It is difficult to know what to believe regarding Chelsea and January transfers. Carlo Ancelotti is so sure that no player will be brought in that he has promised to run around the training ground naked if Chelsea sign anyone in January; yet there are constant reports that Chelsea are in advanced talks with Atletico Madrid about signing Sergio Aguero as well as the rumours about a move for Marek Hamsik. With a transfer ban looming it seems logical that Chelsea would be making moves in the transfer market but Ancelotti’s insistence that there will be no signings suggests that he is happy with his squad. He has faith that his young forwards can step up, not just when his African players are away, but over the next 12 months when they will be needed to supplement his ageing squad.
In Daniel Sturridge, Gael Kakuta and Fabio Borini, Chelsea have three promising youngsters as well as Franco di Santo and Miroslav Stoch who are out on loan. Ancelotti clearly feels that these players are capable of performing well for the first-team, and that there is no need to spend money in January as many are suggesting Chelsea should do. If he is correct, these youngsters could save Chelsea millions; the figures being discussed for Aguero alone are in the region of £40million; not the kind of money that should be spent by a club aiming to break even sooner rather than later.
The youngsters have been given their chance in recent games and more opportunities are sure to follow with Drogba and Kalou away with the Ivorian squad and Nicholas Anelka sidelined with an injury. Yet Sturridge, Kakuta and Borini are all still awaiting their first senior goals for Chelsea. It is a big ask for them to step into the shoes of Drogba and Anelka; Chelsea have little room for error with both Manchester United and Arsenal gaining ground with each round of games. Their recent slump has been damaging to their confidence and it will not help the rest of the side’s belief when they look to the top end of the pitch and instead of seeing the dominating presence of Drogba; there will be youthful players with no experience of the pressures of a title race.
But while they are inexperienced, Chelsea’s young strikers are certainly talented and the phrase, ‘if you are good enough, you are old enough’ comes to mind. Sturridge has already had an impact this season, playing a part in the goals that came against West Ham and Fulham. He is gaining in confidence with each appearance and has the ability to really make a name for himself in the coming months. He and the other youngsters have chance to really establish themselves in the coming weeks and convince the Chelsea hierarchy that they don’t have to spend big money.