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hypothetical expansion draft (i.e., our best XI)


MannyJello

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i was reading about the American MLS and the addition of new teams to the league. rather than grow organically, these teams get the benefit of an expansion draft. all the other teams in the league protect eleven players, and then the new team gets to sift through all what's left over from the other teams and select one player from each team.

what if that happened to Chelsea? who would you want us to protect?

assume these points:

- we can only lose one player

- the selecting team would have to pay the weekly wages of the player, but not any sort of transfer fee

- the only players eligible to get selected are those that play significant first team football, so no Sinclair or Sahar to consider at this point

- since he's out the door at the end of the season, i didn't consider Drogba. assume his "free agency," if you will, means he will leave the Premiership altogether and therefore is not eligible for another team.

here is what i decided:

The first six were easy -- these were players that i would protect no matter what:

1. Cech

2. Essien

3. Carvalho

4. Lampard

5. Ballack

6. Terry

And then the next four were relatively easy:

7. A. Cole

8. J. Cole

9. SWP

10. Alex

So that means one last slot for 13 players. I decided I would make the following players available for the expansion draft for the following reasons:

X - Makalele - don't think someone would take him because of age, and he's probably not long for our squad anyway

X - Shevchenko - this was a tough one, because he looks like he might be finding form, but his salary demands are pretty high, he's sort of old, and many other teams don't rate him. still, he might be a tempting choice for an expansion team because he is a splashy addition, but in the end I decided to risk him

X - Sidwell - obvious reasons

X - Pizarro - ditto

X - Bridge - this was also tough, because personally, i rate him better than Ashley, and would rather him start a match at LB than ACole. but i think it would be best to protect only one LB, and i think an expansion team is much more likely to select Ashley than Bridge.

X - Ferreira - i think he's taken a severe dip in form this year, and doubt anyone would take him

X - Tal Ben Haim - god bless you, take him off our hands

X - Cudicini - also a very tough decision, but it would be tough to keep two keepers on our protected list. even though Carlo is probably in the top 5 of all keepers in the league (assuming he played regularly), if we lost him, we could find a replacement keeper easier than we could find a replacement for Terry or Essien, etc.

X - Hilario - and for the same reason, if we lost Hilario, we'd still have Carlo

so the battle for the eleventh and final spot comes down to:

- Jon Mikel Obi (born 1987)

- Flourent Malouda (born 1980)

- Salomon Kalou (born 1985)

- Juliano Beletti (born 1976)

i would probably eliminate Beletti because i think it least likely that he'd be selected from the four of them.

the last spot -- between Mikel, Malouda and Kalou -- is probably a personal choice. i think i would lean towards protecting Mikel, even if he is a red card machine, because it seems that we're grooming him for the Maka role. however, that still leaves us with 4 central midfielders (Lamps, Essien, Ballack, and Mikel), and if we are shifting to a more winger approach, perhaps Malouda is the guy to keep. personally, i think Kalou is in a bit over his head, but i understand his youth and how many on the team like him.

so my final eleven:

1. Cech

2. Essien

3. Carvalho

4. Lampard

5. Ballack

6. Terry

7. A. Cole

8. J. Cole

9. SWP

10. Alex

11. Mikel

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If only one player will go then it wouldn't matter if both Ashley Cole and Wayne Bridge were unprotected because we would always be left with at least one or the other or possibly both and it doesn't especially matter which one does go. Same goes for Ferreira and Belletti.

Here's my protected XI

1. Cech - no brainer

2. Essien - no brainer

3. Carvalho - no brainer

4. Lampard- no brainer

5. Ballack- no brainer

6. Terry- no brainer

7. Mikel- no brainer

8. Malouda - I think he has a lot of potential for us

9. Kalou - ditto

10. Sheva - as we don't have any other strikers

11. Alex - We definitely need a good back up for centre half

The others I would be happy to leave unprotected either because we have two players for the same position and I don't feel too strongly about which stays and which goes:

Cudicini/Hilario

Cole A/Bridge

Ferreira/Belletti

SWP/Cole J

or because I really don't care if they go:

Makelele

Sidwell

Pizarro

Ben Haim

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I will assume Drogba stays and so should you. He's not gone yet. And if we leave Drogba out of the equation we should leave out Frank too, as there's just as much chance of him not being here as well.

