Do Chelsea really need to spend this January and what about the summer?
Chelsea, 7/1 to win the Champions League, have been linked with a couple of players this transfer window, though do they actually need to strengthen their squad?
In recent days, a bid has been made for Fiorentina’s Colombian winger Juan Cuadrado, though it is thought Chelsea are put off by the 26-year-old’s £26.8m release clause. There is no doubt he would add quality, though, with Willian in his position and Mohamed Salah, signed last January, the club do have alternatives.
However, it is thought Egyptian winger Salah is wanted on loan by Roma until the end of the season. Chelsea will only agree to this if a deal can be struck for the Italian side to pay £12m for him in the summer to make the switch permanent.
And then there is Andre Schurrle, bought by the Blues for £18m. It is thought that Wolfsburg are prepared to pay £23m for the German World Cup winner, though apparently he wants a move to Borussia Dortmund. With Marco Reus looking likely to leave this summer, bidding for Schurrle would make sense.
Latest news suggests that Chelsea may be turning their attentions to Shakhtar Donetsk’s Brazilian attacker Douglas Costa for a fee believed to be in the region of £16m. He would join up with Willian, who he played alongside for the Ukraine-based club, though is more of a combination of both Chelsea’s current right winger and Oscar. The latter usually operates behind Costa’s namesake Diego Costa.
Whether a move for Douglas Costa makes tactical sense, he would certainly add another dimension to Chelsea’s attack. Eden Hazard is the only player in the Blues’ supporting three that would be realistically guaranteed a place in the starting line-up every week, despite the arrival of either Cuadrado, Costa or both.
The perfect scenario for Chelsea and Jose Mourinho is that they sell Schurrle for £23m, agree the requisite deal for Salah and land one of, or both their targets this January. Should they sign Costa, they are likely to make a profit either way, which is one thing the Blues have done very well over the past three years in their transfer dealings, and are one of the only clubs to comply with Financial Fair Play, just on this business function alone.
In the summer, it could be a different story. Didier Drogba is likely to move across into a coaching role and the need to spend substantially to replace him could become more necessary. Then, Mourinho may decide to bring in another midfielder to step into the shoes of Frank Lampard, who departed for Manchester City-owned franchise, New York City last season, before joining the Etihad outfit on loan.
If there is one thing the Blues have missed this season, it is this type of box-to-box dynamism that Lampard gave them for years. The only players who could realistically take the role is Paul Pogba at Juventus, who would cost around the £60m mark, and then a striker for £30m plus.
Recouping that might be where Chelsea have problems. The arrival of another central midfielder may spell the end to John Obi Mikel’s career at the club, and the Nigerian could command £15m at a push. One thing the west London club have in their favour, though, is one part of their very clever investment strategy; buying young talent to loan them out. This paid off with Romelu Lukaku, who they bought for £14m and sold to Everton for £28m three years later.
Currently, Marko van Ginkel, Christian Atsu, Ryan Bertrand, Marko Marin and Thorgan Hazard (Eden’s brother) are just a few of the players that the Blues have out on loan and, at the moment, may command around the £70m mark, on current market value. Selling all of their assets at once would mean they have to start the cycle again, however.
This doesn’t factor in cash that will be available from broadcasting rights and any potential trophy wins though. When Chelsea won the Champions League in 2012, this meant they could once again spend more heavily in the transfer window, with Hazard and Oscar just two of the players that joined on lucrative fees. They have a realistic chance to do so again this season, under two-time winner Mourinho, and it would significantly boost their available expenditure.
It certainly will be an interesting end to the winter window, and could determine what happens in the summer, if things don’t materialise as planned.