Some solid business over the summer has left Chelsea with a fantastic squad and an even better starting XI, so it’s no surprise they’re already sailing away as the Premier League leaders with a four-point cushion over second-place Southampton.
But if there’s one slight imperfection in the Blues’ first team – one area where if we’re being hyper-critical, improvements could be made – it’s on the right-hand side.
Willian offers endless energy, athleticism and trickery, but he lacks end product and the Brazilian’s consistency can leave a lot to be desired. Likewise, Andre Schurrle has a lethal eye for goal, but his constant desire to shoot from long-range can be as infuriating as it is fruitful.
They’re deputised by Mohamed Salah, but Jose Mourinho didn’t have too many kind words to say about the Egyptian international’s display against Shrewsbury in the Capital One Cup last week.
So, being painfully pedantic, here’s FIVE right wingers the Blues could sign in January to give them the perfect starting XI.
Arsenal summer signing Alexis Sanchez has taken to the Premier League exceptionally well, and former Barcelona team-mate Pedro has the potential to do the same.
Like the Chilean international, he’s an industrious, versatile attacker with a lethal eye for goal, netting 88 times in 276 appearances for the La Liga giants since his debut in 2008 – with plenty of assists along the way too.
Impressively, he’s never finished a full campaign at the Nou Camp without reaching double figures. Here’s a look at some of Pedro’s best ever strikes:
A two-time Champions League winner, in addition to claiming a European Championship and World Cup with Spain, there’s no doubting the 27 year-old’s quality. Here’s a look at his stats over the last few seasons based on per-90-minute metrics:
Furthermore, Pedro’s long-term future at Barcelona has been open to debate for some time. Recent speculation claims he’s on the verge of signing a new contract:
— FootballFanCast.com (@FootballFanCast) October 13, 2014
But nothing concrete has materialised just yet, and with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez undoubtedly the Catalan side’s front-three of the future, the Spain international will be aware that he’s being pushed into a bit-part role at the Nou Camp.
If Pedro’s situation remains no clearer in January, he can likely be lured to west London. Measuring in at just 5 foot 7 however and hardly sharing the stocky stature of Alexis Sanchez, would Jose Mourinho be put off by his lack of physicality?
Famed for his mixture of work-rate, trickery, versatility and counter-attacking ability, everything about Juan Cuadrado oozes Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.
The Fiorentina star has popped up on the Blues’ radar in recent weeks and although he’s just agreed a new contract with the Serie A side, it allegedly includes a £27million release clause:
— HITC Sport (@HITCsport) October 1, 2014
The 26 year-old wreaked havoc in the Italian top flight last season and also brought his form to the World Cup:
In fact, nobody bettered the Colombian international’s four assists at Brazil 2014, including this athletic knock-down to eventual Golden Ball winner, James Rodriguez:
He’s started the current campaign strongly too:
And Cuadrado’s versatility would add even further depth to Chelsea’s roster:
Combining pace, athleticism, trickery and netting prowess, this goal typifies the South American:
His £27million release clause is more than affordable, but does Cuadrado’s hard-working style make him too similar to current Chelsea winger Willian?
Jose Mourinho knows Jose Callejon well from their two years together at the Bernabeu, and the former Real Madrid winger audaciously claimed in the summer that the Chelsea gaffer wanted to bring him to Stamford Bridge:
— Lynn Hamer (@evilbluebird) July 22, 2014
That followed an impressive haul of 20 goals in 52 appearances across all competitions during the 27 year-old’s first season at Napoli, and Mourinho may feel compelled to revive his interest in January after Callejon’s incredible start to the season:
The eight-in-ten return this year includes this stunning finish against Inter Milan:
Here’s a more extensive look at Callejon in action:
Furthermore, recent speculation claims Napoli could be forced to surrender the Spanish winger for just £16million in January after their poor start to the season:
— Highbury Latest (@HighburyLatest) October 17, 2014
And even if the rumours prove to be false, Callejon’s £23million release clause is well within Chelsea’s financial reach.
But this point-blank miss from last weekend – a strong contender for miss of the century – might put Mourinho off the Serie A star:
Unquestionably the best value-for-money suggestion on this list, pretty much every major club in Europe looks set to do battle over Marco Reus’ services next summer, when the Borussia Dortmund star’s outrageously cheap £20million release clause comes into effect.
But following news that the German international has now ended contract talks at Westfalen, with the Black-Yellows currently second-bottom of the Bundesliga table, Chelsea would be wise to try and beat the pack with a slightly more lucrative offer in January.
Considered to be one of the most exciting talents in world football, Reus wreaked havoc in the German top flight last season, as detailed below, earning him a second Bundesliga Player of the Year award in the space of three campaigns:
And the attacking midfielder’s form this term has been as impressive as the last:
The 25 year-old more commonly features on the left-hand side or as a No.10 for Dortmund, but possessing world-class technical qualities and electric, near-unstoppable pace, he’s got all the assets to be an effective force on the right of Chelsea’s midfield too. Here’s a look at Reus in action:
By no means a lazy player but certainly more luxurious than industrious, Jose Mourinho may hold concerns over how the German would affect the balance of Chelsea’s starting Xi.
Julian Draxler represents something a little different compared to the other suggestions on this list, namely, a long-term investment that might not pay off for Chelsea straight away.
But the Schalke prodigy’s enormous potential is undoubted – take this incredible assist to Raul for example:
A creative forward with exceptional dribbling skills, a lethal eye for goal and an unusual 6 foot 2 frame, the 20 year-old is reminiscent of a young Zinedine Zidane. Here’s a look at his top five strikes in the Bundesliga:
The German international has never quite matched the potency of his breakthrough season, but remains an integral player for the Miners and continues to impress:
Chelsea have already been linked with the attacking midfielder by the tabloids:
— Express Chelsea (@DX_Chelsea) November 1, 2014
But with a release clause of £37million, he’s actually the most expensive player on this list.