After the purchases of Marco van Ginkel and Andre Shurrle, and the signing of Mark Schwarzer Chelsea have probably done the majority of their dealings. The roster looks good with a well rounded mix of veterans and young players. The team currently looks like this:
(NB: Romeu not included due to likely loan)
There are some weaknesses there. Whilst we have four veteran players (Lampard, Terry, Cole and Schwarzer) we have fewer who are in their prime and at their peak age (between 25-30, depending on their position). This seems to be why Mourinho said yesterday that this team will be at its best in 5, 6, 7 years time.
There are three positions which stick out for me where i can see changes either coming or would come if possible:
As shown above, we've got 6 players who can play in central midfield which seems a decent amount to cover the whole season. However, looking closer, none of these players are near being the best central midfielders in the world. Part of this is because, besides Ramires and Mikel, none of these players are in their peak, with Lampard 35, van Ginkel a Premier League virgin (and 20 years old), Essien a shadow of the player we knew and Luiz (our best centre back) having little experience at playing in midfield. Actually, the fact that Luiz was even considered for midfield last year implies that our first choice midfielders are not superb or are lacking in some way. The signing of van Ginkel was good but if we are to win the league and beat our worst problem last year - holding onto leads and controlling games - then central midfield remains a true weakness.
What I can see happening
1/ Roma replacing De Rossi with Strootman
2/ Chelsea making a bid for De Rossi
3/ Galatasary/Trabzonspor making another bid for Mikel.
The conclusion of this might be De Rossi to Chelsea and selling Mikel, or it might be that De Rossi or Mikel don't want to leave and the whole thing falls apart. Given the problem we have in this position, I'm banking on Chelsea strengthening central midfield further and making a big move for De Rossi or another combatative central midfielder so long as Mikel leaves. This would be a shame however, as Mikel is a very good player with an attacking skillset he rarely uses; it'd be sad to see him leave without fulfilling his potential. It does appear likely though: we've been consistently linked to him, his post-Confederation Cup talks at Roma were inconclusive, and he's a favourite of Mourinho (he tried signing him at Inter and Real Madrid). He'd also be a good stop gap for Romeu/Chalobah.
The problem here is that we have seven players who could all start for us in attacking midfield. Of these, Oscar, Mata and Hazard have proven to be probably the best line of three in the Premier League and we've now added two players to the roster (Schurrle and de Bruyne) who are better players than Marin, Benayoun and Moses. This puts us in an interesting position as only one of these players is likely to be seen by the club as a viable sellable asset: Victor Moses. The others are either indispensible recently bough or about to be given a chance. Mose had a decent season, if not spectacular, last year and is now further behind the pecking order than he was. If one of the players in front of him gets a big injury he'd be a rotational player on the wings but he has five guys in front of him with little injury history and he might really struggle for minutes. So Moses is a player likely to have fewer minutes, large transfer value and is replaceable.
What I can see happening
1/ Everton/other Premier League team put in competitive bid for Moses
2/ Chelsea seriously considers it
The conclusion of this seems really unclear as Moses is a good player and an asset to the team. I doubt that Moses (who lives close to his family at the moment and is just a year into a five year contract) is in a rush to move and likely backs himself to retain a squad place. He's hard working and follows instructions, Mourinho may love him. However the club may decide that our accounts would look better without Moses and he'd be no great loss. The outcome is 50/50 at the moment for me.
This situation is slightly hilarious, if you're not a Chelsea fan. We have two players who are on salaries that they're worth (Ba and Lukaku) and one player whose salary is so high that he's actually managed to convince himself that he's a good striker. Let me tell you Fernando, you're not. There are dozens of strikers around who are better than Torres and two of them are in the team right now. But due to his £27,000,000 contract no one wants him and he's quite happy where he is thank you. Buying a top level striker seems financially very risky in this context, whilst buying a very good striker like Higuain wouldn't improve the team that much anyway. With Falcao, Lewandowski and Cavani tied up, there's really not much chance of seriously improving the forward line anyway.
What I can see happening
1/ Chelsea hawk Torres across the continent, even trying to arrange swap deals
2/ No one bites, faces get laughed at.
I think we're stuck with the forward line we've got, guys. Hopefully we can win the league without the best strike force in the league (or even close to it) and Lukaku will do himself justice and end the season as the unquestioned top dog.
What do you think then? What changes to the roster can you see before 31st August? Will we just stay as we are? Where are my shoes?