Andre Villas-Boas was probably given three windows to bring about a transformation the previous Chelsea team was soAi??desperatelyAi??craving for. In the first phase last summer, the thing he did was to change the inherent philosophy prevalent at the club – signing players at the peak of their powers, paying them unbelievably high salaries, getting just a solitary contract out of them, seeing their value and game deteriorate with time, and then selling them, or rather offloading them, for an inconsequential sum of money.

The strategy saw a turnaround of gigantic proportions with the focus shifting to younger player – players who were 23 or less, who were still developing, who could be molded to play a certain way of football, who could still improve, who had more than one contract in them, and for whom a transfer to Chelsea was their chance to create history, not live off it!

Thibaut Courtois, UlisesAi??DA?vila, Islam Feruz, Romelu Lukaku, and Oriol Romeu and Juan Mata were all brought in for the promise of greater things they exhibited; most of them were long-term signings, with little or no impact expected immediately. However, Romeu, all of 20 years, has already established himself into the first team, dethroning Mikel from his defensive midfield role.

Mata has been everything that’s not been witnessed from the terraces of Stamford Bridge for quite some time. So much so that, every Chelsea fan secretly wishes that the team had two Matas rather than one – that fine crosser of the football, running down the left flank, cutting inside and beating defenders at will and that creative force in the center of the park, looking for those delicately timed through balls. That’s how good Juan has been, irrespective of where he’s deployed by Villas-Boas. Then there’s Raul Meireles, a different sort of signing. He hasn’t been as spectacular, but has toiled hard andAi??persevered nonetheless. For A?10m, Chelsea were able to sign a proven performer in the Premiership – aAi??shrewd bit of business again.

Needlessly to say, the manager has done reasonably well when we talk about transfers. At least, as far as the first phase was concerned.

In January, Chelsea Football Club needs to address the following concerns –

1)Ai??Right-back orAi??Centre-back

2) Right-forward/winger

3) Central midfielder orAi??Left-forward/winger

If last summer was a time to build for the future; right now, it’s time to fill the obvious, gaping voids in the team.

Right-back or Centre-Back

Even though the ‘or’ here looks peculiarly out of place, it may be correct. If Chelsea finally sign Gary Cahill, the move will force Ivanovic to appear more as a right-back, thereby limiting the number of minutes Bosingwa gets to commit a mistake on the pitch – yes, that’s how bad the Portuguese has been on the pitch of late! On the other hand, if a right-back is signed, Chelsea would have Terry, Luiz and Ivanovic for two centre-back slots, plus Romeu, who can also play in defence.

However, if the manager is to make only one purchase out of these two in January, the ideal signing would be a centre-back.Ai??Two birds. One stone.

Player (s) linked with a move to Chelsea:

Gary Cahill

Last summer, Cahill was heavily linked to a move to White Hart Lane and The Emirates, but neither move materialized. In December, Alex put in a transfer request and Chelsea were forced to enter the market for a centre-back.

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Yay or nay?

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Owen Coyle went on record to state that a fee has been agreed with Chelsea and that the player was free to discuss personal terms with club. “The best outcome for us is for the player to join us. His technical attributes are immense. His pace is fantastic as well. He’s been playing magnificently at international level, normally alongside John Terry, and he can add to this squad or any squad.“, Villas-Boas had said. However, the signing has apparently been delayed because of England International’s salary demands.

THT Verdict: Very likely. Gary Cahill’s contract expires in the summer, and Bolton will definitely sell him in this window. Ai??For A?7m, Cahill’s would be a good signing, his club form notwithstanding. Chelsea were unable to fill the mandatory quota of 8 homegrown players before last season, and would do well to add an experienced English player to their roster. At 26, he still has a good 5 years left in him if he performs well; else, there’s always a possibility of selling him to another club after 3 years and recovering part of the investment.Ai??The club should try to close the deal at A?70000/week; Cahill must understand that he will get an opportunity to establish himself in the team, especially after quite a few horrific performances by the present set of defenders, and to play in the Champions League.

