What does Jose Mourinho do with Chelsea this summer?
There are potential arguments that Jose Mourinho and Chelsea, 19/10 with Coral to beat Leicester to nil next time out, have got lucky this season. An over-reliance on Diego Costa has led to the centre forward, signed last summer from Atletico Madrid, being and injured and means he has barely played all April.
Thankfully, the 26-year-old scored the bulk of his goals before his latest hamstring problem, which gave them a decent cushion at the top of the Premier League table. With Loic Remy also injured and veteran striker Didier Drogba half fit, the Blues did what they were good at against Arsenal and soaked up the pressure.
In recent games, the chant “Boring, boring Chelsea” has been heard emanating from opposition support. The bottom line is that the Blues have earned the right to be what Mourinho calls “strategic rather than artistic”, and this worked to great effect against the Gunners.
However, his hand was forced with the lack of a recognised centre forward, though they returned to the ethos that Mourinho has always built his teams on. Ironically, last season, the Blues also did this to great effect, though without a top class striker, a lack of goals and an ability to kill games off cost them the title.
They definitely remedied this in the summer, though were possibly reminded at the Emirates that goals also win titles.
There is no doubt that Chelsea will continue to strengthen when the transfer window opens, while outgoings are also likely. Quality backup for Costa is key, a decision will need to be made on Remy as to whether he stays in the fold and as always, Mourinho may seek to work on his defensive options.
Recent news has emerged linking them with Marseille’s combative midfielder Giannelli Imbula. The Blues have reportedly been tracking the 22-year-old for two years, and he certainly fits the Mourinho mould; in the form of a Michael Essien or Claude Makelele, and Marseille could be tempted to cash in on the £25m-rated midfielder.
Interestingly, Juventus are also keen, which could be interpreted that they are planning for life without Paul Pogba. Imbula’s arrival at Stamford Bridge, would likely bring an end to John Obi Mikel’s time at the club, while also easing the workload on class act Nemanja Matic in the double pivot.
However, what Mourinho decides to do up front, is perhaps the most intriguing decision. Reports in Spain have linked them to Barcelona attacker Pedro, with the Spaniard playing second fiddle to the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez, and there is no doubt the 27-year-old would add quality, having won everything for club and country.
The name Gareth Bale also keeps cropping up. While his arrival would undoubtedly, heavily increase Chelsea’s chances of winning multiple, major trophies next term, he would come at some price.
Having fallen out with fans, he, like Cristiano Ronaldo, has the potential to be converted into a centre forward role, excel and become one of the very best. Under Mourinho, he would also have the right tutor as well. Don’t rule out a bid in excess of £70m, however, with Los Blancos keen on Eden Hazard, this could be a non-starter, though Real could turn their attentions to Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus to compensate.
Mourinho, though, isn’t necessarily a manager who will sign a crowd-pleaser at exorbitant fees, if he can find an underrated, effective alternative at a cheaper price. The Danny Ings situation at Burnley is a situation that many clubs are likely to be monitoring with interest.
Available on a free transfer, plus compensation, whether Mourinho thinks Ings could make a step-up is a different matter, though he has shown this season, he is certainly a proven goalscorer and at the age of 22, definitely one for the future.
Failing that, Sevilla hitman Carlos Bacca has proven his worth this term, and is of a similar mould to Costa. The goal machine has been prolific, both in La Liga and the Europa League, and with the southern Spanish outfit said to be looking for £15m, he would definitely represent a bargain, while placating fans.
With long-serving Petr Cech likely to leave at the end of the season, in pursuit of first team football, with Arsenal and PSG heavily linked, a new number two will also be high on the list of priorities for Mourinho, which could see him move for someone in the same vein as Shay Given.
It certainly will be a busy summer once again at Stamford Bridge, with Mourinho knowing only too well, the effect that recruiting quality can have on a team’s title chances.