After being banned from participating in transfer windows by FIFA, Chelsea’s appeal to CAF (Court of Arbitration for Sport) successfully cut the ban in half, allowing Chelsea to sign players in the coming January window. Along with this, the original fine of 600,000 Swiss Frances has also been reduced to 300,000 Swiss Frances.
Although this is incredible news for the Blues, fans are left wondering which of the many transfer rumors Chelsea have been a participant of will be pursued. It is important to remind ourselves what our season targets were for 19-20. With Eden Hazard leaving and a new manager taking the reigns, Chelsea aimed to secure Champions League football by finishing top 4 in the Premier League. A few domestic trophies were also targeted to maintain Chelsea’s silverware hunt. Fast forward to now, it is safe to say Chelsea re on level with completing those targets.
Hence, the need to sign players may not be of the highest priority for Chelsea right now. Instead, Chelsea’s aim should be on how they can replace players they might lose this January and address the depth issues on our fullback positions. Players such as Giroud, Alonso, Pedro and Barkley have not been receiving many minutes and could be looking at the exit door. Hence, players in those respective positions who are happy to take a rotational role in the squad must be found and signed.
Pedro’s replacement has been much rumored to be Dourtmond’s golden boy Jadon Sancho or Crystal Palace’s savior Wilfred Zaha. Sancho would be in incredible investment for Lampard’s squad, as he is young, knows many of the other youth players well and is a very promising player. However, the question of whether Lampard can offer him enough game time is crucial. Lampard would most likely have to lose Willian to accommodate Sancho properly, but even then the likes of Pulisic and Hudson Odoi who are both players who need gametime to grow may stand in his way. The upside to it though is that Chelsea will have very healthy competition on its wings and some great options on the bench. Zaha may be more suitable to a rotational role, however the question of how much he can offer and for how long looms large and has made many supporters unconvinced of what he can give Chelsea.
Players such as Alex Telles, Youcef Atal, Jose Gaya and Ben Chillwell have also been linked to the London club in recent months. With Alonso upset about not receiving enough minutes and Azpi getting older, Chelsea could surely use the January window to sign a fullback.Lampard’s style has often shown to use his fullbacks in attacking roles, making each of the previously named players suitable for the position. Although which player is best for Chelsea varies from fan to fan, the club must ensure they invest in a player that can lock down their position for years to come.
With such a young squad, Chelsea may even be interested to sign some footballing veterans who can still offer something at the high level. Someone like Edinson Cavani competing with Abraham or Thiago Silva battling for a spot with Tomori and Zouma could be an effective way for Lampard to build his youngsters. However, the evident weakness of that idea is that those veterans may not be willing to commit to such little game time and could also be much past their peak, inevitably hurting the club more than helping it.
Overall, Chelsea have many options on how to tackle the January window. There are definitely areas to be addressed, but seeing how well the squad is doing despite sustaining so many injuries Lampard and the board may not see a need to bring in fresh faces. However, if they aim to be title contenders by next season, decisions would need to be made during the summer and now to ensure Chelsea have enough quality to challenge the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City.
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