Winter is coming. It’s that part of the footballing year again, where the media go frenzy linking every player out there to Chelsea and notably few to other clubs. We’ve not been spared this year too, even after Mourinho clearly indicating a silent January window to come by,
"Nobody goes in. Nobody goes out." - Mourinho
So what’s the bite this time? Our DMF and Striker woes are world-known. A tale of not buying a list of players when we had the chance. That’s another story to lament; anyways what have the media got here as potential deals for a January. Considering some the ‘targets’ as touted, for discussion.
Kurt Zouma (AS Saint-Étienne, France)
Most buzz seems to be around this 19 year old France junior, as Chelsea are weighing up a £13m bid in January. He’d be eligible for the Champions league, an additional option for rotation between our three playing centre-backs, saving us from being left with no backup when one has to miss out, a long term replacement for the John Terry role. Has impressive stats, averaging a pass accuracy of 86%, 11 defensive actions/game, 75% aerial duel wins. Interesting fact is, he’s serving a 10 match domestic ban for his tackle which left the opponent with a broken leg. Killer.
What needs to be considered here is that we’ve already signed and loaned Omeruo to ADO Den Haag(Though not very lustrous there, scored a goal, an own goal, and got sent off once), also have Kalas in line, waiting for his chance, since his debut cameo, and this signing could would mean the end of the road for the other two in the near future.
Nemaja Matic (Benfica, Serbia)
The one that got away. Never thought including him in the deal for Luiz would come back to haunt us, should’ve been just cash or atleast a buy back clause back then. This is actually the one deal I’d take with closed eyes, Matic has become something else since leaving. The perfect enforcer we lack, a strong figure to hold, distribute and dictate play from the deep mid and the ability to bomb forward when needed. His puskas award nominated strike is worth a mention.
Though rumors of Pogba are floating around too, it seems a distant dream with him set to sign a contract. Again something to consider here, one signing for this role and we have the futures of Romeu, MvG, Ake, Chalobah, RLC, Baker in question.
Of Falcao, Jackson Martinez, and Suarez. Yes, Luis Suarez.
Rumors have been coming about a loan deal for Falcao, swap for Suarez and Jackson Martinez. As much as unbelievable the first two are with Falcao repeatedly telling he’s happy at Monaco and the history we have with Suarez. Jackson Martinez seems the only plausible one, who is also a distant dream with him being cup-tied for CL even if signed. Mourinho’s sounds fixed about no buys in that department and striker doesn’t look the most pressing of our problems to me but the more he says this, the more certain we can be to expect someone in Jan.
"In the January market we won't buy any striker, we'll go to the end of the season with Fernando, Samuel and Demba Ba." - Mourinho
Fredy Guarin (Inter, Colombia)
This is the deal that’s most close to happening, from his agent confirming talks with Chelsea, alos with the reason for Mourinho attending the Colombia-Belgium game being told to be to watch him and not Falcao or our Belgian boys. Haven’t followed much of Inter but from what I know he’s a versatile mid, naturally CM can play DM/B2B/AM. Decent player, can be a one to two season patch for now with MvG injured and our DM issues being wide known. Has pretty good stats with 53% tackle success, 56% take on success, 55% headed duel success and averages 2 interceptions and key passes a game. He’s not your long term answer to someone who can dictate play or completely control the game, but considering he’ll be available for CL, he doesn’t look like a bad shout for around 15m pounds as said.
My opinion, only slow but constant youth integration can pave way for an era of success. Splashing the cash every now and then for short stints of success can’t go on forever. The buying has to gradually decrease, to fit in the talent from what we got, probably the best youth team in Europe. The arrival of a ST looks inevitable atleast by summer, but the other roles can be made do with chances for youngsters by being ready to give Mourinho time to work with the squad, even seasons, to build something big. So I’d take a completely quiet January or one last ditch signing to salvage something from this season.