Update: Ballack Talks Begin, Terry Wins Chelsea Player of the Year

Germany captain and Bayern Munich star Michael Ballack has begun negotiations with Chelsea CEO Peter Kenyon involving his summer transfer to the Blues. Though Ballack has been scrutinized by Bayern general manager Uli Hoeness for being money hungry, Ballack argues that he has always desired to test his skills abroad. With Chelsea likely to offer a large paycheck to the skilled midfielder, the Munich giant has announced they will not make a counter offer that would cripple the club’s monetary standing.

With Ballack’s arrival, there will be a logjam of talent clogging up the Chelsea midfield. I expect that either Damien Duff, Shaun Wright Phillips, or Chelsea veteran and fan favorite Eidur Gudjohnsen will be forced out of the side, with Maniche almost surely booking himself a place on the bench for the rest of the year after a horrible display against West Ham (to be addressed later). It has been speculated that Claude Makalele, one of the most valuable players in the world of football, will be replaced in his holding role by Michael Essien, allowing Ballack and Lampard to play central midfield. Recent rumors, addressed in the last post, have been focused on Arjen Robben desserting to Spain. But a midfield of Joe Cole, Robben, Lampard, Ballack, and Essien would unquestionably be one of the greatest ever on a Premiership pitch. Though possibly an embellisher in the ways of diving, Ballack is one of the best players in the world, period. Mourinho has ranked him on a level with Lampard. Hopefully the stars can co-exist and combine their talents, Lampard as one of the best long passers in football and Ballack as a scoring force.

Also in Blues news, John Terry edged out Joe Cole, William Gallas, Frank Lampard, and Claude Makalele for Chelsea Player of the Year. The fans voted on Terry for the second time in five years, as the Chelsea captain was also granted the honor in 2001, his first year on the big squad. Terry, Cole, and Lampard have also been shortlisted for Premiership Player of the Year. The only other nominees for the award are United’s Wayne Rooney, Arsenal’s Thierry Henry, and Liverpool’s Stephen Gerrard. One would think that with 3 of the top 6 Premiership players on your side, there wouldn’t be a nail-biting finish to the season on the horizon. But the difference between the Blues and Manchester United stands at 7 points, and the looming battle against the Mancs gains significance with each letter of print, every Mourinho or Sir Alex press conference, and every United victory.

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