Chelsea were always likely to spend significant money in the January transfer window, but the managerial change this week now makes changes even more probable. Great strides were made to transform the squad in the summer, but there still appear to be some obvious deficiencies in the squad that need rectifying.
Given the short length of his deal and the power structure at Stamford Bridge, Rafael Benitez may have limited say on the club’s recruitment. However, if his past is anything to go by, the Spaniard is sure to try and push his case to get the players he thinks the team needs. Here are five players that could soon be arriving:
Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid)
If he wasn’t already, Fernando Torres is surely now drinking in the last chance saloon as a Chelsea player. Roman Abramovich’s desire for his £50 million purchase to reap dividends was such that, according to esteemed Spanish journalist Guillem Balague, the Russian owner turned down an opportunity to sign Radamel Falcao right before the European Supercup in August. The Colombian scored a first-half hat-trick that night in Monaco and has not stopped scoring since fuelling persistent speculation of a January move to Stamford Bridge.
Unless Torres starts firing under the man who got the best out of him at Liverpool, Benitez, then expect Abramovich to pull out all the stops to bring Falcao in come the New Year.
Edinson Cavani (Napoli)
Along with Falcao, Chelsea were also heavily linked to another of the world’s deadliest strikers in the summer in Edinson Cavani. That speculation was ended when the Uruguayan signed a new contract in August, featuring a €62 million (£50.1m) buyout clause. Still there is speculation that Cavani, 25, remains under consideration for Chelsea should a move for Falcao fail to come to fruition.
With 49 goals scored in the past two Serie A seasons and eight goals in 11 games already this campaign, he is certainly not a bad alternative.
Marouane Fellaini (Everton)
For all their bevy of attacking midfield talent, Chelsea still lack a dominant performer in the middle to hold things together. There are few more physically imposing midfielders in the Premier League than Marouane Fellaini. The Belgian also has no little technical skill while maintaining a useful knack of popping up in the penalty area to put the ball in the net.
Benitez, who is a great organizer of teams, is sure to look at central midfield as an area he needs to strengthen in order to compliment the players already at the club. Fellaini has already been heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge and January could be the time for it to materialize.
The Brazilian is another player who is said to have been on Chelsea’s radar for some time, and could arrive to add some solidity to the team’s midfield. The 24-year-old was a key part of Corinthians’ Copa Libertadores victory back in July and has established himself as a regular member of the Brazil side.
Inter Milan are also reported to have shown an interest in Paulinho, but with Chelsea likely to get an up-close look at him in next month’s FIFA Club World Cup, the Blues may well step up their pursuit.
The 18-year-old right back looks all but certain to arrive in January. It has been reported that the Blues assumed 40 percent of the player’s rights when Deco joined Fluminense in 2010. Wallace started 10 games as Fluminense won the Brasileirao title this season and, according to ESPN, Chelsea have paid €5.5 million (£4.4m) to seal a deal for the Brazil Under-20 international.