Last summer Chelsea began the process of injecting some freshness and youth into an ageing squad and although some signings have worked (i.e. the incredible Juan Mata) others have been given less time (the promising Romelu Lukaku). With another manager leaving us it is important to finish in the top four to put the new man in the best position as possible. If this is secured he should be allowed to shape his team to challenge the two Manchester clubs next season. One of the main things that the new manager must embrace is that spending over £30 million on a player is not only allowed but it is going to essential for us to rebuild. City weren’t afraid to splash the cash on Sergio Aguero, a player we were linked with for so long and look how he has rewarded them this season. Some of our signings won’t be bank breakers but quite a few will be because of the impact they must have, the talent they possess and the current state of the market.
1) Edinson Cavani – The Uruguayan is one of the most sought after forwards in the world at the moment and he was highly impressive against us in the first leg. Despite his legend status at the club Didier Drogba has been a shadow of his former self since his bout of malaria and we are all waiting for the return of the real Fernando Torres. Cavani has been in lethal form for Napoli this year with 16 goals in 24 games and if we combined him with Mata he could be even more deadly than he is at the moment. There is no doubting the player’s quality but we could be looking at a price close to £27-30 million because of his importance to Napoli. They are however struggling in Serie A and if they fail to qualify for the Champions League this year then the player’s loyalty could be tested.
2) Marek Hamsik – Cavani’s partner in crime at Napoli. The midfield magician has played in an advanced role this season for his club but if he were to sign for us we could easily play him in a central midfield role as our primary playmaker. I think the 4-3-3 formation that Mourinho left us with is something that we need to stick to maybe shaping it to more of a 4-2-3-1 formation but regardless we need two wingers, one striker, one attacking midfielder and two primary central midfielders. Hamsik could be either the playmaker in central midfielder or the creative player if we were to play Juan Mata on the wing. Like Cavani he wouldn’t come cheap and we would be looking at around £20-25 million but they both could be available at a cut price deal if Napoli were to miss out on Champions League football next year.
3) Eden Hazard – The young Belgian starlet has been linked to the Premier League and specifically Chelsea for some time now and there have been rumours of rejected bids in January but have we now missed out on him? In recent interviews Hazard has been hinting that if we were to pick England over Barcelona or Real Madrid Spurs could be the team that he would choose. Seeing this player go to our North London rivals would be unthinkable and although people could argue that it may pave the way for Modric to join us if Spurs (which they should do) finish above us I doubt he will want to join. Our best bet here is to use our financial muscle because we can offer higher wages and hopefully we can prove to him that we are the more ambitious club. He would be a useful addition and he could either play as an attacking midfielder or as a winger and would be a very important signing.
4) Hulk – A player we have been linked with since AVB took over and one that would be unquestionably a fantastic signing. He has power, pace, crossing ability and a deadly shot. His buyout clause is well documented but in realistic terms Porto aren’t going to force a club to pay that amount of money especially if the player asks to leave. Obviously without AVB we’re going to struggle to persuade the player to join but hopefully the new manager will be able to show Hulk that Chelsea are a far better European proposition than his current club Porto. His desire to join was obvious but now less so and whether we will be able to take him from Porto is a different matter. Financially Roman might feel this deal isn’t worth it but Hulk has shown again with his form this season that it probably would be.
5) Gregory Van der Wiel/Cezar Azpilicueta – There is no denying the fact that right back is and has been a problem for some time now. Boswinga is a liability in defence despite his excellent pace going forward. Both these players represent a more solid bet at right back and both are very young with great potential. VDW has the advantage of international football under his belt whereas Azpilicueta obviously has Sergio Ramos to deal with in the Spanish national side. He does however possess a very long throw which is something we could hopefully utilise. Both are good investments for the future and neither should cost more than £10-15 million and it is hard to pick between them. As long as we look at one of them then we can forget about our right back problems for the foreseeable future.
6) Yann M’Vila – I’m not sure I’m convinced yet that Essien can return to his former glory but time will only tell and if he can make a full recovery than this signing may be irrelevant. He may not be so well-known to some Chelsea fans but this guy has been receiving rave reviews from Ligue 1. He has already won a handful of French caps and looks set to be their ball winner for the next generation. He’s solid in the tackle, composed on the ball and at low profile club (Rennes, the same club from which we signed Petr Cech). He wouldn’t be cheap as Rennes are financially quite stable but he would be interested in joining us because of the nature of our club and at the age of 21 he would seem a great investment for the future.
7) Josh McEachran – Obviously he’s a player who is well-known to Chelsea fans and I am one of the biggest Josh fans. I think his composure, ease on the ball and vision are all superb for someone his age and I think he has the ability to be our Jack Wilshere (albeit they play in different positions). All he needs is more game time and the management has to realise that. He has immense potential and AVB virtually wasted his first half of this season by refusing to send him out on loan but then rarely playing him. In the summer a decision has to be made early on by either sending him on loan to another Premiership club or by saying that he is going to give him as many minutes as possible.
Obviously it is highly unlikely that all of these signings will happen but hopefully a good percentage can occur because our play this season has been too slow and we need an injection of pace and purpose into our line up. As long as we secure Champions League football it shouldn’t be impossible for us to catch up with the Manchester clubs as Spurs could really struggle if Harry takes the England job. City are obviously the pace setters now but as we have proven they can be beaten so we just need to draw on the positives from this season and keep them in mind for the rest of this season and next year.