Following an extremely successful season which saw Jos Mourinhoa s men win the Premier League title as well as the Capital One Cup, the summer has thus far been a relatively quiet one for Chelsea FC. TheHardTackle takes a look at some of the transfers the Blues have been linked with, and assesses how likely they are to happen.
There is an obvious difference between Chelseaa s plans for this summer transfer window compared to the last; Bluesa boss Jos Mourinho has in fact said as much, on more than one occasion. The surgical precision with which Chelsea FC identified their transfer targets and then secured them last summer is seemingly absent this summer a and with good reason.
The focus this time around is to keep the Bluesa key players whilst making signings that strengthen the squad, instead of ones that necessarily strengthen the starting XI. The main pieces of the puzzle have been identified and are already in place, and the pieces that belonged to a different puzzle have been discarded. Signing quality players that will strengthen the squad without the promise of guaranteed first-team football every week is arguably a more difficult task than tying down the likes of Diego Costa and Cesc F bregas a both of whom filled gaping holes in Chelseaa s first team, and neither of whom Mourinho would have found difficult to convince, to sell a vision of a team with them as key players within it.
In an interview with BT Sport last month, the Portuguese was surprisingly forthcoming about his plans for the summer transfer window, admitting that he was on the lookout for three new players a a defender, a midfielder and a striker. The striker will be Radamel Falcao a barring any extra-ordinary event between now and the beginning of Chelseaa s pre-season training. With Petr A?ech completing his move to Arsenal, a goalkeeper can now be added to that list, given neither Jamal Blackman nor Chelsea FC U21 goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney are as yet ready to step in to try and replace the Chelsea legend.
Mourinhoa s words a which, of course, might not always reflect his true thoughts a essentially sum up the profile of player that Chelsea FC are looking at this window: a (Players to) give a little bit of competitiveness to the squad, bring some new blood and some ambition, put some players a little but under pressure because they know they have somebody behind, waiting.a Chelsea FC have been linked a as is the case during every transfer window a with a range of players across Europea s top leagues, some of whom very clearly do not match that particular profile.
Here is a look at some of the players the Blues have been linked with this summer, how they might fit in in Mourinhoa s set-up, and perhaps most saliently, how likely it is that they will be plying their trade at Stamford Bridge next season.
Paul Pogba (Juventus)
Who he is: THE story of the transfer window. The man who is inadvertently playing a major role in the presidential elections of one of the biggest and most historic clubs in world football a F.C. Barcelona, and the man who arguably has the talent to match the hype surrounding him. Paul Pogba, at 22 years young, is already one of the top central midfielders in world football. The French internationala s burgeoning talent and sheer marketability mean that he likely to be sold at an eye-watering fee by Serie A champions Juventus.
How he fits in: With Nemanja Mati and Cesc F bregas unlikely to be left out of the Chelsea FC starting XI by Jos Mourinho any time soon, Pogba would likely be the third midfielder in a potential 4-3-3 formation a one that the Portuguese favoured during his first spell in charge of the club. An attacking box-to-box midfielder with the talent of Pogba a who is also not one to shirk his defensive responsibilities a could add a whole new dimension to Chelseaa s attack, but it would probably come at the expense of Brazilian Oscar. Pogba would either partner Mati with F bregas in a more advanced position, or could be the more advanced player himself in bigger games with a more defensive presence (such as Jon Obi Mikel) alongside Mati . Pogbaa s arrival would thus unquestionably mean a change in formation from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-3.
Likelihood of signing him: 2/10. Chelsea FC fans should not be getting excited about this any time soon. Although the Blues are reportedly in the race for his signature alongside Barcelona and Manchester City, it is extremely unlikely that the English champions will be able to convince Pogba to join even if they do have the a 100m that might be required to secure his services. The lure of playing for Barcelona with the likes of Lionel Messi probably trumps any monetary advantage Manchester City or Chelsea FC might have. Juventus would also prefer to keep their star player for another season before selling him to Barcelona, which would suit the Catalan giants perfectly given their transfer embargo and their consequent inability to register new players until 2016.
Antoine Griezmann (Atl tico Madrid)
Who he is: Arguably the second biggest name Chelsea FC have been linked with this transfer window. The 24-year-old Frenchman is a versatile forward, capable of playing either as a second striker, or in any of the three attacking midfield positions behind the striker in a 4-2-3-1. Griezmann reportedly has a buy-out clause of A?43m in his Atl tico Madrid contract a his debut season with the club saw him score 25 goals in all competitions, and there is no indication that is looking for a move away from the Spanish capital.
How he fits in: It is unlikely that Mourinho would play the Frenchman as a lone striker in the Premier League. As such, Griezmann will likely be playing off Diego Costa, either as the second striker, or in a more withdrawn, deeper role as a no.10. As with Pogba, Griezmanna s presence in the team would probably come at the expense of Oscar, given Williana s contribution from the right flank is almost irreplaceable. It is also perhaps possible, if not likely, that Griezmann will play as an inverted winger on the right wing, with Oscar or Willian as no.10.
Likelihood of signing him: 3/10. All indications are that Griezmann is happy at Atl tico, and that Simeone has no plans of selling him. As such, Chelsea FC would have to pay his buy-out clause in order to bring him to London. That amount of money, however, is usually paid for a player that goes straight in the starting XI. The Frenchman arguably does not have a natural position in Mourinhoa s current set-up, and with Oscar set to stay at the club, neither is he a priority signing. Although this could happen in the future, it is unlikely that Griezmann will be playing for Chelsea FC come August 2015.
