As far as title defences go, Chelsea’ has not been the strongest so far. Only a late two goal turnaround was enough to snatch a draw at Newcastle on Saturday, and had Willian’s free-kick not inadvertently sailed into the net, the Blues would have registered their worst ever start to a Premier League season.
As it stands, the Londoners are a whopping eight points off of league leaders Manchester United and only four clear of the relegation zone, which has piled the pressure on Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese tactician has made numerous hints that he was unhappy with the club’s summer transfer business already this term, suggesting that he may push for serious addition in January to either get things back on track at Stamford Bridge or push his side into the title race if they can find some form over the course of the coming months.
But which stars could bail out the Blues? Well, here are FIVE possible options…
In Paris Saint-Germain’s star-studded squad, Matuidi’s name often goes unnoticed. The combative central midfielder has featured for the bulk of the Parisians’ three consecutive Ligue 1 triumphs, which has attracted Mourinho’s attention as he looks to add some steel to his central ranks.
Nemanja Matic’s form has been questionable, Cesc Fabregas appears to be the target for opposing runners in midfield and John Obi Mikel is quickly becoming a forgotten man in west London, so Matuidi could offer the solution the ‘Special One’ sorely needs.
‘Money can’t buy you Stones’… this catchy chant from Everton supporters has been doing the rounds this season after the Blues tried, and failed, with numerous bids for the 21-year-old centre-back over the summer. A transfer request submitted by the player himself suggests that he wants the deal, and the form of John Terry and Gary Cahill may have further whetted his appetite of late with playing time for a half-competent centre-back appearing to be a foregone conclusion at the Bridge.
Can Everton really rebuff offers of around £40m in January?
Maybe an attacking midfielder is not strictly needed, but a signing such as Isco would bring a feel-good factor to Chelsea once again and send out a real signal of intent. The 23-year-old has struggled for game time throughout his two and a bit seasons with Real Madrid, so there is the feeling that he’s ‘gettable’, which is reflected by the sheer amount of transfer rumours based around the playmaker during each window.
Isco can function all across an attacking midfield three and is useful in a deeper role with the pitch open ahead of him, which could make him a useful weapon in Mourinho’s armoury.
No Chelsea player has scored more than one goal in league action this term… quite a damning statistic for the Blues’ strikers, that. Diego Costa has looked a little out of ideas with his spiky approach now getting attention from officials, while Radamel Falcao and Loic Remy seem to be low on confidence when called up. A new centre-forward may be needed then.
Lyon’s Lacazette notched 31 goals in all competitions last term, and although his start to the current season has not been nearly as prolific, his stock remains high. The 24-year-old opted to stay put over the summer to help his side compete in the Champions League and their domestic top tier, but it’s entirely feasible that a title challenge and top-level European football may be gone come January, which could prompt the pacey forward to pursue a move. Chelsea could offer him a decent platform to perform in the run up to EURO 2016.
Both full-back positions have been an issue for Mourinho so far this term. While Cesar Azpilicueta has performed well at left-back, Branislav Ivanovic’s slide has been alarming, leading to calls for the Spaniard to be shifted across to the other flank (where he’s spent much of his career), which would leave a gap. Abdul Baba Rahman perhaps deserves a chance, but the Ghanaian hasn’t looked entirely convincing in his fleeting showings for the Blues so far and appears to have a job on his hands to convince his new manager of his abilities.
A target being pondered, according to reports, at Stamford Bridge is Valencia’s Gaya, who was one of La Liga’s standout performers last season. The 20-year-old has been lauded for the level of maturity in his performances despite his young age and is already being tipped for a bright future in the Spain set-up.