The halfway stage of the season is usually a crucial stage for most football teams – the hectic festive period has ended and teams will now be able to carve out realistic ambitions of where they would like to be come the finish, and with the opening of the January transfer window, dead wood can be removed and new faces can be recruited to face each clubs respective battles.
The likes of Southampton and West Ham have come out of the other side unscathed and harbouring real hope of staying around the European spots with the addition of a couple of fresh faces to cope with the charge, maybe even pushing for what would be a phenomenal 4th place – incredible, given their respective tumultuous pre-sesaons.
The three promoted clubs, along with the likes of Hull and Crystal Palace will be desperately trying to strengthen to avoid the drop after a busy Christmas period has left them looking nervously at the drop.
But what about us Chelsea fans? What can we expect to see during the next four weeks?
Well, truth be told, not a lot.
We are top of the league, and despite receiving enormous plaudits for our style of play, we find ourselves absolutely dead level with Manchester City. But in truth, the squad we have already looks more than capable to cope with the demands of four competitions as well as ensuring we beat City to the summit of the table.
If you were to ask me about three weeks ago where I’d say we need strengthening is in the base of the midfield, as should anything happen to Fabregas and/or Matic, we would be struggling for a similar quality of player to step up.
However, after a resurgence in form from the much-maligned John Obi Mikel and the ever-dependable Ramires those fears have been allayed for the time being. Will Mikel keep up this form? Will he even still be at the club after the window closes? Given his lack of playing this season, coupled with a bit of form in recent appearances, he might well decide to go and should that be the case we will need cover.
Sergio Busquets was linked from Barcelona, but has recently signed a long term deal and so that rumour will be nothing more than that. Paul Pogba has rather optimistically been linked but given the form of Fabregas and Matic, would he move without the guarantee of playing constantly? I doubt it.
The only other position where we might perhaps need strengthening is at centre back. Taking nothing away from him as he is rolling the back the years with his performances, but skipper John Terry will not be playing at this performance level forever. While Kurt Zouma looks a seriously capable deputy, and we do have Branislav Ivanovic who can play there too, we may look to sign an out-and-out centre back who can offer another option.
Raphael Varane is a name being thrown around and given Mourinho’s past with him at Real Madrid it is not impossible he will join in January. He is allegedly available for £20m, a steal considering his obvious talent.
Another striker may be on the agenda for Mourinho, given Didier Drogba’s advanced years he will likely call it a day at the end of the season and so a replacement would be required. A signing in January would give whoever came in the chance to bed in and be prepared for more involvement from the summer onwards. Croatian striker Andrej Kramaric looked set to join from Rijeka, but that move has potentially been mooted after Premier League rules meant he could not be loaned straight away to fellow Premier League side Leicester, as was the plan.
However, we have some very talented young strikers who could step up to fill Drogba’s position in the squad – Patrick Bamford the obvious candidate, but Dominic Solanke and Issy Brown could well make the step up.
But in truth, there is nothing we need to do to the squad this winter and it is simply a case of not being tempted by any huge offers from foreign sides and keeping the side together. There will be more outgoings than incomings no doubt, be it youngsters on loan or fringe players such as Mo Salah leaving, as is being reported.