It's been a rather strange summer in the transfer window for Chelsea. Fans and pundits alike have been left stranded somewhere between the frustration at the lack of signings and deciding if and where their formidable squad actually needs improvement.
However, no clubhas managed to win back-to-back Premier League titles since Manchester United secured three on the trot between 2006 and 2009, and Chelsea’s poor start to the season has left their fans worried the trend will continue.
Other Premier League clubs have strengthened and Jose Mourinho appears to be aware of his need to bolster, admitting earlier this summer: “I would say three new players are needed. A striker because we lost our legend [Didier Drogba], a defender and a midfielder player to give a little bit more competitiveness to the squad, to bring some new blood and some new ambition.”
Chelsea have since added Radamel Falcao to their ranks to somewhat address their deficiency upfront and full-back Baba Rahman from Augbsurg but the Blues still need more.
Here are three players the reigning champions should sign before the transfer window closes.
JULIAN DRAXLER (FC Schalke)
Chelsea aren’t exactly short of attacking talent but when crunch time comes around, it’s invariably one man who seems to bail them out over and again. Eden Hazard has been their most valuable player for a couple of seasons now and while having a talisman within your ranks is a necessity for any top side, an over-reliance is never advised.
Mourinho appreciates Willian’s efforts and the Brazilian is a real workhorse, as well as posing an attacking threat. However, a move for Draxler would serve to polish that right side to reflect the attacking prowess on the opposite flank.
The German is linked with a move to Juventus, who have reportedly offered £15.6m (Dh90m) for his services, although FC Schalke seem to be holding out for £22m (Dh127m), a fee well within Chelsea’s means for one of Europe’s brightest young talents.
Draxler is an exceptional dribbler and has plenty of pace to complement that facet of his game. He’s a strong runner with the ball and relishes one-on-one situations. The 21 year-old is also two-footed, is good from distance and has an eye for a pass as well.
He can play anywhere across the line behind the striker but also has the capacity to lead the line, a feature that may come in handy should a couple of Chelsea’s front men succumb to injury. Given the proposed fee, the Blues should be well poised to swoop in and secure his signature ahead of Juventus.
JOAO MOUTINHO (Monaco)
Since being beaten to the signing of Arda Turan by Barcelona earlier this summer, Chelsea haven’t been heavily linked with a high-profile central midfielder but it’s a position they should perhaps consider addressing again.
Cesc Fabregas was often criticised for going missing in some of the bigger games last season and that remains a worry. Should he suffer an injury, the likes of Ramires or John Obi Mikel aren’t equipped to replace his playmaking ability in the centre of the park.
In truth, Mourinho may have missed a trick by not going in for Yohan Cabaye, who ultimately signed for Crystal Palace for an absolute bargain of £12.5m (Dh72m). Nevertheless, in Joao Moutinho they could find an accomplished midfielder in the same mould to offer Fabregas the ‘competition’ he needs.
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It’s no secret that AS Monaco are keen on lowering their wage bill, a venture with which Chelsea have already aided them by taking Falcao off their hands on a season-long loan. Moutinho has been linked to the Blues in the past and is currently on £110k (Dh634) a week.
Mourinho will be well-versed with his compatriot’s abilities, with the 28 year-old possessing fantastic vision and an exceptional range of passing. He’s an accomplished international and would be an excellent acquisition for the English champions even if signed on a loan deal.
JOHN STONES (Everton)
Chelsea have confirmed the signing of left-back Baba Rahman but in light of their 3-0 drubbing at the Etihad Stadium, further defensive reinforcements required. The Blues have tracked Everton’s John Stones this summer, though Everton are continuing to stand firm – rejecting a mammoth £30m (Dh173m) offer this week.
Mourinho’s substitution of John Terry against City suggests that the club skipper is no longer irreplaceable in his eyes and with Branislav Ivanovic operating at right-back, Kurt Zouma is the only centre-back in the first-team squad available to step up and partner Cahill.
Stones’ arrival would significantly boost their options; the promising English defender has been likened to a young Rio Ferdinand and possesses all the qualities to thrive at a top Premier League side. His pace, composure, intelligence and tackling have also reportedly caught the attention of Manchester United and with Cahill turning 30 in December, Stones would be a solid investment in the future for Chelsea but they will have to act soon with other suitors lurking.
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