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Chelsea ‘monitoring’ Crystal Palace transfer target Fedor Chalov — report

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Nice try, Mr. Agent

Real Madrid v CSKA Moscow - UEFA Champions League Group G Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

According to Sky Sports, Chelsea are “monitoring” CSKA Moscow centre forward Fedor Chalov, just in case CAS lift our transfer ban for January — which they probably won’t, but whatever.

Why on Earth would we be monitoring some random striker? While it does make some sense to look for new competition for Tammy Abraham — Olivier Giroud looks to be heading for the exit, and Michy Batshuayi is an okay backup but might want a role bigger than he would ever likely find here — Chelsea are mostly in this rumor to create competition and leverage as goals-desperate Crystal Palace continue to pursue Chalov.

The Eagles have been hot on the heels of the 21-year-old since the summer apparently, even seeing a couple bids knocked back. But Chalov, who has been at CSKA since the age of eight, is expected to leave in the winter transfer window — despite signing a new contract just 12 months ago — and Chelsea are an easy name to drop in there thanks to Roman Abramovich (he’s a “fan” of Chalov, don’tcha know?) to see if they can get more than the rumored £25m out of Crystal Palace.

Agent machinations aside, Chalov did show decent goalscoring ability last season, leading the Russian Premier League with 15 goals and scoring 17 altogether in 37 appearances. He hasn’t quite shown those levels yet this season — just 5 goals in 22 appearances in all competitions — but he’s young an appropriately skillful and a good cheap signing on Football Manager 2020 ... so you know.

With Chelsea soon able to spend in the transfer market once again, expect many more transfer rumors to come in the season ahead. It sure was nice to not have to deal with all this nonsense for the past few months. Hopefully we will indeed stay smart and only make the necessary and impactful moves in the market, spending (big) only on world class quality or potential.