FOUR players who should be axed by Chelsea in January

The January transfer window has never been the ideal opportunity to buy players, but it does give Premier League clubs the chance to offload some deadwood and add to their summer budget.

Which is something Chelsea should bear in mind – they’re going strong at the English top flight’s summit but not every player, in terms of transfer fees and salaries, is currently proving cost-effective.

Thus, here’s a list of the FOUR players Jose Mourinho could ditch in the winter transfer window. Some have expiring contracts, others want first team football and a few are simply surplus to requirements.

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Jose Mourinho[/ffc-gallery]

Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah
Egypt international Mohamed Salah only joined the Stamford Bridge ranks in January this year, but there are already reports that he could be sold in the coming transfer window:

Indeed, the 22 year-old was only ever really purchased as a bit-part player – someone Chelsea could add value to before selling on for profit.

They’ve allegedly already tried offloading him once, offering him to Inter Milan during the summer after being on the receiving end of a verbal tirade from Jose Mourinho.

Salah’s short stint for the Blues has by no means constituted a catastrophe; he’s bagged two goals in eleven Premier League outings for the west Londoners, including this goal against Stoke City last season:

But Mourinho is privy to a number of options out wide, including Oscar, Willian, Eden Hazard and Andre Schurrle, so if an offer comes in that exceeds Chelsea’s original £11million investment, they won’t hesitate to sell.

JOHN OBI MIKEL

Obi Mikel
Rumours of John Obi Mikel’s Chelsea career coming to an end have circulated for years, in no small part due to him not making more than 30 Premier League appearances in a single season since 2008/09.

The Nigeria international is a firm favourite of Jose Mourinho – powerful, reliable and with an exceptional reading of the game – but even the Special One has used him rather sparingly since he returned to Stamford Bridge last summer.

Indeed, he’s yet to start in the Premier League or Champions League this season, but did provide this incredible backheel assist during Chelsea’s 6-3 romping of Everton:

The 27 year-old almost joined Galatasaray during the summer, even claiming “all that is left is for the clubs to reach an agreement” over transfer fees:

It’s believed the Blues were looking for around £10million, and they also reportedly offered Mikel to several Serie A sides. So if a potential suitor can match that valuation in January, the west Londoners are likely to sell.

PETR CECH

Goalkeeper - Petr Cech
As long as Petr Cech wants to be at Chelsea, that is exactly where he will stay. Along with Thibaut Courtois and Mark Schwarzer, he gives the Blues the strongest goalkeeping department in world football.

And the 32 year-old proved his quality again on Sunday afternoon, coming on for his Belgian team-mate following a head injury, to help his side claim a clean sheet against Arsenal.

But the west Londoners will be aware that a goalkeeper of Cech’s proven quality can only be kept on the sidelines for so long. He’s attempting to fight his way back to the No.1 spot but opportunities to do so have been incredibly slim – currently, Mourinho’s not even giving the Czech international a run in the Champions League.

And suitors for the Premier League veteran will hardly be in short supply come the new year. Monaco are in need of a No.1 and were strongly linked to Cech during the summer.

He was also allegedly offered to QPR on deadline day, but that deal is unlikely to be rekindled in January.

Chelsea favourite Carlo Cudicini however believes Cech is determined to prove himself at Stamford Bridge and will stay on until at least next summer, when the ‘keeper’s contract enters its final year.

Here’s a look at some of Cech’s best ever saves for the Blues:

KURT ZOUMA (on loan)

RZ Pellets WAC v Chelsea - Pre Season Friendly
Big things are expected of Kurt Zouma at Stamford Bridge; Chelsea invested £15million in the French centre-back last January, and unlike the many youngsters who quickly find themselves trapped in the Blues’ globe-spanning loan operation, he’s already muscled his way into Jose Mourinho’s first team squad.

The 19 year-old has been using his rare opportunities to impress wisely, grabbing a goal against Bolton in the Capital One Cup and demonstrating his Sol Campbell-esque physicality:

But with John Terry, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic to contend with for a first team place, it remains to be seen just how much game-time Zouma will receive between now and May.

A number of clubs were eying a loan move for the former Saint Etienne star during the summer, including Sunderland:

And with the Black Cats linked once again, Chelsea could decide to send Zouma out on loan in the new year.

A solid run in the Premier League could bring his game to a whole new level.

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