What could savvy spenders Chelsea do with a £75m war-chest?
Chelsea, odds-on with Coral at 1/8 to lift the Premier League, were championed for their transfer policy last summer.
The west London club appear to be talented at securing top dollar for their outgoing assets, enabling the Blues to spend big.
Now, after a demoralising defeat to PSG, it is reported that Roman Abramovich will loosen the purse strings and allow Jose Mourinho a £75m spending spree, plus any excess from sales.
So, Coral writers consider how the Stamford Bridge side can improve their already well-oiled machine as they attempt to conquer Europe again.
Back-up goalkeeper: Brad Friedel (free)
With Petr Cech set to depart Stamford Bridge in summer, a back-up custodian should be high on Mourinho’s hitlist. An experienced pro between the posts to compliment young Thibaut Courtois would be ideal, and few have more miles on the clock than Spurs deputy stopper Friedel.
Out of contract at the end of the season, the 43-year-old would be both a budget buy and short term stop gap in the vein of Chelsea’s previous move for veteran Mark Schwarzer.
Centre back: Aymeric Laporte (£32m)
A Blues bid for Mourinho’s former Real Madrid charge Raphael Varane appears inevitable and could set the club back up to £39m. On promise alone, Varane is worth the rather expensive punt. However, just as exciting is Athletic Bilbao’s Laporte. Potentially cheaper if reports of a £32m release clause are accurate, he could prove the better buy.
Chelsea already have enough experience at centre half, so recruiting a youngster seems smart. However, without skipper John Terry the Blues look vulnerable at the back, so a move for a more experienced and authoritative option is also possible.
Mourinho loves shopping at Atletico Madrid (20/1 to win the Champions League), so could look at Joao Miranda or Diego Godin.
Midfield playmaker: Ilkay Gundogan (£25m)
Chelsea could certainly use more invention to complement Cesc Fabregas in midfield, as when the Catalan schemer is off pace the Blues become disjointed. Anchorman Nemanja Matic is also irreplaceable, so Mourinho should set his sights on an all-rounder who can contribute at both ends of the pitch.
Borussia Dortmund conductor Gundogan is intelligent enough to intercept play and spring attacks, but would be a luxury option, despite having just over a year left on his Dortmund deal. Perhaps happier to rotate would be Everton midfield shield James McCarthy, who may welcome a move away from the troubled Toffees.
Forward: Luciano Vietto (£14.5m)
The Blues need a back-up forward Mourinho will actually utilise. Stamford Bridge legend Didier Drogba will likely hang up his boots at the end of the season and Loic Remy is rarely trusted.
An adaptable option rather than an out-and-out centre forward should be a priority, however, so Chelsea can field their potential signing in tandem with Diego Costa.
Off-loading versatile attacking midfielder Kevin De Bruyne looks a huge oversight, but Memphis Depay is expected to be on the market. Strong, a team player and with plenty of end product, the flying Dutchman can operate on the wing or as part of a forward three.
Alternatives could include Barcelona star Pedro, whose tactical intelligence would suit Mourinho to a tee, or talented Villarreal youngster Vietto. The energetic Argentine can also operate as a support striker and covers plenty of ground. Plus, a rumoured release clause of around £14.5m would make him a brilliant bargain.