The general public’s faith in the current Chelsea squad is truly incredible; before a ball was struck this season, many tipped them to win the Premier League title undefeated and now that accomplishment is unfortunately out of their grasp, the debate has shifted to winning the quadruple.
It’s never been done before and with good reason – winning the Premier League title, the Champions League title, the FA Cup and the League Cup is a near-impossible task.
Yet, with a world-class starting Xi, impressive squad depth and Jose Mourinho at the helm, anything is possible for the Blues this season – especially if they strengthen even further in January.
So with that last point in mind, here’s FIVE signings that would vastly improve the Blues’ quadruple chances
Teams: FC Barcelona, Spanish national team
Honours: Four La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey titles, two Champions League titles, World Cup 2010, European Championship 2012
Interested clubs: Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United
Likely transfer fee: £25million, according to The Metro
If we’re being hypercritical of Chelsea’s starting Xi, the only notable weakness is on the right wing, a role currently divvied between Andre Schurrle and Willian.
Well, Barcelona’s Pedro eclipses both in terms of proven credentials and appears to be on his way out of the Nou Camp, having slumped behind the likes of Neymar and Luis Suarez to make just eight starts in La Liga this season.
He boasts an impressive return of 94 goals in 290 appearances for the Catalans, as well as 16 in 47 for Spain, and in addition to the winger’s famed netting prowess, he offers fantastic stamina and relentless industry – having spent the last six seasons as Lionel Messi’s work-horse.
Pedro would offer Chelsea even further potency going forward, whilst his versatility in attack – being capable of playing on either flank or as a striker – will serve the Blues well during the campaign’s final run-in.
Positions: Almost a utility man, virtually any position except for defensive midfield, centre-half and centre-forward
Teams: Independiente Medellin, Udinese, Fiorentina, Colombian national team
Interested clubs: Chelsea, Barcelona, Manchester City
Likely transfer fee: £27million release clause
Another right-hand option for Jose Mourinho to consider but of a completely different breed to Pedro, Juan Cuadrado blends prolific pace and the stamina of Road-Runner with trickery and tenacity.
That combination has seen the South American tear Serie A apart over the last 18 months, amassing 16 goals and eight assists in his last 45 league outings, and he brought his form to the World Cup in Brazil, finishing with the joint-most assists of any player – alongside Manchester United’s Daley Blind.
That’s only a part of Cuadrado’s game however; he’s tireless off the ball too, averaging 1.2 tackles per match last term. Resultantly, as detailed below, Fiorentina have utilised him in a plethora of diverse capacities:
A utility man of such quality could make a huge difference to Chelsea’s quadruple bid – but some will argue Cuadrado is little more than a lightweight Willian.
Positions: Centre-back only
Clubs: Lens, Real Madrid, France national team
Honours: La Liga title 2011/12, Copa del Rey 2013/14, Champions League title 2013/14
Interested clubs: Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United
Likely transfer fee: £19million, according to The Metro
Having already described him as ‘the best young defender in the world‘ Jose Mourinho certainly doesn’t need convincing on Raphael Varane’s huge potential.
The Frenchman has already realised it so some extent, featuring in several crucial fixtures as Real Madrid marched their way to last term’s Champions League final.
Quick, tall, powerful, intelligent and competent on the ball, the 6 foot 3 centre-half is the total package and will likely be a huge player on the European and international scenes for the many years to come.
Right now however, he can’t force his way into Real Madrid’s starting Xi over the ever-trusted partnership of Sergio Ramos and Pepe, making just four starts in La Liga this term, which has lead to plenty of rumours about Varane looking for a new club in January.
Whether it’s just paper talk or something more genuine remains to be seen, but Chelsea would benefit from another proven centre-half in their squad to take the pressure off John Terry and Gary Cahill, especially amid rumours that Kurt Zouma could be loaned out in January.
Positions: Centre-back only
Teams: Midtjylland, West Ham, New Zealand national team
Honours: Championship Playoff winner 2011/12, Hammer of the Year 2012/13
Linked clubs: Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs
Likely transfer fee: £6million according to the Daily Mail, £20million according to Sam Allardyce.
A significantly cheaper – and admittedly, far less exciting – centre-back option than Raphael Varane comes in the form of West Ham contract rebel Winston Reid.
The New Zealand skipper has made huge progress since first moving to East London after the 2010 World Cup and is now keen to challenge himself at a higher level – with Hammers owner David Sullivan admitting Reid is yet to sign a new contract over the issue of European football.
There’s certainly more talented defenders on Chelsea’s radar but the same could once be said of a certain Gary Cahill. Similarly, Reid is an undisputed master of the nuts and bolts of the defensive trade – tackles, headers, interceptions, positioning – and that simple-yet-effective style would suit Jose Mourinho’s pragmatic philosophy rather well.
The 26 year-old is a proven Premier Leaguer and could really up his game at a bigger club, in my opinion making him an astute choice of understudy to Terry and Cahill.
Sam Allardyce clearly doesn’t want to sell however and the East Londoners’ current league position of fourth could convince the gritty centre-back to stay on at Upton Park.
Positions: Anywhere in midfield
Teams: Atletico Madrid, Spanish national team
Honours: Europa League 2011/12, Copa del Rey 2012/13, La Liga title 2013/14, Champions League final 2013/14
Interested clubs: Manchester United, Manchester City
Likely transfer fee: £47million release clause
Undisputedly one the finest talents in La Liga, midfielder Koke has been at the heart of Atleico Madrid’s incredible rise under Diego Simeone.
Over the last few seasons, the Spaniard has amassed ten goals and 30 assists in 84 league outings, making him in some way directly responsible for a goal every two matches.
He’s industrious yet creative and hugely versatile, having featured as a No.10, a wide-man and even in defensive midfield for the Mattress Makers in recent times. Xavi’s mooted Koke as his eventual successor in the Spain starting Xi, whilst others have compared him to a certain Cesc Fabregas.
With Atletico taking an inevitable step back this season following the highs of prior campaigns, pressure is building on Koke to move on for the advancement of his career.
Plenty of clubs are interested however, most particularly Manchester City.