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Ballack hints at striker


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Michael Ballack insists it is unfair to put Chelsea's youngsters under pressure and has hinted that he wants manager Carlo Ancelotti to move for a striker in the January transfer window.

Ivory Coast strikers Didier Drogba, with 19 goals this season, and Salomon Kalou have already left for the African Nations Cup along with Nigerian midfielder John Mikel Obi and Ghana's Michael Essien.

Chelsea coach Ancelotti insists he will not spend in the January transfer market - preferring to place his trust in a host of second-string youngsters.

But the experienced Germany captain feels it would be unfair to heap the pressure on players like Gael Kakuta, Nemanja Matic, Fabio Borini, Jeffrey Bruma and Daniel Sturridge.

'The pressure shouldn't be on these players because they are young,' said Ballack. 'There shouldn't be so much focus on them, they should have time to grow over time.

'We'll see what the manager thinks about the situation but I hope there is not too much pressure on the young boys.

'It would not be fair to say they have to fill this gap, it is a big challenge and there are a lot of other players that can do it.

'But, for the young guys it is a chance with no pressure to have a few more games than before and make a name and help the team.'

A run of just one win in seven ended with victory over Fulham on Monday and now Ballack believes Chelsea can continue to lead the table in January.

'We have a strong squad, we have always shown this,' added the German.

'During the season so far we have had a few injuries but we can still compete and I hope we can deal with the situation.

'Everyone wants to beat us now as we have seen in the last months when we played against even the teams fighting at the bottom, and that's what we will expect in the next weeks.

'We are on top of the league and it is different to play like this from the front, everyone wants to catch us.

'We have to be strong and stay together, especially in January and try to replace the players that have left for the African Nations Cup.

'We have to cover this period and try still to be in first position when the African players return.'

http://www.rte.ie/sport/soccer/2009/1231/ballackm.html

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We're in a strange circumstance here in my opinion. We've got some brilliant but ageing strikers at the club, and a number of promising young forwards in the mould of Borini, di Santo and Sturridge, and we also have Kalou. Do we go out in to the transfer market, sign a big name striker and then bench him when Didier comes back and Nicolas is back to full fitness? We can't be sure we can buy in the summer, or the two following windows, so not signing anyone could be a fatal mistake. That's where I think Aguero can fit in nicely because not only can he play as a forward, but also in an advanced forward role in the diamond or one of the wider positions, such is his versatility. I'm not sure about Atletico's monetary situation, but they were certainly in need of income this time last year; its likely they might sell off one of their players in order to become self-sufficient, as teams that are in debt will not be able to participate in the Champions League from 2012 onwards. Maybe, for that reason, they will be willing to sell one of their bigger name players. Still, he's going to cost a hell of a lot of money and even though we're close to balancing the books, if we spend £40 million on a striker it will take us a couple of years to cancel out that financial expenditure. Do we stick or twist?

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Well if Anelka is fit now, we should be alright, he was up front a lot on his own last season due to Drogba's absence for a lot of the last campaign. He won the golden boot and scored no pens or FKs. I think we should return to the 4-3-3 tho.

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I'd say go for it.Yeh we have young players but be better to ease them in rather then shove them stright in.And like said we may not be able to buy till Summer 2011 so least we have back up...because we're starting to come injury hit and you just know one of ours is no doubt gana get injured in Africa..just to be safe I'd say but I duno.Be of a hmm situation

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I just don't see the point in buying a new 30 - 40 million pound striker for a month! Because that is inevitably what he will be brought in for. Drogba will not be dropped and how can you drop Anelka after how good he was last season, and, this year, even though he hasn't scored as many goals he has.. in my opinion.. been better. So for me, we play Anelka further forward in the "Drogba" role and have one of the youngsters playing off him. Much cheaper, doesn't mean we buy a player who will be left on thebench when Drogba returns and most important;y it gives the younger strikers valuable first team experience.

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