Sizing up Chelsea's January Transfer Targets
It’s that time of year again! The transfer window is nearly upon us and as always Chelsea Football Club won’t be far from the centre of speculation. This winter, Rafa and Chelsea’s board have expressed their desire to reinforce our striking options up front. The Blues have also been looking for a midfielder to play in the double-pivot role in order to fill in the gap when Mikel leaves for the AFCON. Here are some players who have been linked with a move to the Bridge.
Radamel FALCAO :
It’s no news to anyone that Roman Abramovich wants Falcao. The Colombian international ( 31 caps, 11 goals ) has been heavily linked with Chelsea since last summer. Falcao is one of the best Number 9s in the world at the moment; he is strong, very good in the air, comfortable with both feet and is absolutely deadly in front of goal. Unfortunately, we are in a good position to know that he is a world class hitman, as he single-handedly destroyed us in the Super Cup. Radamel is 27 years old and hitting the prime of his career. So far this season he has scored 17 goals in 16 Liga appearances. We all know he would be a great signing for Chelsea, but Athletico Madrid are making huge efforts to keep him until the end of the season. Roman will still be doing everything to lure the South American to southwest London in January, but if we wait until next summer we may have to face fierce competition from all the top European clubs. Falcao will cost us around £50M and I think he would be a great addition to the squad. We just have to wait and see if this deal comes off.
David VILLA :
A lot of rumours surround Villa at the moment. The Spaniard is looking for more game time as he isn’t part of Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova’s plans. He could find this game time in London with both Chelsea and Arsenal interested in a 6-month loan deal until the end of the season. The 31 year old, who holds the record for goals scored with the Spanish national team ( 84 caps, 52 goals ), is having a hard time recovering from his severe leg injury last year and therefore can’t seem to find his old form. But the Blues are set to give him a chance, as he is a versatile player. Villa is mainly a striker but surely can work on the flanks thanks to his ability in being very comfortable with both feet. Signing Villa would be contradictory to the club’s age policy as they don’t want to give Lampard a new deal, but he could turn out to be a good signing. This season the Spaniard has played 17 games and scored in only 5 of them. I think there are better options on the market than Villa but it is true that he could bring a lot to Chelsea. The real question is : are we sure we want to let our attack rely on an injury-prone player? Especially in the Premier League which is known for its physical toughness.
Wilfried BONY :
Wilfried Bony is having a tremendous start to his 2012/2013 campaign by scoring 22 goals in 25 games, and has attracted a lot of attention. Sky Sports have confirmed the interest of Chelsea in the Ivorian international ( 14 caps, 5 goals ) and Bony himself has said that it is ” a dream come true to see your name on Chelsea’s wishlist, ” which would allow him to follow the path of his ” hero ” Didier Drogba. Chelsea would have to pay £10-12M to see Bony at the Bridge and he could turn out to be a bargain. The Ivorian is only 23 years old, he is strong, has a good pace, is clinical in front of goal and is a hard worker, which could make him one of Europe’s next top strikers. Bony has also operated on the wings for Ivory Coast but is much more comfortable as a striker. A lot of fans, including me, would like to see Bony move to the Bridge, and I think he should be a good target thanks to his low price.
WILLIAN Borges Da Silva :
We have all seen what Willian can do in the Champions League ( 6 appearances, 4 goals ), although the whole Shaktar team was brilliant. Chelsea missed out on Willian this summer with Shaktar rejecting a £25M offer from the Blues, but he has continued to impress and we may make another charge for the Brazilian winger. The 24-year-old’s situation with his club is complicated, as he has expressed his need to leave for a bigger club and has said he wants to play for Chelsea. Shaktar’s owner, Rinat Akhmetov, has said he would let him go for £25M. Willian would bring depth on the wings with Moses as he is very fast, agile, has a good shot and is blessed with some fantastic skills. It’s true that £25M is a lot but I think he deserves the price tag. But now if we get Willian there will be huge traffic in the attacking midfield department and this could mean the departure of Marin and less game time for up-and-coming Lucas Piazon. This deal could turn out to be interesting, but if we make this move and prevent our youngsters from developing, I don’t think it is worth it.
Bafetimbi GOMIS :
This may surprise you, but Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis has been heavily linked with Chelsea in France with L’Equipe and Canal + saying that the Champions of Europe are interested in the French international ( 10 caps, 3 goals ). The Blues would be competing with Liverpool to sign Lyon’s hitman and his price could go up to £20M. It is known that Lyon are desperate to sell their players, as they are looking to fill a £25M deficit and Gomis has been told that he may be the first to leave. At 27, he is a pure striker : strong and very good in the air with a powerful shot, he has scored 15 goals in 25 games this season, but I have to say he was a bit lucky on a few of them. This deal could turn out to happen if Chelsea are really desperate, but I think we could grab much more for £20M. Gomis could be a very good backup, but £20M for Torres’s backup is too much I think.
