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Seven defensive players on Chelsea shortlist for January, including Monaco pair — reports

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Silly Season.

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AS Monaco FC v Tottenham Hotspur FC - UEFA Champions League Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

The hills are alive with the sounds of the January transfer window, and various reports across the English media are giving a run-down of Chelsea’s targets for the transfer window ahead. Despite the eleven-match winning streak, Chelsea are apparently expected to be one of the busier teams, partly by choice (add depth) and partly by circumstance (Oscar’s £60m sale to China; Mikel departure; others?).

The common thread between the reports in the Telegraph (Matt Law) and the Guardian (Dom Fifield) and probably others is Chelsea’s intention to fully reinvest the Oscar millions and to fully reinvest them into defensive targets, be that actual defenders or wing-backs or defensive midfielders.

Altogether seven names are mentioned across the three reports, though one gets the feeling that would’ve been eight had Leonardo Bonucci not just signed a new contract extension at Juventus. In no particular order the hopeful eight are:

  • Antonio Rüdiger — the Roma center back has been on the list since at least last summer, and he once looked very close to actually coming to Chelsea before suffering a knee injury while on international duty with Germany. (Meanwhile, the Mail also mention Roma teammate Kostas Manolas).
  • Simon Kjaer — the former Lille standout and current center back partner to everyone’s favorite Slovakian ex-Liverpool nice guy Martin Škrtel is a fairly new name in the rumor mill and possibly a decent backup.
  • Michael Keane — Burnley’s Michael Keane (and also Boro’s Ben Gibson, who goes unmentioned outside of the Mail) are a couple young, home-grown options for Chelsea to consider.
  • Niklas Süle — he’s good and he plays in the Bundesliga, so he’s probably off to Bayern or some such.
  • Djibril Sidibé & Tiemoué Bakayoko — perhaps the two most intriguing names on the list, with Emenalo & Conte supposedly going to scout them in person when Monaco played Spurs in the Champions League. With Monaco continuing on into the knockout rounds (unlike Spurs), they would not be easy gets, but the two-sided full-back Sidibe (who already has his eyes set on the Premier League) and the promising defensive midfielder Bakayoko are two of the more highly coveted names in Europe at the moment, especially the latter.
  • Radja Nainggolan — the never-ending story without the fluffy dog-dragon-thing.

Meanwhile, for longer-term planning, we should not forget having to account for Kurt Zouma (whenever he eventually works his way back into the team) and Andreas Christensen, who looks set to return next summer and become the latest loan system success story. And that’s before we even mention the likes of Kenedy, Nathan Ake, Baba Rahman (and Todd Kane, he added wistfully)...