Arda Turan (Atl tico Madrid)
Who he is: The Turkish international will definitely be leaving the Spanish capital this summer and is someone that would suit Chelsea FC perfectly. Arda Turan is a versatile attacking midfielder, who generally plays on the right wing in Simeonea s 4-4-2. With his tenacity, high work-rate, defensive contribution, and ability to make a difference in attack a particularly in big games a Turan is the quintessential Mourinho player.
How he fits in: Quite simply, on the right of an attacking midfield three in Mourinhoa s 4-2-3-1. Turan has the quality to put Oscar and Willian under pressure, and it could be that he makes the position on the right of midfield his own, leaving the Brazilians to fight it out for the no.10 role. The 28-year-old is also capable of playing centrally himself or indeed in a supporting role to the right of the centre-forward in a 4-3-3. His versatility and quality would be priceless for Mourinho, and would allow for greater tactical flexibility.
Likelihood of signing him: 6/10. Chelsea FC fans can be forgiven for getting a little excited about this one. Although his release clause of A?29m is a bit pricey considering his age, he has the ability to make a difference now and would be a significant upgrade on Juan Cuadrado. His arrival might mean that Cuadrado will be loaned or sold, which would offset the transfer cost to some degree. The catch? Catalan media are very confident that Barcelona have won the race for his signature and that he will be their second signing this summer.
Asmir Begovi (Stoke City)
Who he is: Begovi has been one of the most consistent goalkeepers in the Premier League for some time now, and his unquestionable quality has seen him linked with the likes of Manchester United in the past. The 28-year-old has a year remaining on his Stoke deal, however, and is reportedly looking for a new challenge.
How he fits in: Chelsea FC will not find a better keeper to fill Petr A?echa s shoes. Begovi is more than good enough to deputise for Thibaut Courtois, and will push the Belgian to perform at his best every week to retain his place in the first team. A goalkeeper pairing of Thibaut Courtois and Asmir Begovi would probably be the best in the Premier League, and that is exactly what Mourinho appears to be planning.
Likelihood of signing him: 8/10. There are already reports that deals have been agreed with both Stoke City and Begovi himself, and it seems as though the Bosnia and Herzegovina international has his heart set on moving to the English capital. With Chelsea FC needing a goalkeeper and Begovi seemingly happy to oblige, this transfer is a very real possibility this summer.
John Stones (Everton)
Who he is: One of Englanda s most exciting young defensive talent, the 21-year-old had a breakthrough season at Everton in 2014/2015, earning him his first senior England start in September last year. Stonesa strength lies in his composure and technique on the ball, as well his athleticism and ability to anticipate threats. The youngster has all the makings of a future world class centre-back.
How he fits in: Stones, at his current level, is more than capable of challenging Gary Cahill for a spot in the first team. The 21-year-old will likely be seen as a long-term replacement for John Terry, and along with Kurt Zouma, could form a very solid defensive partnership for Chelsea FC for years to come. Stonesa ball-playing ability is arguably superior to that of Cahill, making him more suited to the expansive style of football the Bluesa played last season a particularly in the first half.
Likelihood of signing him: 4/10. Although Stones would be a magnificent signing for Mourinho, the Blues have no dearth of young centre-backs on their books. Besides, it could take upwards of A?25m for his signature a which could be the reason that Chelsea have been looking at the likes of Stuttgarta s Antonio RA?diger and Lyona s Samuel Umtiti to fulfil their defensive needs. It would require a serious, concerted effort on the part of Chelsea to make this deal happen this summer, and ultimately it comes down to how much Mourinho wants him right now. Stones himself might well prefer staying at Everton for another season and developing further before making the step-up.
Abdul Baba Rahman (FC Augsburg)
Who he is: The 21-year-old Ghanaian left-back has had an impressive season in the Bundesliga with FC Augsburg and is attracting interest from the Premier Leaguea s big boys. The defender also had a very impressive African Cup of Nations tournament in January this year, helping Ghana reach the finals against the Ivory Coast.
How he fits in: For the immediate future, probably as a back-up to C sar Azpilicueta. The Ghanaian will, however, be a more natural option for Mourinho to use on the left flank, and could contribute to the attack from the left a similar to what Serbian right-back Branislav Ivanovi did last season for the Blues. The 21-year-old is not the finished article by any stretch, but could gain a lot from working with the likes of Mourinho and will allow for defensive reshuffles with Azpilicueta potentially playing as a right-back in Ivanovi a s absence.
Likelihood of him signing: 6/10. Given Filipe Lu sa reported desire to return to the Spanish capital, Chelsea FC will be on the look-out for a left-back replacement. That could well be Baba Rahman who fits the profile of player that the club are looking for perfectly. The signing will be contingent on Luisa departure, but if Mourinho really wants Rahman, chances are that he will get him.
The quiet summer Chelsea have had thus far might just be the calm before the storm. Or perhaps there is no storm coming. And perhaps that is a good thing for the club, who have made a lot of changes for a lot of money over the past decade. Perhaps this calm transfer window is a reflection of the stability at the club at present a recognition that the core of the team has been built, and that any big-name signings could affect the chances that the academy players such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek get in the Chelsea FC first team.
There will be new players arriving this summer a of that, there is no doubt. But it is likely that they will be players who will challenge a rather than replace a the members of the first team. The Bluesa fans can relax this off-season, safe in the knowledge that the new spine for the foreseeable future of Chelsea FC is already in place.