Kenneth Omeruo

A few days back a story of Chelsea signing an 18-year old Nigerian under-20 defender broke out, with the player expected to be sent on loan to ADO Den Haag after the transfer was complete. If we are to believe the player himself, the transfer is complete. “It’s a very huge step in my career and I will grab it with both hands. I will continue to work hard until I fulfil my dream to play for a massive club like Chelsea.“, said Omeruo.

THT Verdict: Good deal. This one’s again for the future and will join Thomas Kalas, Jeffrey Bruma, and Nathaniel Chalobah – all talented, young centre-backs at Chelsea. Omeruo, who was very impressive at the U20 World Cup last year in Columbia,Ai??is very athletic, defensively solid for his age, and stands 6’2” tall.

Click here for a brilliant profile of the youngster by Stephen Schmidt.

Cesar Azpilicueta

Recently, Chelsea were linked to Marseille right-back Cesar Azpilicueta, and considering the realigned strategyAi??of the club, it’s not too difficult to believe the reports. Cesar is an Osasuna academy product, who started his career as an attacking midfielder, but later moved to cement his place as a right full-back. Although he is much behind in the pecking order for Spain, his talent is unquestionable. After a A?8m move to Marseille last season, he has beenAi??performingAi??consistently well in the ongoing campaign.

THT Verdict:Ai??Possible. In the past Chelsea have been linked to all sorts of right-backs – from Gregory Van der Wiel to Dani Alves, from Samuel Inkoom to Sergio Ramos – but the none of the moves have materialized. The requirement was never more urgent than it is now, but Marseille will not let one of their better players leave in the middle of the season. Also, if a centre-back is signed, Ivanovic is good enough to play in the position for remainder of the season. However, there’s a need for a younger, more balanced player, and the Spaniard fits the bill perfectly.Ai??A?12m-rated Cesar is young, fast, a good passer, an accomplished tackler, and is ready for the big stage. The club should keep a close watch on him, and try to sign him whenever they can.

Right-forward/winger

After the departure of Nicolas Anelka to China, Daniel Sturridge has done remarkably well to establish himself in the first team. The fact that he has done while playing as a right-forward and not as a centre-forward – his preferred position – is all the more appreciable. However, the team needs another option for the right-wing; an out-and-out winger who can be brought on in case of a tactical shift, or to utilize the width of the pitch, stretching the defence or just to deliver crosses into the box.

Player (s) linked with a move to Chelsea:

AlthoughAi??Eduardo Vargas (now Napoli) and Adam Johnson (Manchester City) would have been perfect signings for Chelsea, the former has already been snapped up by Champion’s League opponents and the later will not be sold to a rival club. Hulk (Porto) has also been linked to the club, but his astronomical buyout clause and the fact that he has appeared for Porto in Champion’s League will deter Chelsea from going for him in this window.

Milos Krasic

The Serbian winger was one of the better players for Juventus last season, but has rarely featured for Antonio Conte’s team this season, making a mere 6 appearances. There were reports in the media that Chelsea are keen to offer the forward a chance to redeem his career, but were looking for a loan deal with an option of signing the player in summer.

THT Verdict: Possible. He is a one-dimensional player, who over relies on speed. He hasn’t played a good game for Juventus in over an year, as defenders in Serie A have discovered how to stop him. He doesn’t have a good left foot, his decision-making is very suspect and doesn’t track back enough to keep Conte’s tactical shape intact. However, he isn’t a bad footballer, and when on song, can give any full-back a run for his money. Chelsea should only consider his name if Juventus want to send him on loan, or if a deal can be struck with Alex going the other way.

Central midfielder orAi??Left-forward/winger

Out of these two requirements, only one will be signed in all likelihood, at least not in January. Any of the two signings will make Mata’s position on the pitch more stable, and there won’t be a need for another player for that particular area of the pitch.

