Five points clear at the top of the Premier League after dropping just two points in their first seven matches, and those coming at the home of the champions, Chelsea already look hard to derail from their march toward the title. The club is reaping the benefits from decisive moves in the summer transfer window to address the issues that prevented them from claiming the Premier League crown in Jose Mourinho’s first season back at Stamford Bridge. Striker Diego Costa has provided the goals, with nine in his first seven Premier League matches, while Cesc Fabregas has added extra creativity, as shown by seven assists in as many league starts. It is now hard to find any obvious deficiencies in this Chelsea squad. Yet, reportedly the Blues are already planning on bolstering their ranks in further.
The London Evening Standard reports that Chelsea are preparing to offer Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira pre-contract in January. The German World Cup winner is in the final year of his contract with the European champions and is able to negotiate terms to move on a free transfer once he enters the final six months of his deal.
Khedira was heavily linked with a transfer to Arsenal in the summer, but they are believed to have been put off by his wage demands. The 27-year-old’s bargaining power will only increase the nearer his contract gets to its conclusion and he has rejected an offer to stay at Madrid. Mourinho knows Khedira well, having signed him and coached him for three years while in charge at the Bernabeu. And, while Chelsea’s have been superb so far this season, if there is an element they are missing it’s an extra physical, defensively attuned player in midfield. Fabregas has often lined up alongside Nemanja Matic this campaign, but that has at times left Chelsea more vulnerable defensively than is typical of a Mourinho side.
It has also been suggested that Khedira could arrive in a cut-price January transfer; a move that, according to the Daily Express could be helped by Real Madrid’s interest in Petr Cech. The veteran goalkeeper has been at Stamford Bridge for more than a decade but has lost his place this season to Thibaut Courtois. It is unlikely that the 32-year-old Cech will be prepared to sit on the bench for too much longer, and Madrid appears a likely destination. Current No. 1 Iker Casillas is continuing to attract criticism for his performances and manager Carlo Ancelotti worked with Cech during his two years in charge of Chelsea. The Telegraph also believes Real Madrid’s interest is genuine.
It’s a story that certainly appears to have more weight behind it than a report floated by the Express that Chelsea are set to bid £48 million for Liverpool and England starlet Raheem Sterling. The 19-year-old attacker has become a key figure for both club and country in the past year, but has yet to commit a new contract at Liverpool that reflects his heightened status. That has reportedly alerted Real Madrid, and now Chelsea. Still, although a few clubs may have half an eye on the situation, it is difficult to envisage Chelsea or any other club offering such a massive fee for Sterling at this stage.