There is a quiet, albeit typically expensive, revolution taking place at Stamford Bridge. With the Champions League mission accomplished, Chelsea's long-mooted root-and-branch reboot can begin.
The old guard are being replaced by precocious young talent. Pinning your future on potential brilliance is a risky strategy, but in the case of Brazilian Oscar dos Santos Emboaba Junior there is little reason for concern. Already a picture of composure as a 20-year-old, he has the attributes to become a shrewd signing for Chelsea, even at the expected fee of £22million.Mastery
A central playmaker, Oscar walked out of Sao Paulo in 2010 to join Porto Alegre's Internacional due to non-payment of wages. A court ruling ordered him to return in March of this year, but Internacional settled the matter with a compensation payment of around £5m.
Oscar scored a hat-trick in the final of the 2011 Under-20 World Cup which won Brazil the title, and has thrived in an Internacional side controlled by his dependable passing and easy mastery of space.
"He's quick, dynamic, very athletic," says Rupert Fryer, founder of southamericanfootball.co.uk. "He's very much a contemporary player. Versatile, quick in transition, he can play between the lines and burst beyond the back line at speed. He's also got much better in front of goal recently."
While Oscar has the legally required silky Brazilian skills in his locker, he is rarely flash. The midfielder's balance is one of his biggest assets, and his unerringly straight-backed running style allows him to play with his head up and drift away from markers with ease.
"He's not the greatest tackler in the world, he's not terrific in the air and will probably need to bulk up, although he's by no means weak," says Fryer. "He'll just get a lot less protection in England than in Brazil, where if someone blows on you get a free kick.
"He's been compared to Kaka as he's quick, but I think Oscar has a better eye for a pass. Kaka's main gift was speed, Oscar prefers to operate in the spaces between the lines. I'd say he's more like Mesut Özil, though perhaps not technically as gifted."
Rather than enjoying a streaky goalscoring run or relying entirely on youthful pace, Oscar is blessed with permanently fashionable footballing gifts. If he can adapt to the Premier League he could become the linchpin of the most exciting Chelsea side in a decade.