Player (s) linked with a move to Chelsea:

Marek Hamsik

The Slovakian attacking midfielder’s agent had put the cat amongst the pigeons by saying “If Napoli were to receive an offer from Barcelona, Chelsea or Real Madrid, then it would be logical to accept” a couple of days back. The 24-year old has a deal with Napoli till 2015, and the club were looking to extend it even further to keep suitors away. Since then, the player has wasted no time to quash the rumors by stating “Everything is agreed, all that is missing is the signature“.

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Chelsea-bound?

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THT Verdict: Unlikely. Even if Hamsik doesn’t sign the extension, the fact that he is cup tied and Chelsea will not be able to play him in the Champions League will prove to be a big deterrent for the deal, at least right now. The only positive from the move will be that he won’t be able to feature for Napoli against Chelsea as well – so, paying 30 million just to make the opposition weaker, eh? Even Chelsea wouldn’t do something like that.

Kevin De Bruyne

Chelsea were very close to signing the 20-year old Belgian left-footed forward in summer, but a fees couldn’t be agreed between the clubs. In the Champion’s League double-header against Genk, Kevin was the only bright light – unfazed by the nature of opposition, he continued to persevere.

Chelsea are still interested in signing me and have a plan ready for me. It would be perfect if they’d sent me out on loan to another team first. Something like Thibaut Courtois at Atletico Madrid. He has made the right choice.Ai??Lukaku’s situation at Chelsea doesn’t scare me. He’s training with some of the best players in the world. Even if he doesn’t succeed at Chelsea, he’ll have become a better player. You can join pretty much any team once you’ve played at Chelsea.“, said De Bruyne recently.

THT Verdict: Likely. Somethings tells us that Kevin will be a Chelsea player sooner rather than later. In the summer, Genk expected a fee of around A?8m, while Chelsea were ready to offer a tad bit lower. If Chelsea were to return for the player, it would be tough for the Belgian champions to resist this time. Kevin is a promising player, who not only is a good crosser of the ball but can also beat defenders and drift infield. Technically, he is decent enough for his age and is considered to be a free-kick specialist. ‘Another Mata’Ai??would be wishful thinking but he appears to be an interesting option.

Departures

Didier Drogba (Tottenham, China), Florent Malouda (PSG), Salomon Kalou (Arsenal), Fernando Torres (Milan, Malaga) and even Frank Lampard (Man United) have been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge, as the new regime looks to establish itself and build for the future. While it’s preposterous to even think of Frank leaving the club, Drogba, Malouda and Kalou may leave, but perhaps in the summer. While, Fernando is expected to be given at least until the end of season to force a turnaround in his fortunes. However, if an offer in the region of 25-30 millions comes for the Spaniard, Chelsea may be tempted to cut their losses and save about 60m (including the value of his remaining contract at A?180,000/week) and invest the money elsewhere.

In the last press conference, Andre Villas-Boas revealed that Chelsea may sign one more player, apart from the centre-back, but will be careful as clubs generally end up overpaying in January – and, who better to know this than Chelsea themselves, having burnt their fingers an year back.

If the Stamford Bridge club manage to sign a centre-back of decent quality and an attacking wide player (either side), at the same time not overpaying for anyone, the window would have proved to be a success. With phase two successfully completed, Andre will eagerly look to phase three in the summer to complete the transformation that heAi??foresees in West London.

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22 Responses to “Chelsea Transfers – Cahill & Krasic Or Does Villas-Boas Have Another Card Up His Sleeve?”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Argento says:

    Romeu – So clubs just HAVE to look into LA MASIA to find an answer, eh?

  2. Marc CFC/BKK says:

    I’d be happy with Cahill and one or two others during this window. We know about the cup tied problems and inflated Jan fees so maybe a right back but as you stated, if Bran can keep fit, he can take that position, at least until season close. I think we need another creative midfielder and would like to see Moutinho but again unlikely til summer, Hazard sounds good as does Coetz but don’t think he’ll leave Germany. Hulk won’t happen unless Porto agree to sell at around the 30mill mark so v unlikely. I have faith in AVB. Keep the blue flag flying high!

