After signing Gonzalo Higuain on loan for the rest of the season and agreeing the summer transfer of Christian Pulisic, Chelsea are set to take their foot off the gas a bit and skip out on signing Leandro Paredes.
According to recent reports in Russia, Paredes will instead sign with PSG in a move worth €40m (plus €7m in add-ons) with a contract for four and a half years. The deal should be done imminently, provided Zenit can find a suitable replacement for themselves.
Chelsea had been in the market for a central midfielder ever since Fabregas was rumoured to be on his way out of the club. Now, with Cesc actually gone and given Sarri’s public pronouncements in multiple press conferences about the need to fill that void, the effort to find a replacement surely must have intensified, right? Not quite.
According to Chelsea-prophet Matt Law, the Blues had managed to figure out a deal with Zenit for Paredes but eventually decided against the move ... before PSG came into the picture, even.
From what I'm told, Chelsea looked at Paredes, had a deal agreed in principle if they wanted to do it, but ultimately backed away before PSG came in. They are still unsure whether or not to sign a midfielder this month.— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) January 23, 2019
That could be a reasons for this, but it’s apparently got less to do with a potential bidding war and more to do with Chelsea not being sure about the claimed need for a midfielder. Considering how Sarri seems desperate for a backup midfielder whom he can trust to play in Jorginho’s role, the Blues reluctance to make a move may not be the best idea.
Sure, we’ve signed Higuain to appease Sarri, and on the surface it may seem like we have enough midfielders, but the Higuain transfer is a loan deal with little to no risk. On the other hand, Chelsea essentially have only five midfielders (for three positions) in Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic, Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and three of them play the same role leaving the first two without proper backups. Sarri has repeatedly stated that Danny Drinkwater does not fit into his philosophy of football while Ethan Ampadu is slated to be a backup at center back instead.
Ultimately, what Sarri wants is a (backup) regista by trade and not someone to shoehorn into that role and position. Hopefully, Chelsea will rethink this decision, and either sanction a transfer or bring in a young player or bring back a loanee ... or some other solution that would allow Sarri to rotate Jorginho every once in a while. Not signing a midfielder may be a good forward-looking move (if, for example, we’re projecting Mason Mount as a first-team player next season), but a solution is needed for the next six months as well.