Gary Cahill hasn't yet put ink to paper on his new contract with Chelsea, and will not for at least another nine days, so it might be a touch premature analysing how it will effect the rest of the dealings during the January transfer window, but hey, I'm going to do it anyway, because I'm on a train and I'm bored. What does the £7M deal mean? To the bullet points!
- Firstly, Chelsea now have £7M less to spend from the transfer kitty, and probably (i.e. guessing wildly here) around £50K/week more on their wage bill. That's not overly constricting, but the Blues operate a budget, and it's taken a modest hit at this point.
- Chelsea can now sell Alex without stressing about not having a fourth choice centre back. No matter what you think of Cahill or Branislav Ivanovic, both of them have proven they have what it takes to start in the Premier League. That means no more emergency Jose Bosingwa-ing, because as fun as that experiment was, if it ever happens again I'm going to give myself some sort of medical condition from all the twitching.
- This does not necessarily mean Chelsea are out of the market for a defender, however - there's an obvious need to get a long-term replacement for John Terry no matter whether or not the club expect the criminal charges against him to lead to anything drastic, and if an elite defender becomes available in January, nobody in their right will say 'we don't need Mats Hummels because we have Gary Cahill already'.
- The most obvious consequence of this move and the subsequent expected sale of Alex means that Chelsea would have two international slots (Nicolas Anelka having already departed) left to play with this window, and we all know that they're unlikely to stay open with this team. They might not be major moves, but in all likelihood expect two more senior non-English players coming in next month.
It seems likely that Cahill isn't the endgame but the start of a series of moves. Get ready for an exciting month.