The £50million January move for Fernando Torres back in 2011 is often held up as the advert for what can go wrong in a mid-season transfer window.
So, Chelsea would be forgiven for never dipping their toes back into the dangerous early season waters, yet this month there have been a number of strong links with big players.
The deals are yet to go through, but there is the chance of Chelsea boasting a vastly different starting XI in February.
So, with that in mind, here’s the dream scenario for every Chelsea fan this January…
The change from Petr Cech to Courtois was a controversial one at the start of the season, yet the bold move from Jose Mourinho has paid dividends so far. The Belgian has been staggeringly good and looks set to have a massive future in the Premier League. His form, however, should come as no shock to any who have been watching Atletico Madrid in recent seasons, with Courtois a key cog in their cup and La Liga successes, as well as the run to the Champions League Final.
Although not a ‘modern’ right-back, Ivanovic is perfectly suited to a Mourinho team. The Serbia international is rugged, commanding and can get forward relatively effectively, which Jose seems to appreciate. Ivanovic’s versatility also makes him a good squad option, while his tendency to play centrally also provides cover for his nearest team-mate.
Hailed as one of the ‘best young defenders‘ in Europe’ by Mourinho in the past, Varane is seen as a top centre-back target for the Portuguese coach. Reports have suggested that the ‘Special One’ is keen to seal a deal for a reunion with the player he coached at Real Madrid, which could end in success given his first-team issues at the Bernabeu. Varane is a classy defender on the ball with his ability to drift forwards possessing the potential to add a new dimension to Chelsea’s XI.
League. The yard of pace may be gone and his ability to turn quickly severely lacking, but the skipper provides a commanding presence and a steadying influence at the back, which has been vital in the Blues’ frugality in terms of conceding – only Southampton have let in more goals.
Left-back is somewhat a problem area for Mourinho, but with a severe lack of genuine links with options this month to solve the issue, Azpilicueta could be the answer. The Spaniard – a right-sided player – has shone in the role since Jose’s return, with his solid defensive tendencies useful for the London club. Filipe Luis is another option, but the Brazilian is yet to convince.
Arguably the best central midfielder in European football, Pogba is a name to have been aligned with Chelsea this month. Juventus are believed to value their man at around £75m, and with the Blues one of the financial elite there is a chance that the British transfer record could once again be smashed by the Blues. The 21-year-old is physically imposing, quick across the turf and, in general, an excellent footballer. Worth a go then, surely?
Let go as a youngster, but now back at Stamford Bridge, Matic has been an excellent addition for the Blues. The Serbian’s pure muscle in the middle of the field and ability to keep his passing concise and simple have contributed to Chelsea’s stunning start to the season. The idea shield for Terry and Cahill, who lack a bit of mobility, Matic is a vital tool and could form one of the best midfield combinations around with Pogba.
Some hardball negotiations between Chelsea and Fiorentina seem to be taking place in the background, although the stumbling block appears to be La Viola’s desire to see the £26.8m release clause in his contract triggered. There have been links with Douglas Costa as an alternative option, but the Colombian appears to be the better target thanks to his raw pace and dazzling trickery. Watch this space.
With Pogba and Matic the deeper midfielders in this set-up, Fabregas gets a more advanced role. The Spaniard has been great alongside his Serbian partner this season, but his ability to thread the killer pass and his composure in front of goal make the ex-Barcelona man a decent option in the ‘No. 10’ role. Fabregas has already been deployed in an advanced role by Mourinho on occasion, so there appears to be a willingness to sacrifice Oscar’s South American flair.
Undroppable. Hazard is now one of the most influential players at The Bridge, with his fantastic dribbling ability and tendency to pop up with vital goals both key for Mourinho. Still young, the Belgian has the potential to become an all-time Chelsea great if he maintains his current trajectory.
Diego Costa is very much the main man at Chelsea, but an intriguing January rumour circles around Icardi of Inter Milan. The 21-year-old Argentine has been starring in Serie A this season, playing a vital role in Roberto Mancini’s Nerazzurri side with his goals, tireless running and link-up play. He won’t come cheap, however, and an end of season switch looks the most likely scenario, yet there remains a slim chance that a late January raid could go through…