The past few months must have been hard for those tasked with covering (and creating) Chelsea transfer rumors, thanks to the club deciding to start serving the two-window FIFA transfer ban this summer. No amount of denials can kill speculation quite like a transfer ban. It’s basically rumor mill kryptonite. It’s glorious.
Alas, the summer transfer window has not shut for the Premier League, which means we’re at least halfway through serving the ban. Should CAS decide to reduce the sentence to just one window (perhaps after considering our willingness to accept punishment and not appeal to freeze/delay its start), we might even be done with it. Either way, Chelsea are free to buy next summer at the very latest, and many are already expecting big moves.
The speculation surrounding Wilfried Zaha had already begun a few weeks ago, even as Everton tried desperately to overpay for the Crystal Palace winger. Zaha ended up staying, which means that Chelsea will surely be linked with him repeatedly this season, probably starting around £80m. So that’s something to look forward to.
Meanwhile, David Luiz’s sudden departure in the waning hours of the transfer window has opened an avenue for speculation in central defense as well, with the Telegraph helpfully reminding everyone that Chelsea have a £40m buyback on Nathan Aké. Not long ago, that amount of money would’ve been unthinkable. Now it’s just half of what Manchester United paid for Harry Maguire. Aké may not be Maguire, or Van Dijk for that matter, but he’s certainly more than half as good as those two.
Last and least, there’s seemingly random speculation from The Sun (via the Mirror) that Chelsea are “plotting” a £70m transfer for Leicester City left back Ben Chilwell. That seems outrageous on many levels, though many continue to expect Marcos Alonso to leave in the next twelve months, which would certainly create an opening.
All that said, hopefully we will have learned our lesson from the transfer ban, and will have resolved to spend our growing warchest in smarter, more surgical fashion — i.e. spend big on one or two key acquisitions, and fill the rest of the squad from the Academy.