  3. Shivam says:

    Aftera long time there has been a shift in strategy, atleast transfers. marco reus would have been a good option but now that wouldnt be happening as he is off to dortmund. kevin de bryune and gary cahill seem to me to be the two best possible sets of transfers. goetze or hazard or modric should only be looked into the summer.

  4. Aditya Sharma says:

    Krasic would be a good enough option to use against the smaller teams, but he’s definitely not a long-term solution. He’ll probably be able to beat most of the lower-rung full-backs in the league, but his delivery leaves a lot to be desired at times.
    More than a signing, I think the best thing that can happen to Chelsea in January is if Torres starts scoring again.

  5. Divine says:

    Love wat u a doin at chelsea AVB….d poor results dont scare me, i know it will get better with time

  6. Divine says:

    Love wat u a doin in chelsea AVB, d results dont scare me at d moment, i know it will get better with time.

  7. kenyan says:

    chelsea needs to activate defence and attacking forwards

  8. john Owiny says:

    Please Abramo give our young tactician ABV time you will reap alot of trophies. Ramirez please keep the
    fire power burning.

  9. pratham says:

    chelsea shud go for vasilis torosidis, who plays as right back for olympiacos.
    good,strong pacy & versatile player with only a 7 mill. buyout clause.
    act fast b’cs manu r also interested.

  10. onovo says:

    up chelsea, it we be lovly to see torres back in form.

  11. Joshua says:

    We need a creative midfielder lik hamsik ,a centre back and a striker. AVB am counting on you as a coach i believe so much in please make us proud i love you AVB

  12. saief s adam says:

    if we signd cahill, i think thr is no need to sign right-back, cos ivanovic is ok shift to th right-back, then @ midfield we need hamsik, @ foward we need adam johnson..

  13. BOB says:

    DEMBA BA PLEASE!! ILL DO ANYTHING!!!!!!!! Who else wants Demba ba??

  14. rapheal says:

    We need a creative midfielder lik hamsik ,a centre back and a striker. AVB am counting on you as a coach i believe so much in please make us proud i love you AVB

  15. lil says:

    50 mil for torres does not seem that much,
    more scaring is the 180 k per week!!

  16. chelsea should not sell f.torres but sell d.drogba kalou malouda alex and sign hamsik cahill hazzard bruyne and di maria

  17. Lomash says:

    I believe that TORRES will come back into form…i think he should be more selfish and shoot more

  18. Awpa Fanai says:

    For me, Junoir Hoilett of Blackburn wil be best signig…i admre dis strog, youg nd gud plyr 4 a log time and heard dat his contract wil expre aftr dis season…can’t wait 2 see his accurate crossig to El Nino

  19. Manas Agrawal says:

    With gary and 2 more players my jan window would be sorted-
    -a left forward: i like kevin de bruyne
    -a creative midfield player if mata can’t do that..i see mata gud enough for That though

  20. Manas Agrawal says:

    And then play a 4 3 3 or 4 2 3 1

    433
    brana/luiz-jt-gary-cole

    romeu-ramires-creative mid/mata

    mata/de bruyne-Torres/danny-danny/mata

    Or a 4231
    same back 4

    LUIZ/romeu/rami

    mata/de bruyne-mata/creative mid-danny/mata

    Torres/Danny

  21. kazi says:

    AVB was sat out with the mission of transforming chelsea and it’ll will obviously take time. We are behind you all the way. in regards to the transfer market the signing of Gary Cahill eas a good one but everyone is talking about him replacing luiz? Luiz is the future of chelsea so i’m curios to see how that turns out. Chelsea need one or two more signings hopefully de bruyne comes through that kid is talented. one more would be the signature of edin Hazard! but that seems like wishful thinking at this point.