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Chelsea targets slipping away as United, City battle for Alexis and Liverpool pursue Pulisic

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Wakey wakey

FBL-ENG-PR-ARSENAL-CHELSEA IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images

Chelsea have already acted swiftly this January to bolster squad depth by signing Ross Barkley on the cheap, but we appear to be losing ground in other, more meaningful and impactful targets. That’s not to say that Ross Barkley is a bad signing — it’s probably a smart move in fact, Chelsea acquiring a long-term target who is homegrown, useful, and possibly ready to develop and fulfill his early-career promise. And £15m these days is practically nothing.

But as we pat ourselves on the back for a good deal, other rivals are making bigger waves. Obviously some of these are just rumors and they’re worth little more than just generating conversation, but Chelsea’s absence in both the Alexis Sanchez chase and the newly forming Christian Pulisic sweepstakes is concerning. We might defend this by pointing to Chelsea's financial “austerity”, but in that case we need to spend even smarter. Buying fewer, more high quality targets (such as a Morata) and filling the rest of the squad out from the Academy is one just as viable, if not more viable solution than spending £20-30m on multiple above average players.

The Alexis situation is especially disappointing since at this time last season, Chelsea were considered favorites for the Arsenal star’s signature. We’ve been big fans of Alexis ever since his Udinese days, and while he’s no longer a spring chicken, he’s still the only player worth any serious transfer consideration on Arsenal. But he looks set to join Manchester City — on outrageous wages, sure, but that’s the price one pays — or possibly Manchester United — on even more outrageous wages! — who are apparently looking to hijack the deal either this January or in the summer.

Chelsea may have lost that race a long time ago, so one can only hope we don’t make a similar mistake in the next big transfer craze: Christian Pulisic. The 19-year-old American probably needs no introduction as he closes in 100 professional appearances for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga and heads towards what is likely to be a transfer fee pushing nine-digits. If Chelsea are saving money up for this, then I take back everything I said above about Alexis and resting on our transfer laurels.

Pulisic signed with BVB while Jurgen Klopp was still their manager, so it’s unsurprising that Liverpool are taking the early lead in the Pulisic pursuit. Now Manchester United are joining, too. And that’s exactly where Chelsea need to be as well — for any and every imaginable reason, sporting or otherwise.