Chelsea's lack of depth in central midfield is one of the problems that's dogged this squad from the beginning of the season. While the Blues have some quality players in the middle of the pitch, it's increasingly clear that losing both Michael Essien and Raul Meireles in August has badly hurt our ability to compete on all fronts, and with Oriol Romeu injured and John Obi Mikel off on Africa Cup of Nations duty... well, we're very light in the double pivot. I'm sure you get the idea.
There have been several potential solutions to this dilemma thrown around. Marouane Fellaini is an obvious, although expensive fit. Real Betis' Benat, although a completely different player, could also help plug the gaps. Chelsea have been linked to both, and it wouldn't really surprise me to see one of the two on our squad come February. But I think there's another potential fit floating around. We'll just have to think a little bit outside the box to find it.
Or maybe we'll just look in last summer's box. Luka Modric has a Chelsea target for a long while now, and his move to the Santiago Bernabeu hasn't gone well for either him or Real Madrid. He hasn't adapted to La Liga effectively, and although he's obviously very talented he's finding it very difficult to break into the squad. Oh, and he cost a silly amount of money, which his team would probably do well to recoup.
Chelsea need help in the pivot. Modric was England's most accomplished pivot player last season. It's a pretty obvious fit. If I were Michael Emenalo, I'd go to Madrid with an offer like this:
- 18 month loan for Luka Modric.
- €10 million loan fee.
- €25 million option to buy at end of 2013/14 season.
- Chelsea pay full wages.
It's an offer that would make sense for all parties. Modric gets to play in an environment which suits him better. Madrid lose a huge chunk of the financial burden they took on in acquiring the midfielder from Tottenham Hotspur this summer. And Chelsea get an elite player to reinforce the centre this season and beyond.
I don't know if Madrid would be interested enough to do something like that, mind, but I'm positive that they'd at least be willing to think about it. It makes too much sense not to pursue -- and indeed, we've seen a couple of (fairly insubstantial, to my eyes) rumours that Chelsea are looking into something like this.