The relative peace and quiet of the Chelsea rumor mill is about to be broken after six blissful , boring months. Regardless of whether CAS lift the ban for January, or if they agree with FIFA regarding the two-window punishment, Chelsea will be back in action in the transfer market before you know it, and by next summer at the latest. At the very least, the club will start laying the groundwork for a few possible transfers — or at least should since we’ve had all this time to plan things and not create messes of Djolobodjian proportions again. Right? RIGHT?!
The CAS hearing is set for November 20 with a potential verdict following soon after, so there’s little time to waste. Here’s our old pal Matt Law, still of the Telegraph rather than The Athletic as seemingly every other football journalist of note these days, with five names Chelsea have shortlisted and are actively tracking ahead of the next transfer window where we are able to spend all the cash we’ve accumulated over the past 6-12 months, which is apparently “at least £150m” (which doesn’t really buy you THAT much these days but whatever).
- Moussa Dembélé, 23, Lyon — the Mail jumped on this one as well already, linking the free-scoring former Fulham hot prospect striker with the Blues as if it were 2017 all over again.
- Wilfried Zaha, 26, Crystal Palace — Zaha turns 27 in a week, which makes him much older than it’s assumed in the wild. He was already named as the potential first name Chelsea might go after once the ban is over, especially as Willian and Pedro age out.
- Jadon Sancho, 19, BVB — if Twitter were in charge, we’d spent it all on Sancho, though that doesn’t mean they’re wrong.
- Ben Chilwell, 22, Leicester City — left back is perhaps the area of most need in the squad, so Chilwell would make a ton of sense. He’s also been linked before as well, though that was before Leicester City’s emergence as serious contenders for the top four.
- Nathan Aké, 24, AFC Bournemouth — Chelsea supposedly have a £40m buyback on Ake, which would be twice as much as what we got from Bournemouth in 2017, but still a relative bargain in today’s market.
While it’s unlikely that any of these names would be available to join in January even if the ban were lifted, they do make for a solid summer shortlist.
As Lampard pointed out in his pre-match press conference, just because the youth revolution is going about as well as anyone might have hope, that doesn’t mean Chelsea won’t or shouldn’t look for outside reinforcements as well.
“Of course I’m interested [in the CAS hearing] because it’s obviously going to affect potentially what we can do in January or not.”
“We’re on a good run, though, aren’t we? I get that and it’s a nice feeling. Of course some players have come in and shown with their opportunities they’ve been given that they can do roles and play well. We are getting results at the moment.
“I think as Chelsea we will always look to improve in windows if we can, if we’re allowed to and if the players we might look at are better or we feel are worth adding to the squad. But, at the minute, I’m very happy with what I’ve got so I suppose that’s why, hopefully, fans are as well.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Telegraph
As we have said many times before, Chelsea must find the right balance between building from within and buying from without — surgically buying a select few big stars and filling the rest of the squad from the Academy, for example. The transfer ban (finally) forced our hand in terms of the Academy. We now have the perfect opportunity to augment the growing young core with one or two superstars, and keep closing the gap to the top teams both in England and in Europe.