Marouane FELLAINI :
Another player who has been rumoured for a move to the Bridge is Fellaini. £30M will be needed in order to make the Everton star one of the ‘real’ Blues, and it does seem quite a lot. It seems obvious now that Fellaini wants to play in Europe and that is why he could join us, but all of the top EPL clubs are targeting him. This season Fellaini has played behind Everton’s striker most of the time, but he couldn’t fill that role at Chelsea because Mata, Oscar and Hazard are too dominant in that position, so he would have to be dropped in the double pivot spot. There have been previous articles on Fellaini and the double pivot spot already, so I’m not going to extend on that subject, but I think he isn’t made for that role and we can simply find better for that amount of money. The 27 year old has been very good this year, playing 15 games and scoring 8 goals. That is why Roman seems so interested in him, and we all know that when Roman wants something he is going to do everything to get it. What could be interesting if we buy the Belgium international ( 38 caps, 5 goals ) would be to try him out in a false 9 spot. But again, I don’t think this is what Chelsea needs at the moment and for that amount of money I don’t think Fellaini would be a good buy.
Miralem PJANIC :
Pjanic has been linked with us a few times now. He is said to be leaving Roma and French newspaper L’Equipe says Chelsea is interested in the Bosnian youngster. The Blues are looking for a successor to Frankie as the board and Roman don’t seem willing to give the Chelsea legend a new contract, so this is where Pjanic comes in. Pjanic started high-level football at the age of 18 by playing a lot in the Champions League with Lyon. He then went to Roma and had a hard time adapting, but now is showing his true talent and is dominating at his spot with De Rossi playing next to him. The 22 year old has impressed more than one European big club: he is not afraid to get physical when he needs to defend, but is also more focused on the attacking part of his game which could make him a great partner for Mikel. The Bosnian international ( 37 caps, 6 goals ) has got some similarities with Lampard, the best part of his game being his precise passes. He also enjoys the occasional trick to get away from his marker and I think he could connect well with our front trio. Chelsea would have to pay £14M for Pjanic, and at this price he could become a bargain. I think he is much more suited for Chelsea than Fellaini at the double pivot role and is of course much cheaper.
Leighton BAINES :
Now Baines is a tricky issue, since his signing would definitely mean that Ashley Cole would be leaving. Many fans don’t want to see Ashley leave the Bridge, because he is still performing at his best week in, week out, but the board don’t want to give him a new contract and that is their decision – hate it or not. Meanwhile Baines is showing that he is one of the best left backs in the world this season, as he is playing great football for the Toffees. The England international ( 13 caps ) would cost us around £15M, but I don’t see the need to spend that amount when we already have the best left back in the world, in my opinion. Additionally Baines, 28, is being followed closely by Manchester United and this could make his price tag go up. Of course, Baines wouldn’t be a bad signing as he is great going forward and tracks back well, but he will be 30 in two years and if we follow the club policy that would mean he would have to be sold in 2 years. I think our solution with the left back position is clear : give AC a new contract and let him do what he does best: play football.
Dejan LOVREN :
A few people have heard of Lovren, the Croatian international ( 14 caps ) who is touted to be one of the world’s next top defenders and who is showing that he has a great talent this season with Lyon. Chelsea could be looking for a John Terry successor in Dejan Lovren. If David Luiz gets converted into the double pivot role, we could certainly use more backups for our defensive squad. The 23 year old has raised more than one eyebrow with his perfomances this season and has expressed his desire to “ perform in a bigger club “. Lyon are desperate to sell, so if a good offer comes to them they will consider it seriously. But at £10-12 M the Croatian’s price is rather high as top Europeans club are following him. Dejan could be a very good signing as he is a leader, but his arrival could put in danger our youngsters like Ake and Kalas. It is up to Chelsea to choose between getting top prospects or developing the youth system. Again, this is an intriguing one and we will just have to wait and see.
To sum up, I don’t think we necessarily need changes in our defence this winter because Rafa has helped us a lot with our defensive problems. But we definitely need to bring in some strikers in January and add some help in the double-pivot spot.
What do you think about these targets? Who would you like to see? Give us your thoughts on the January window!
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Happy New Year! Tom.