So, here we are. The season has finally begun after that blistering opening weekend. Under normal circumstances, we are likely to be sat here, analysing what went wrong and what went right during the weekend. However, the presence of an open transfer window means that we are more likely to talk transfers.
The merits and demerits of having the window open after the season has commenced have already been debated upon. The reality however does not change. The window is still open and we’re all consumed by thoughts of likely new arrivals. Nobody is too enthused or bothered about who will leave, unless one supports Arsenal of course.
The good thing about having the window open even after regular seasonal activity starts, is the fact that it allows for managers to assess their squads further. It is of course too early in the season to be making conclusions; nevertheless there is still the chance to paper over any visible cracks.
The bad thing about it is that, the agony of a protracted summer saga is prolonged until the very last second. Twitter is already notorious for providing us with various ‘sources’ who, more or less, regurgitate old news or simply get to genuine news articles before anybody else. With deadline day fast approaching, the rumour mills are only going to be working harder than ever.
Chelsea are usually right in the thick of it. Thanks to Roman Abramovich’s riches and largesse, the club is linked to many a big player (one of them usually from Porto), and deadline days are certainly eventful. As predictably as ever, the south London club still have atleast two definite deals in the offing and about two hundred players linked in anticipation. Okay, not two hundred. That was exaggeration, but you get the point.
When Branislav Ivanovic got red carded against Manchester City, initially, the decision led to widespread pandemonium amongst the Chelsea faithful as they thought ‘Brana’ was out for three games with a suspension now. Thankfully enough for them, the Charity shield is only counted as a friendly and the player was able to play against Wigan (and even scored a goal). The reason for the initial panic was Chelsea’s lack of a viable alternative at the right-back position.
Fellow title contenders, Manchester City and Manchester United seem to have more attacking depth within their ranks too. With the signing of Robin Van Persie completed, United possess one of the most fearsome attacking line ups in Europe. And City, despite their unusually quiet transfer window activity this summer still have more depth than Chelsea do in attacking positions. It is why many believe, that the Premier League trophy is likely to stay in Manchester this season. The only question is Red or Blue?
However, with the window still open, Cheslea could make an interesting signing (or two) in attack, to shore up their ranks. Let us take a look at who is likely to walk in and wear the Blue of Chelsea.
Potential Targets And Likely Arrivals
HULK – A player with whom Chelsea have been linked since the very beginning of this transfer window. His performances in the Olympics weren’t particularly noteworthy but he did have his moments. Chelsea have signed Marin, Hazard, Oscar and already have the excellent Juan Mata on their roster. But Hulk offers more of a direct option coupled with his impressive physique. If any Chelsea fan was getting a bit insecure about the decision to go lightweight this term, this signing should provide reassurance that physicality still counts at Chelsea.
The story doesn’t seem to have moved much further since both Porto and Chelsea found themselves unable to compromise on the price, but the player himself has left it in ‘God’s hands.’ Club president Pinto Da Costa is adamant that he will not sell the player for less than his deemed value. Matters have been complicated further by the arrival of Zenit St.Petersburg on the scene.
TheHardTackle verdict – This is one which is clearly in the balance, but all evidences indicate towards the Brazilian making a move to Stamford Bridge this season. Chelsea certainly haven’t given up yet, and it looks as if the Stamford Bridge club are leaving this one for late in the window.
STEVAN JOVETIC – With Chelsea signing Oscar a few weeks back, any rumours linking the club to Jovetic disappeared, but miraculously they have resurfaced yet again and this time with Manchester City also in the mix as they seek to replace the outgoing Adam Johnson. The Viola are loath to letting their crown jewel go and they might now even be in a stronger position to keep hold of him. Fiorentina have rectified a few of the errors that haunted them during the last two seasons with a fairly impressive rebuild and are hoping that the renewed ambition at the club will tempt Jovetic into staying. But a sufficient bid is likely to see the Montenegrin forward leave for pastures anew.