1. Cech

2. Essien

3. Terry

4. Carvalho

5. Bridge/Cole

6. Lampard

7. Ballack

8. Mikel

9. Drogba

10. J.Cole

11. Belletti

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I will assume Drogba stays and so should you. He's not gone yet. And if we leave Drogba out of the equation we should leave out Frank too, as there's just as much chance of him not being here as well.

just, hate to quibble, but to paraphrase the last public words we've had on the subject:

Lampard: "I intend to stay at the club foreover, and look forward to signing a new deal once the season is over."

Drogba: "Let me repeat what I said in October. I want to leave the club. I haven't been happy since I came to London and Mourinho's departure has increased my desire to leave. I will play hard the rest of the season, but once the season is over, I'm gone."

so i would think there's not an equal chance of them leaving. while Frank still might pull a reverse-Stevie G and change his mind over the summer, he's said he's committed. and Drogba has said he is committed, too -- committed to leaving in June.

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I will assume Drogba stays and so should you. He's not gone yet. And if we leave Drogba out of the equation we should leave out Frank too, as there's just as much chance of him not being here as well.

1. Cech

2. Essien

3. Terry

4. Carvalho

5. Bridge/Cole

6. Lampard

7. Ballack

8. Mikel

9. Drogba

10. J.Cole

11. Belletti

Ditto

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I will assume Drogba stays and so should you. He's not gone yet. And if we leave Drogba out of the equation we should leave out Frank too, as there's just as much chance of him not being here as well.

just, hate to quibble, but to paraphrase the last public words we've had on the subject:

Lampard: "I intend to stay at the club foreover, and look forward to signing a new deal once the season is over."

Drogba: "Let me repeat what I said in October. I want to leave the club. I haven't been happy since I came to London and Mourinho's departure has increased my desire to leave. I will play hard the rest of the season, but once the season is over, I'm gone."

so i would think there's not an equal chance of them leaving. while Frank still might pull a reverse-Stevie G and change his mind over the summer, he's said he's committed. and Drogba has said he is committed, too -- committed to leaving in June.

Until Frank signs on the dotted line his words mean very little. Lampard was made an initial contract offer a year ago. He wasn't happy with that deal and further negotiations took place which he personally called a halt to. He still has not signed the contract.

Drogba has stated all along that he will leave. He's done that a bit too often for my liking but at least the club know with 100% certainty what his intentions are, (unlike Frank), and can plan accordingly, and with plenty of time, to bring in a replacement.

Besides in your scenario you can protect any eleven players and Drogba would be one of the first players I would want to protect to stop other clubs getting their hands on him.

I bet Grant, Roman, Buck and Kenyon wish they could do the same.

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Guest Brian M
Interesting concept.

1. Cech

2. Terry

3. Carvalho

4. Bridge

5. Essien

6. Mikel

7. Ballack

8. Shevchenko

9. Alex

10. Cudicini

11. Lampard

I like the idea of playing two keepers, Mr. E! So few managers know how to think outside the square like that. Playing Cudicini up front is a stroke of genius! icon_wink.gif

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As I read the post you are selecting the 11 players you want to protect rather than your first team and thus Henry, despite his head being nearer the ground than anyone elses (including Pauly who is bordering on dwarfdom) and thus at greatest risk of dust damage, is actually showing infinite sense as he is ensuring that we have a quality back up keeper (something we have not exactly been lacking in need for over the past 12 months).

If Carlo wsa a tad younger I would also have him in my eleven but as he is getting on now I would take the risk that he wouldn't be the player we lost and would therefore leave him unprotected.

Tough to decide on the eleven. Tried to approach it in such a way that you take account of the players you conisder vital (obviously) and then also take account of those positions where there is ample cover but also taking account of age.

So my eleven is

1. Cech

2. Terry

3. Carvalho

4. Ballack

5. Mikel

6. Essien

7. Joe Cole

8. Malouda

9. Drogba

10. Bridge

11. Alex

with a breif explanation for a few being

1. Lampard not protected on the grounds that I think Ballack is a better player, Essien has a lot more years left and Mikel is a very talented youngster. Lampard 2 years younger would have been in there for sure.

