By Chris Wright
As I understand it, the salient bullet points are as follows: Chelsea want to buy Gary Cahill for £7 million; Bolton want to sell Gary Cahill for £7 million, Gary Cahill wants to join Chelsea; Gary Cahill’s agent asked for £120,000-a-week wages (presumably on the basis he scores more often than Fernando Torres); Chelsea aren’t stupid.
Rather unsurprisingly considering his agent’s outrageously plucky request (there are even rumours that a £4 million signing-on fee is being chased), a deal is still a considerable distance away but it seems, by hook or by crook or by knocking about £60,000-a-week off his wage demands, Gary Cahill will be arriving at Stamford Bridge at some point this month.
From what I’ve been privy to, Cahill’s imminent signing has been greeted with a stout mix of ‘overpriced English averageness personified’ consternation and ‘exactly what Chelsea need’ pragmatism and I must admit I’m pitched somewhere in the middle, listing ever so slightly toward the latter.
Let’s talk cutter for a moment. £120,000 every seven days would put Cahill level with Ashley Cole on Abramovich’s list of weekly outgoings, behind only John Terry, Frank Lampard and Fernando Torres. Indeed, even if Cahill shakes on the measly £70,000-a-week the club are believed to have offered him, that would still see him £10,000-a-week better off than Juan Mata – arguably Chelsea’s best player this season.
As for the fee. £7 million is still a fair old wodge for a player whose contract dwindles to nothing in six month’s time – that’s the ‘English premium’ at work – but it’s my personal belief that Chelsea will just about be getting their money’s worth (if that’s actually feasible in today’s game) on this one if they can successfully haggle those frankly ridiculous wage demands down.
As the saying goes, a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link, and when the weakest link is Zat Knight you know you’re staring down the barrel of an arduous plight.
Cahill may well have a pretty underwhelming season so far in an underwhelming defensive unit in an underwhelming side, but he’s shown in the past and on sporadic occasions this campaign that he is a proven, dependable, resiliant, organised and committed centre-half – not to mention his above-average scoring record.
He’s far less ‘agricultural’ than he gets credit for.
Assuming Terry is to remain a fixture, just compare Cahill’s attributes to that to Chelsea’s incumbent mob of senior deputy centre-halves: David Luiz (an uncontrollable clown), Alex (strong as a cart horse, mobile as a cart horse) and Ivanovic (far more convincing at right-back). It looks like a bit of a no-brainer to me, especially taking into account the scrutiny that the Blues’ worryingly porous backline has come under in recent weeks.
There are few if any better – and by ‘better’, I mean ‘more suited to the English game’ – centre-halves available for that kind of money in the world right now, and lord knows that’s exactly when Chelsea need a new one. Right. Sodding. Now.
What say you folks? Will Cahill prove to be the right man at the right time for Chelsea? Or is he just more overpriced English dross on the move?