy, links up well with those around him and although he would benefit from work on his crossing, he was an excellent addition.
However, it is his understudy, Aleks Kolarov, over whom questions remain. Rumours have been rife of the Serbian leaving the club, with a couple of Italian and Spanish clubs supposedly interested in him, and if I were Roberto Mancini, I would be looking to sell immediately. Kolarov’s footballing attributes amount to being able to kick the ball harder than most. And that’s about it. A free-kick specialist he may be, as goals against Manchester United and Napoli last season proved, but there is not too much more to his game. Defensively he is a liability, constantly out of position, unable to stop any half-decent winger and he’s an obvious weak point in an otherwise solid backline.
Who we bring in remains to be seen. Clichy, deservedly, ought to start the new campaign as first choice but with Mancini’s penchant for rotation, a better all-round left back than Kolarov needs to be added.