2. Alex protected because he is a quality 3rd choice centre half and it is clear we need one

3. Malouda protected purely on the grounds of need - we are very short of players to play on the flank and although I have my doubts about him I don't think we can afford to lose him

4. Neither right back protected as we will only risk losing one of them and either can do a job whilst Essien can provide back up or we can bring in a replacement. In cotrast to that I have protected Bridge as he is our best left back and I wouldn't want to see him move on.

5. I have followed Just's line on Drogba

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p.s. a question for the MLS fans.

How do the players tend to react to this scheme? I can just imagine the reaction of some of the inflated egos in football when they find out they have not been selected as one of the protected 11.

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As I read the post you are selecting the 11 players you want to protect rather than your first team and thus Henry, despite his head being nearer the ground than anyone elses (including Pauly who is bordering on dwarfdom) and thus at greatest risk of dust damage, is actually showing infinite sense as he is ensuring that we have a quality back up keeper (something we have not exactly been lacking in need for over the past 12 months).

I did the eliminations based on the positions we're more likely to be able to sign for with quality, making the players left out more dispensible. icon_wink.gif

AvingYa.gif

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p.s. a question for the MLS fans.

How do the players tend to react to this scheme? I can just imagine the reaction of some of the inflated egos in football when they find out they have not been selected as one of the protected 11.

i have no f'ing clue. i'll be honest and say i don't think i have ever sat and watched more than 10 minutes of an MLS game. the quality is just so poor, the stands are full of screaming 12 year old kids on field trips with the rest of their youth team, the field is either artificial surface and/or covered in American football markings, blah blah blah. To be fair, there are some good individual talents in the league, but soccer is not like basketball where you could watch a crap team or a crap game just because of one really good player.

what i will tell you is that expansion drafts are common in the States -- every few years a new American football team, or baseball team, or hockey team, or basketball team is formed, and they always rely on expansion drafts. much more commonly, however -- players are left unprotected or are released or allowed to sign elsewhere with no matching offer made in free agency scenarios or, in the case of the NFL, in roster moves made because of the salary cap implications. and while undoubtedly the players have to ticked off when they not shown to be the center of the team's universe, i think universally the attitude is: "It's business."

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What if a player who plays say for LA Galaxy were to be chosen by a new team in say Chicago. Can they reject the move on the grounds of having to relocate?

Here's where you need a quicker primer on American sports contracts versus football contracts in most of the rest of the world.

In American sports, a player signs a contract with a team and is property of that team for the duration of the contract. During that contract tenure, that team can trade the contract to any other team and at any time, or just sell the contract, and then the player becomes property of the other team. They cannot reject the move or would be in breach of contract. Similarly, once that contract expires, the player is free to sign with any other team he wants for any price he wants as a "free agent."

There are lots of complications to the system, of course -- some leagues have restrictions on free agency and allow a team to designate someone as a "franchise player," locking them in a bit longer in exchange for a nice cash payment; other leagues allow the existing team to match any offer and keep the player if the price is right. Some players have clauses in their contracts dictating that they cannot be traded without their approval, or have limitations on the teams they can be traded to. And even if a player doesn't have such a restriction, he can pitch a fit and announce he won't play for the team who traded for him (which happens all too often) and will essentially force a team to trade him on again or do something with him.

In the MLS, as I understand it, the league actually owns the player contracts. Even though the teams are independently run and operated, and have autonomy to sign players and trade players, etc., a transfer fee from an international team (like when Freddy Adu signed with Benfica, Clint Dempsey with Fulham, etc.) has to be approved by the league.

So in your scenario, if the LA Galaxy wanted to trade a player to Chicago, he'd really have no choice but to go. There are very few MLS players with the kind of clout to block a trade or hold one up -- Becks, of course, and some of the other recent international signings, along with Americans Landon Donovan, Jimmy Conrad, Taylor Twellman, Pablo Mastroeni come to mind. For everyone else, if they said they didn't want to be traded, he would find himself quickly out of a job, I guess.

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