Who should Chelsea sign to turn their season around?
After being crowned champions of England last season at a canter, nobody expected The Blues to drop so fast due to such poor form this year. As we have all heard, Chelsea have won just three games out of twelve this season, leaving them marooned at a mere 16th in the table with just 11 points. This time last season, Chelsea were top of the table with an unbeaten start and so fans are already praying that Jose Mourinho can work his magic in the January transfer window and turn their poor season around. With an almost identical team being sent out on to the pitch every week, surely change is not only wanted but needed in such desperate times for Mourinho. With almost unlimited funding, surely money could solve all of the Blues problems, but who should they invest in to keep their hopes alive and end the season with a respectable finish?
During the last transfer window, Mourinho’s Chelsea saw a number of new faces coming into the squad. Many however saw these purchases as ‘panic buys’ as Jose needed new names to keep fans happy. Goalkeeper Asmir Begovi?, defenders Papy Djilobodji and Baba Rahman were all added to the squad.
With a current goal difference of -7 and only 16 goals scored in the opening 12 games, it is clear that an out and out striker is needed. The loan signing of Colombian international Falcao from AS Monaco was a gamble that thus far, has not worked out, scoring just one goal in the opening twelve games of the season. With main striker Diego Costa also in poor form (netting just two goals this season) Jose’s men need goals and they need them fast. So what attacking options should they look towards?
The man that should fit the role needs to be agile, prolific, have the ability to create chances for himself and of course with an abundance of pace. One name prevails and is on the tip of every football fan’s tongue this season. With a total of 31 goals and 7 assists in all competitions for Olympique Lyonnais last season, Alexander Lacazette is quickly becoming a rising star in the world of football. The 24 year old French international has had a good start to the season this year as well with a total of 6 goals in 16 games in all competitions. He was awarded best player for Lyon and earned himself the golden boot in Ligue 1 last season. For such a young player, Lacazette is beginning to prove himself with a spectacular CV. A somewhat hefty price tag may be required in exchange for his signature however with his valuation being a hefty £22M.
Some however may prefer the finishing prowess of French striking partner Antoine Griezmann who has a total of 5 goals in 11 games in La Liga so far this season and a vision to prove his worth. His impressive of 22 goals and 1 assist in 29 games means that Greizmann has begun to make a name for himself. The 24 year old is rumoured to be involved in a dramatic swap with Diego Costa this January. Could the dangerous French duo be seen in blue jerseys this year?
With the form of players such as Nemanja Mati?, Eden Hazard and Cesc Fàbregas dipping drastically this season, it has been the job of Brazilian youngsters Willian and Oscar to hold together the Chelsea midfield. The addition of an all-round midfield maestro would not go amiss at Stamford Bridge in the coming months but who is an affordable and available option in January?
A young 23 year old Italian international with magnificent play both on and off the ball, could soon be seen in Mourinho’s starting XI. This current PSG starter has great creativity and vision on the pitch and unlike many central midfielders, does not lack in pace. His passing ability is second to none and a deadly shooting ability should put him high on any manager’s Christmas list. If you haven’t guessed already, Marco Verratti’s presence in the Chelsea XI may mean the difference between a respectable or lousy finish to the season. Verratti has an impressive trophy cabinet, winning a total of 9 competitions since he joined the side in 2012. These include the Ligue 1 title (3), The Champ. Trophy (3) and The French League cup (2). This man would be a dream signing for Mourinho in January as he has such potential and ability, not just a one-season-wonder.
A second, option that is a little closer to home could include the addition of attacking midfielder Ross Barkley from Everton FC. The English international is a versatile midfielder who has come through the academy at Everton and has become a key player in the team. He has great potential with his aerial threat and venomous shot. He has strength, pace and is one to look for in the future. Three goals in twelve starts this season means that Barkley is very much an option for Mourinho. At just 21 years of age they youngster has come far to be a regular in both the Everton and England international teams.
Chelsea’s recent addition of Papy Djilobodji and Baba Rahman means that although the Blues have depth in defence, back up in a central defensive role may be needed due to John Terry’s advancing years. A fresh youngster whose eyes are set on a place in the first team may learn something from the battle-hardened veteran that is one of England’s finest home-grown defenders. Due to Terry’s age, similar to an old-race-horse, he will surely be ‘put out to pasture’.
As you may know, the name ‘John Stones’ was rife on the back-pages of newspapers during the transfer period, with Chelsea willing to pay for the England international central defensive player. This may clear the path for Terry to hang his boots up, reserving his place for a new and younger talent. 21-year-old Stones is rumoured to seek a £38M release-clause if he was to sign a new contract with Everton, but Chelsea needn’t rush as Stones is likely to reject a new contract with Everton if his demands aren’t met. He is unlikely to move anywhere in January but his future with Everton is currently uncertain.
It’s almost certain that if Jose Mourinho wants to keep his job at the end of the season, he will be forced to do something drastic. Desperate times call for desperate measures after all. This means that he will need to use the transfer-windows and his contacts effectively. Money is not the problem with the Chelsea side and so Mourinho will likely have to persuade owner Roman Abramovich to open his wallet in order to restore faith in the fans and give title hopes another shot next year.
Featured Image – All Rights Reserved by Ben Sutherland.