Is Scott Parker the answer to Villas-Boas’ first major injury problem?

The news that Michael Essien will be out of action for six months has formed the first hurdle in the managerial career of Chelsea’s Andre Villas-Boas. The rumour mill has since proposed Scott Parker as the ideal candidate to fill the injury-created void, but is that best for all parties?

The belief was the Blues would proposition a season-long loan deal to West Ham and bring the 30-year-old in as cover for the injured Ghanaian, but surely Parker is worth more than a being labelled a temporary stop-gap. The midfielder deserved more from his dogged efforts last season, as even he was powerless to stop his side slipping into the Championship. It was thought he would find a new top flight club with consummate ease, but the Hammers say they have yet to receive a concrete bid for the Football Writers’ player of the year.

At first glance it seems a deal much better suited for Villas-Boas, and even West Ham – as the latter would receive an ample fee – than it does for the tenacious midfielder. He could paper over a crack, but when Essien returns early next year would Parker get shunted into the cold again? The very same reason was cited for his Stamford Bridge exit six-years ago. Parker would be 31 when any potential season-long deal expired, and he would still face an uncertain future, so surely it would make sense for him to find stability this summer.

It goes without saying that with a new manager comes new ideas. Villas-Boas has refused to get caught up with talk of tactics with regards his new project, but he did mention that his squad offer him ‘flexibility’, so it should come as no surprise to see some personnel moving into new territory. Some corners of the press have mentioned David Luiz filling in as a defensive midfielder, and that does tick some boxes. Although he made a few costly mistakes in his inaugural campaign, he conversely displayed traits of being a good ball-playing defender, so whilst he continues to adapt to the pace of the Premier League, utilising him where he has more protection could be feasible.

If Chelsea did sign a centre-half – with John Terry recently endorsing Bolton’s Gary Cahill’s credentials – it could prompt such a tactical switch. Branislav Ivanovic also offers a degree of versatility, so maybe Villas-Boas sees an answer within his inheritance rather than looking externally at Parker. There has been significant movement from certain teams in this transfer window, and it seems wrong that someone with Parker’s qualities is still waiting to find a new Premier League home. However, it would surely suit the remainder of his career to be able to look beyond just one season.

By the time Chelsea return from their tour of Asia, the Parker option may no longer be viable as any of his other potential suitors – Aston Villa, Everton, Tottenham or even Arsenal – may have made their move. The young Chelsea manager would then have to look down other avenues to cover the Essien-shaped void.

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