The international break has seemingly given José Mourinho some room to breathe and a welcome respite from endless rumours about his "impeding dismissal" from the club. In the meantime, it appears that the manager got a small victory on his side, even, as the Chelsea board reportedly begun discussions with Mourinho about bringing new players to the team, according to Simon Johnson from the London Evening Standard.
The report claims that Mourinho handed the board a shortlist containing not only players he wants to buy but also the ones he wants to sell in the winter transfer window. It seemed as though the club weren't willing to make landmark signings in the winter, which was somewhat implied on the vote of confidence given to Mourinho back in October, but apparently the club's directors revised their approach on the issue, admitting that they made mistakes in their summer arrangements entering this season.
Mourinho's shortlist has six transfer targets which include names heard during the last transfer window such as Everton's John Stones and PSG's Marquinhos. For the midfield, the manager has his sights on two young names in Porto's Ruben Neves and Red Star's Marko Grujic -- although Grujic himself said his most likely destination is Italy. As for the attack, Mourinho's choices to reinforce the sector are Shakhtar Donetsk's Alex Teixeira and Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette. Is this right; not a single washed-up striker or uninspiring veteran signing? Still, that's a rather heavy dose of activity for January, and that's not something for which there is much precedent at all.
The players on the opposite side of the ledger are Colombian striker Radamel Falcao -- who could see his loan deal cut short -- and former Nantes defender Papy Djilobodji, who would probably be one of the most expensive transfers in history based solely on minutes played as he only managed to record a single one at Chelsea in a League Cup game against Walsall in September.
Chelsea expect that this transfer overhaul will bring the results needed by the team to turn their fortunes around by the second half of the season, although our chances of reaching the Champions League through the league are still slim. And if the plan goes through, this also means more bad news for some of our U21 players, who see their chances of breaking into the first-team getting smaller with every media report.