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Carlo Ancelotti's five main priorities at Chelsea

Eton Blue at the Chelsea Megastore

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Taken from today's Telegraph:

July 1 marks Carlo Ancelotti's first official day at Chelsea with the new manager revealing that the club's directors are learning Italian – to make up for his deficiencies in English.

"I made a bet with [Didier] Drogba about whether I would learn English faster than he would learn Italian and I think he will win the bet," the 50 year-old, who has been undergoing intensive language lessons, as per his agreement with Chelsea, said. "Three Chelsea directors have also been learning Italian, maybe out of desperation." Although he may joke about his language skills, Chelsea know that it could become a serious issue as it did with Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Although July 1 is Ancelotti's first official day he will not actually turn up at Stamford Bridge until Saturday, meeting the players, or some of them, on Sunday, and then being unveiled to the media on Monday morning. Here Telegraph Sport looks at Ancelotti's five main priorities as he strives to be the man who, finally, fulfils Roman Abramovich's not inconsiderable ambition.


Ancelotti has significant funds at his disposal even if Chelsea insist they will not over-pay for players as they have done in the past. It means they could miss out.

"It's a very complicated market because prices are so high," Ancelotti said yesterday, blaming Cristiano Ronaldo's £80 million deal to Real Madrid for inflating prices. Nevertheless, an £18 million deal for CSKA Moscow's Yuri Zhirkov could be announced as early as today and he will be followed by Manchester City striker Daniel Sturridge, with a fee set by tribunal, and the free transfer of Middlesbrough goalkeeper Ross Turnbull.

The priorities are clear – add pace, re-shape the forward line and reduce the average age of the squad.

Chelsea are still in the hunt for Franck Ribery but it is becoming apparent he may, similarly to Ronaldo, stay at his present club, Bayern Munich, for one more year on the understanding he can then leave for Madrid. Ancelotti is still monitoring Emmanuel Adebayor's future and what happens to Carlos Tevez.

Chelsea also want another right-back and having missed out on Glen Johnson are looking at other targets – although they insist they are not interested in Inter Milan's Maicon. Ancelotti had hoped to bring one or two players with him from Milan. Having lost out on Kaka, he is still interested in Andrea Pirlo but accepts the £20 million fee being demanded for the 30-year-old is too much. Abramovich has nevertheless pledged a marquee signing (or two).


Chelsea's chief scout Frank Arnesen had a meeting at Stamford Bridge yesterday with Inter Milan's transfer negotiator Gabriele Oriali to try to thrash out the sale of Deco and Ricardo Carvalho. The clubs have been £4 million apart in their valuations while Inter's attempts to interest Chelsea in Maicon, Nicolas Burdisso or Zlatan Ibrahimovic have so far failed.

Chelsea are also keen to avoid Andrei Shevchenko returning – as he is due to – from loan next week while they will also seek a new club for Claudio Pizarro. Henrique Hilario has already been released, Franco Di Santo can expect to be sent out on loan while Juliano Belletti can also leave.

Of greater surprise is the future of Jose Bosingwa, who was shocked to discover he was offered to Bayern Munich by Abramovich as part of the negotiations to land Ribery. Ancelotti will quickly assess whether Salomon Kalou, Michael Mancienne, Scott Sinclair, Jacob Mellis and Miroslav Stoch have first-team futures.


The future of a number of high-profile players needs to be resolved. First up are Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda. After much deliberation, Abramovich has offered the 31-year-old Drogba, who has just 12 months left on his present deal, a three-year contract. Malouda has been offered a two-year contract extension, taking him up to 2013 and has verbally agreed.

Of more interest is Joe Cole's future. He hopes to return from serious injury for the pre-season tour and has just one-year left on his contract. Talks are planned. Chelsea are also considering a new offer to Ashley Cole, to fend off potential interest, even though he has two years left while John Obi Mikel is pushing for an improved contract.

Style of play

The way Chelsea play has almost become as crucial as their results. Abramovich craves a more expansive, attacking team – but also one that wins. Helpfully, or not, for Ancelotti, Guus Hiddink has shown the way but it will be how the new manager blends in new players that will count. After all Chelsea are basically playing a variation of how Jose Mourinho set up the team while Luiz Felipe Scolari's attacking game was exposed. In Ancelotti's favour he has shown an ability to create systems before for the players at his disposal – even those imposed upon him.

Backroom staff

Ancelotti confirmed yesterday, unsurprisingly, that Paolo Maldini has turned down the chance to become part of his coaching staff.

"I made a proposal to him but his desire was to stop after so many years in the game," he said of the 41-year-old defender who retired in May. It is a major blow as was the failure to entice Filippo Galli from Milan who, like Maldini, speaks good English.

Ancelotti will inherit Ray Wilkins as one assistant with Paul Clement, promoted after Scolari's sacking, remaining with the first-team squad, but the search will continue for another assistant manager.


I like how most of that sounds, especially about Joe Cole, I bet he has worked his heart out to ensure he is fit for the beginning of the season. The classy NOTW can shove off with their "story" that we're looking to offload our Joey.

However, am a bit disappointed he won't be unveiled by the media till Monday. I was hoping to see him and the 3 expected signings today. I’ve waited for July 1st for long enough.

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Quality read and good stuff from Ancelotti if true. I'm liking him more and more as time passes, he seems to have a good grip on the club and players and should hopefully provide us with good results. Good to see that we will try to be more uptempo and aggressive because in all honesty we aren't the best team to watch at the moment. Anyways I don't care, just do one thing, win the champions league and I'll be happy

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Malouda has been offered a two-year contract extension, taking him up to 2013 and has verbally agreed.


However, am a bit disappointed he won't be unveiled by the media till Monday. I was hoping to see him and the 3 expected signings today. I’ve waited for July 1st for long enough.

Malouda has officially signed a new contract, not just a verbal agreement.

And tell me about it. I thought today was going to be a good day with Charlie arriving with a few new signings. Obviously not.

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I was also really hoping we hear some news today but I quess we have to wait till monday...

Very good read. I think the source is more reliable too..

The line that sounds very good to me is this:

The priorities are clear – add pace, re-shape the forward line and reduce the average age of the squad.

By bringing in Zhirkov and Sturridge we add pace although I don't see Sturridge play too much in his first season. Not sure what reshaping the forward line means in our case but it could be that we try to use two center forwards, sounds good to me anywhoo. Reducing the avg age is something we need to now and next season. Although I hate to admit it Fergie was more than right about his comments on our squad..

I hope we can make some kind of deal with Inter on the players reported...

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According to Wikipedia Hilario's signed a new two-year contract. I don't know how true that is, but I'd like to think he's sticking around.


Hilario's only fan,


It is very true my friend. It was confirmed along with the Turnbull transfer. You'll find it in the article called 'Chelsea sign Turnbull' on our official site. Sorry I cannot provide any links as I am using a mobile to write this message.

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Very happy with the additions so far.

Sturridge is the young, "sparky" player we've lacked recently - he coule make a very god sub when we're chasing a game.

Turnbull is certainly good enough to cover for Cech when necessary - I'd have more faith in him than Hilario.

Zhirkov should be looking at a first team place, or at least encouraging Malouda to continue the form he showed under Hiddink. Offers a bit of coverfor Ashley as well, which was a bit of dodgy position after Bridge leaving. Can he play on the right? Perhaps he'll take Bosingwa's place during the Portuguese's ban.

Glad to hear Joe Cole is still part of the plans. Was a little worried he had become something of a forgotten man due to his injury and he's a player I'd love to keep to keep at the club. Plays the game with the right attitude and is incredibly entertaining.

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