This morning's announcement that Chelsea had completed the signing of Demba Ba saw a refreshing change in policy for the club. Instead of spending inflated fees on so-called 'marquee signings' seconds before the close of the transfer window (you know who I'm talking about here...), Chelsea completed a relatively cheap signing of a proven Premier League player, and they completed it in the first week of the window.
So what does the rest of January hold for Chelsea, transfer-wise? There have been talks about a new left-back (Fabio Coentrao in particular) with Ashley Cole's contract running out in the summer, but it seems more likely that this will be left until the summer, unless Ashley chooses to move on in this window. In my eyes, there are three possible areas that the club may look to strengthen over the next month...
With John Terry's injury and David Luiz's move to midfield, we have looked a little short at the back in recent weeks. If, like me, you believe that Luiz has looked significantly more comfortable in midfield and should from now on be treated as a pivot midfielder, we are left with only Cahill, Ivanovic (a right-back) and the injured and ageing Terry. For me, centre-back is the position in most need of improvement right now.
In terms of loanees, we have the likes of Tomas Kalas, Jeffrey Bruma and Nathaniel Chalobah who could come in and do a job, but it would be better for their development for them to remain on loan until at least the end of the season. It also doesn't seem necessary to spend a vast sum on someone like Mats Hummels or Sergio Ramos. There are several good options around with reasonable price-tags. Ryan Shawcross would undoubtedly form a solid partnership with Cahill, though his newly-signed contract could prove a stumbling block. Better options would be Spurs-target Toby Alderweireld or Brazilian Dede. In both cases, Chelsea have existing Belgians and Brazilians that could aid any potential deal.
In terms of attacking midfield, Chelsea have a wealth of talent to choose from. However, in the pivot positions, we are less secure. Despite David Luiz's successful move to the pivot, Oriol Romeu's injury, Mikel heading to the AFCON and Frank Lampard's seemingly imminent departure mean that Chelsea could certainly do with another option in their position.
The team has been lacking a strong midfield boss since the departure of Michael Ballack and a hard-working ball-winning midfielder would allow players like Luiz, Lampard and Mikel to concentrate on their passing and creativity. The problem with this position is that the club will most likely have to fork out a pretty large amount of money to get a truly quality player. Paulinho, Cheick Tiote and Radja Nainggolan would all be fine, if expensive, signings. But for me the stand-out option is Everton's Marouane Fellaini, an outstanding box-to-box midfielder that would add true steel to the Blues' midfield.
After the signing of Demba Ba, this has perhaps become the least urgent of these three positions. But we still only have two strikers on our books. Another would surely be welcomed. Again, there is no real need to spend big - this can be done with Falcao or Cavani in the summer. But there are several cheaper options that would significantly improve out strikeforce and end any sort of reliance on Fernando Torres.
Theo Walcott and Fernando Llorente are yet to sign new contracts and would therefore be available for a cut-price fee. Arsenal are unlikely to want to sell, especially to Chelsea, and there are doubts as to whether Llorente would fit in with out style of play. But the options are still there.
There is also, of course, the option to recall Romelu Lukaku, who has been impressive at West Brom and could be the perfect final pice in our striker puzzle. Much like the defensive loanees, though, his development would surely be enhanced by remaining on loan, where he will undoubtedly see more time on the pitch.
So, which position should Chelsea be looking at, or should they turn their attention to a separate position altogether? Who are our best and most realistic targets? Let me know in the comments section and thanks for reading.