What can we expect from transfer deadline day? Well, if you believe Rafa Benitez, not much. But we didn't become the most-teddy-bear-filled Chelsea blog in the world by doing something silly like believing Rafa Benitez one hundred percent. There's still room for an interesting deadline day in Chelsea-land. Here's a look at what might happen -- and what will probably happen.
There are obvious holes in the team. Chelsea might have the numbers for the double pivot, but they're badly lacking quality there. The Blues could use depth at striker. Long-term, it's not entirely clear who'll be the answer at left back. Ashley Cole's leaving in the near future, and neither Ryan Bertrand nor Patrick van Aanholt have conclusively demonstrated that they're capable of assuming the 34-year-old's mantle. There's plenty to be worked on, in other words. On top of that, the Blues are probably going to run around snapping up as many young prospects as they can, Michael Emenalo-style.
So, what happens if things go...
The press linked Chelsea to both Marouane Fellaini and Radamel Falcao throughout the day but those links always seemed speculative at best. The Blues make an improved offer to Jack Butland, hoping that 'I'm looking for more playing time' actually meant 'Give me more money or I won't not play for you', to no avail. There's some late noise about taking Etienne Capoue off Toulouse's hands, but nothing comes of it.
Seeking to address the midfield problem, Chelsea take a slight financial hit to recall Michael Essien from Real Madrid. With Nathianel Chalobah, Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku waiting in the wings, Chelsea refuse to pay over the odds to reinforce elsewhere, preferring to strengthen from within via the youth team. Jack Butland agrees to join from Birmingham City; Hilario is sent packing to whomever will take him.
With an eye on the future and not willing to block the prospects closest to cracking the first team, the Blues refuse to pay over the odds for a defensive midfielder. They do, however, hedge their Josh McEachran odds by activating Benat Etxebarria's £16 million release clause, looking to rotate the Real Betis midfielder with Frank Lampard in order to keep Lampard, who's offered a new one-year contract and signs immediately, fresh as he chases Bobby Tambling's record.
Chelsea also work out a summer deal with Southampton, rumoured to be £10 million plus add-ons, to bring Luke Shaw to Stamford Bridge, hoping that he'll shake things up at left back with Ashley Cole set to leave after the 2013/14 season.
Rafa Benitez is fired and replaced by Roberto di Matteo. Roman Abramovich apologises for screwing the supporters. The alien that's been pretending to be Fernando Torres for the past two years brings back the actual version from his holding facility orbiting Tau Ceti. This incarnation of Torres has a pair of working knees, superhuman speed and a renewed psychological need to score bags of goals.
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I was originally going to do this for all the Premier League teams, but Ryan has you covered for most of that. Take it away, Mr. Rosenblatt: