Mourinho to drop big name stars – but who are the Chelsea players to replace them?

first_img 5 Bertrand Traore for Eden Hazard – Hazard was put in the same bracket as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi but after his performances this season those suggestions seem laughable. The Belgian is yet to score this season and began the Porto clash on the bench, but if Mourinho is to turn to his kids then he has an exciting replacement waiting in the wings. Traore has spent the last two seasons at Chelsea’s feeder club Vitesse Arnhem and last term he bagged an impressive 17 goals in 36 appearances. Mourinho opted against sending him on loan again and it may be time to show Blues fans why. Papy Djilobodji for Gary Cahill – Chelsea’s defence is in complete disarray with only Sunderland conceding more goals than them in the Premier League this season. Kurt Zouma and Cahill appear to be Mourinho’s first choice at the moment but neither have been particularly convincing. Djilobodji has only made one appearance for the Blues but if the manager is considering overhauling the first team to give it a more youthful feel, then the Senegalese centre-back will be first in line to come in. Kenedy for Oscar – Chelsea invested a lot of time in securing Kenedy’s services this summer and while his compatriot Nathan went on loan, the 19-year-old remained in West London. He has found himself on the bench regularly but has so far been unable to make an impression. However, with Mourinho hinting at dropping his big name stars, the Brazilian could be in line for a starting berth in place of Oscar, who has disappointed since his return to the team. Ruben Loftus-Cheek for Cesc Fabregas – Loftus-Cheek could easily come in and replace either Fabregas or Nemanja Matic in central midfield, but given the fragility of the Blues’ back four at the moment, dropping Matic could make things worse. Fabregas has been a shadow of the player that contributed 18 assists last season. Loftus-Cheek is energetic, hard-tackling and eager to make an impression and would add some much needed passion into a side that, against Porto, looked like they didn’t care. It is a pity his fellow youth teammate Isaiah Brown was one of the 33 players carted out on loan otherwise he would certainly be involved too. 5 5 Baba Rahman for Branislav Ivanovic – Ivanovic has had a torrid start to this season and Tuesday night’s Champions League clash against Porto was no different. The Serbian’s game by numbers read as 10 misplaced passes, 10 tackles attempted, one tackle won (in the 90th minute), no aerial duels won and no crosses completed. Mourinho has made Ivanovic his captain in the absence of John Terry but perhaps it is time to find someone else. Cesar Azpilicueta is a more than capable right back, allowing £17m summer signing Baba Rahman to start at left back. After another poor showing from Chelsea, this time in the Champions League against Porto, Jose Mourinho could be set to follow through on his threat to drop his big name stars.The Blues boss said he would be willing to play the younger members of his squad if the current crop continued to underperform, and while Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matic suffered that fate on Tuesday night, there may be more to come.So who could Mourinho pick from his young guns to turn around Chelsea’s season and end this terrible run of form?talkSPORT looks at five potential replacements for the Blues’ current line-up of stars – click the arrow above, right, to see who is in and who is out.  5 5last_img read more

Speculation brewing over Pixar-Disney deal

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The more time that passes without a new distribution deal between The Walt Disney Co. and Pixar Animation Studios, the greater the speculation, including a theory that Disney is angling to buy Pixar and install its CEO Steve Jobs as Disney’s chairman. Analysts believe a new distribution deal is likely – and soon. But they dismiss the notion that Disney would buy Pixar. An outright purchase would be too expensive, analysts say, and would not be wise for either company in the long term. “I think it’s absurd,” said David Miller, an analyst with Sanders Morris Harris. “It would have to be an enormously compelling offer to even have Mr. Jobs stop and consider it for maybe more than five seconds.” Still, guessing the terms of a deal has become a bit of a sport on Wall Street, with speculation pushing Pixar shares higher in recent days. Most analysts who cover both companies believe Pixar will soon announce a new deal that has Disney distributing its highly popular – and profitable – animated films. It’s current agreement with Disney expires later this year when Pixar delivers its latest film, “Cars.” During an earnings conference call last November, Jobs said of Disney: “We will know if we are going to continue our relationship with them by the end of this year.” That target date has come and gone with no elaboration from either side on the status of the talks, thus fueling the current rumors. Renewed speculation about a deal helped drive up shares of Pixar nearly 8 percent to $58.16 last Wednesday. Another possible trigger for the sudden jump was the expansion of an earlier deal between Disney and Jobs’ other company, Apple Computer Inc., to provide more entertainment for download on Apple’s iPod. Shares dropped back to $56 the next day and have been trading around that price since. Shares fell 37 cents to $56.04 at the end of regular trading Tuesday on the Nasdaq stock exchange. “Something has to happen soon,” Marla Backer, an analyst at Research Associates Llc, wrote in a recent report. The current Disney-Pixar deal expires with the June 9 release of “Cars.” Marketing plans for Pixar’s 2007 release, tentatively titled “Ratatouille,” must be made soon. “We continue to believe that a deal gets done with Disney that offers Pixar better economics and greater control of its characters,” Backer wrote. The most likely reason for the delay is that a new deal with Disney is complex, despite the mutual respect that has developed between Jobs and Disney CEO Robert Iger. Animosity between Jobs and former Disney CEO Michael Eisner led to the two sides breaking off talks in 2004. “There are a lot of moving parts here,” Miller said. “It’s not as simple as slapping together an extension of the current agreement.” Under the existing deal, Disney co-finances each of Pixar’s productions, and the two companies split the profits evenly after Disney takes a distribution fee. The two companies also share ownership of the films, and Disney has the right to make sequels on its own if Pixar refuses to participate. That has led to some conflict, especially over Disney’s announced plans to produce “Toy Story 3.” Pixar has said it wants to own 100 percent of its own films after “Cars” and wants to pay a straight distribution fee, without splitting any profits – an arrangement similar to the one George Lucas had with Twentieth Century Fox for his “Star Wars” films. Pixar has more than $1 billion in cash, enough to finance its own films. Analysts believe Pixar also wants to regain control of its film library from Disney and might also be pushing to keep more of the profits from “Cars” than the current deal allows. Perhaps the most intriguing bit of speculation is that Disney will buy Pixar and make Jobs its chairman. Not likely, several analysts say. “We reaffirm our view that a Pixar acquisition by Disney makes no sense,” Doug Mitchelson, an analyst with Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. wrote last month. Disney would have to pay a hefty premium for Pixar, anywhere from $70 per share, or $8.4 billion, to $100 per share, or $12 billion, analysts believe. Such a large deal would depress Disney’s stock, saddling it with enormous debt and lowering its earnings, some analysts have said. Jobs owns 50 percent of Pixar stock and would stand to make a fortune if he sells. But Miller believes something more than money drives Jobs. “He looks at Pixar like you and I look at our children,” Miller said. “Our children aren’t for sale.”last_img read more