TheHardTackle verdict – Chelsea only have Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge for the center forward role. Jovetic is a versatile player who can play as a striker/attacking midfield or on the left side of a front three. It looks like this deal is likely to go through only if Chelsea concede defeat in their pursuit of Porto’s Hulk.
EDINSON CAVANI – A rumour that has increasingly picked up pace in the last week or so, Cavani’s arrival at Chelsea would most certainly the end young forward Daniel Sturridge’s career with the blues. It seems that the club have reopened talks with the Naples based club and given Cavani’s wage demands, Chairman Aurelio De Laurentis might just relent should Napoli manage to secure a bumper amount from the deal. If one must believe in reports, negotiations are on. Napoli retain an interest in Chelsea midfielder Raul Meireles and he could be used as part of a cash plus player deal.
TheHardTackle verdict – This is one signing that could announce Chelsea as definite title contenders, but the finances involved could be seen as prohibitive eventually. It also will hamper any chances Daniel Sturridge might have of finally finding himself playing the centre forward position and is sure to further dent Fernando Torres’ already fragile confidence. It looks unlikely that it will go through. The talks between Chelsea and Napoli could be very informal and part of a back-up plan for Chelsea if all other possible deals fail.
VICTOR MOSES – ‘We’ll see you next week’ the Chelsea fans chanted at Victor Moses, during their opening day win against Wigan Athletic at the D.W.Stadium. However, the fact that the player started the game suggests that a deal isn’t anywhere close to being done just yet. The ever eloquent Wigan chairman, Dave Whelan and manager Roberto Martinez have both said that both the clubs are still to find an agreeable fee.
TheHardTackle verdict – This is likely to go through. Victor Moses is seen as a Marko Marin type of a signing for Chelsea. He is a versatile player who can play everywhere in attack and can have an immediate effect upon the game with his pace and skill. The now revised £9m price (previously £10m) is unlikely to deter Chelsea and it looks as though the European Champions are merely looking at testing Wigan’s resolve for as long as possible. So will it be a deadline day deal? Looks likely and will go through irrespective of who else Chelsea sign.
CESAR AZPILICUETA – Chelsea have been involved in negotiations with Marseille for a while now and this transfer seems to be reaching its inevitable conclusion with the player having recently voiced what very much sounded like a ‘goodbye’ to the Marseille support. It is quite possible that youngster Gael Kakuta will head the other way after finding his Chelsea dream dashed by all of the new arrivals at the club.
TheHardTackle verdict – Looks set to be completed within the week. The deal is likely to get done unless Chelsea find that Inter Milan right back Douglas Maicon is still obtainable. The possibility of that happening is very slim though.
Apart from the names mentioned above, Chelsea are still said to be interested in Modric, Maicon, Anderlecht’s Chiekou Kouyate and even Neymar if Spanish daily Marca’s desperate attempts are to be believed. However, all of these transfers would cause massive surprise should they go through. Modric and Maicon have been strongly linked with a move to the Bernabeu most of the summer. Madrid’s insistence on driving a hard bargain is possibly leading to these players being linked with Chelsea but expect them both to line up in the famous white of Real Madrid next season.
Likely Exits At Chelsea
It has caused some surprise among the fans that Yossi Benayoun and Florent Malouda are still at the club. Questions have also been asked about Micheal Essien (unlikely to leave) and Raul Meireles. Daniel Sturridge is another player whose future is in question until the window firmly slams shut on the 31st of August; if Chelsea bring in Cavani, he could leave for Spurs or Liverpool. The very fact that these players are still on Chelsea’s payroll seems to suggest that the club is possibly looking to use them in potential swap deals.
A lot depends on how well the Chelsea board improvise in what’s left of the summer window. One thing is for sure, fans all around the globe will breathe a huge sigh of relief post deadline day. Clubs have spent a lot of money this summer and once the drama ends, the focus will entirely shift back to the football on offer.