It was nothing less than winning a trophy for the Blues as the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) finally reduced Chelsea’s two-window transfer ban to one on December 6 2019 after being found guilty for breaching rules on signing young players, which means the West London side would be able to sign players again starting from the January transfer window.
Since then, Chelsea have undergone a very inconsistent run of form and the Blues’ manager Frank Lampard has realized that their honeymoon period is over and they need to bring in some new faces if they’re to keep their Champions League dreams alive. The Blues are keen on strengthening at the back including the centre-back and full-back positions, a forward who can give Tammy Abraham a run for the starting spot and finally on the wings as they look to replace veterans Willian and Pedro.
Over the last few weeks, a number of players have been linked with the West Londoners including Wilfried Zaha, Jadon Sancho, Timo Werner, Moussa Dembele, Nathan Ake and Ben Chilwell. In this article, we will try to break down Chelsea’s transfer targets and how they could fit in this young Blues’ squad. So, let’s get started.
1. Nathan Ake
Club – Bournemouth
Position – CB
Likelihood – 8/10
Like most clubs in modern football, we’ll play out from the back and begin the party with a former Blue, Nathan Ake, who himself is a graduate of the Chelsea Academy. The Dutch centre-back joined Bournemouth for a then club-record fee of £20m back in 2017 and has been, arguably, their best defender since then. While Bournemouth were clever to get Ake on a bargain, the Blues were smart enough to put a buy-back clause in his contract which they could trigger this month. So, how would Ake fit in at Chelsea?
First of all, since he’s a Chelsea academy product, the basic thing taught in the academy is to play in different positions and while Ake is a great CB, he can also provide cover at left-back which Frank Lampard will need a lot in the second half of the season due to the uncertainty with both Emerson Palmieri and Marcos Alonso which we’ll talk about later in the article.
Secondly, Chelsea haven’t had a left-footed centre-back for a long time now due to which they find to difficult to pass out from the back. Last season it was David Luiz’s brilliance and excellence that Chelsea were able to get out from tough situations but we can see the limitations this season. However, with the addition of Ake, this adds a new dimension and angles for passing and playing forward.
Well, Chelsea don’t have to deal with Bournemouth here so they won’t be put off by any huge fee as the buy-back clause is already there. The only obstacle here is to convince the player which shouldn’t be an issue as he left the club on good terms last time and knows what the club is about.
2. Ben Chilwell
Club – Leicester City
Position – LB
Likelihood – 3/10
Fullbacks in modern-day football play a very important role and Frank Lampard knows that pretty well, that’s why Chelsea are in the market actively searching for a new left-back. Frank Lampard has been recently playing Caesar Azpilicueta at LB which speak volumes that he’s not impressed by Emerson Palmieri and Marcos Alonso. With both of them attracting interest from other clubs, the former is willing to stay in London and fight for his place despite being wanted by Juventus and Inter Milan while the later is open to a reunion with Antonio Conte at Inter Milan. It is being understood that the Blues are open to let both of them leave if they receive the right offer.
The big question is “Will Leicester City let Ben Chilwell go to one of their rivals when they’re fighting for a top 4 spot”? Absolutely not. The Foxes wouldn’t even let Chelsea sign him and take him back on loan, as this would affect the players’ performance in the later half of the season. If Chelsea were to sign him this window it would take them atleast £70m which is crazy money considering they can get him for less money 6 months later and that Liverpool got Virgil van Dijk for an extra £5m.
So, what now? Should Chelsea wait for Chilwell till the summer or look somewhere else? The Blues can surely wait till the summer and continue with Emerson and Azpilicueta for now but there are two things to consider. Firstly, this could have a massive impact on Chelsea’s chances of finishing in the top 4 and if Chelsea fail to finish in the top 4 then they’ll lose revenue and this could also affect their summer transfer plans. Secondly, there are no assurances that they’ll get to sign Chilwell in the summer and instead they could face competition from other clubs like Man City who themselves are in the hunt for a new left-back.
Chelsea, knowing that have been looking at other options and have identified Alex Telles from Porto and Nico Tagliafico from Ajax as potential replacements if they fail to land the England International. It remains to be seen if Chelsea can pounce on Chilwell or do go for other options but one things’ for sure that there will be a lot of activity with the left-back position in the upcoming days.
3. Wilfried Zaha
Club – Crystal Palace
Position – LW
Likelihood – 6/10
You must have been bored by now seeing Wilfried Zaha being on the front page every transfer window asking for a move but “we can’t sell you now Wilf but we will surely let you go at the end of the season” and the story continues. There’s no doubting Wilfried Zaha’s on the field but he continues to get overpriced by the club off-the-field which puts off any interested visitors by his massive price tag. Will this be the case once again in 2020 or will Zaha finally get his dream move to a big club?
Chelsea have been keeping tabs on Wilfried Zaha for a long-time now and while he won’t be the big money signing to replace Eden Hazard, he could surely be a part of that. As much as Wilfried Zaha can assist Christian Pulisic, Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi in the wings he can also lift some pressure-off of Tammy Abraham’s shoulders as he can play in both wings and as a striker, should Chelsea miss out on Timo Werner and Moussa Dembele.
How many times have we seen Zaha save Crystal Palace single-handedly from tough situations, that’s the winning mentality the current Chelsea squad needs. There have been reports that the Ivorian who has a lot of friends at Chelsea is linking up with a familiar face or you can say “super-agent” – Pini Zahavi. Pini Zahavi is someone who has a history with Chelsea FC and a big reputation as he was the man behind bringing Roman Abramovich to Chelsea. Zahavi is no stranger to completing big deals as he was also the man behind Neymar’s move to PSG for a world-record fee.
Now, we come to the main part. Crystal Palace have put a massive £80 million price tag on Zaha to put off any interest shown in the player. So, how could Chelsea make this deal happen? No one would pay such crazy money for Zaha right now, but Chelsea can offer players in exchange to bring the valuation down for the 27-year old. Crystal Palace are admirers of Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud who Chelsea can offer to the Eagles, but the later would prefer a move to France or Italy. It remains to be seen if Crystal Palace agree to Chelsea’s terms but with Pini Zahavi in there, you never know.
4. Jadon Sancho
Club – Borussia Dortmund
Position – RW
Likelihood – 3/10
Jadon Sancho has the world on his feet, ever since he decided to walk the extra mile by moving to Germany to make a name for himself. The former Man City youth is wanted by a host of top clubs including the likes of Liverpool, Man United and Chelsea. Apparently, Chelsea look at Jadon Sancho as Eden Hazard’s long-term replacement but where do Chelsea stand on this deal?
Earlier in the season, there were some fallouts between Borussia Dortmund and Sancho which heated up speculation regarding Sancho’s future at the club. It has been understood that Sancho would be open to a move back to England or even head towards Spain. Chelsea, in this case, are slightly ahead of other clubs as they have good relations with Borussia Dortmund and Jadon Sancho himself is a boyhood Chelsea fan.
However, things don’t happen so easily right? Borussia Dortmund rate Sancho above £100m and any deal that takes place would need a lot of time. Since, Dortmund have stressed that they don’t want to sell Sancho in January not even like they did with Pulisic, this would make things pretty hard for the West London side who also have to look at other positions too.
In this case, Chelsea should avoid wasting too much time on this deal and focus on other aspects of the transfer window and come back for Sancho in the summer.
5. Moussa Dembele
Club – Lyon
Position – ST
Likelihood – 5/10
Have you ever had a crush on a girl in high school and years later you have the same feeling for her? This is how you can perfectly describe Moussa Dembele’s relation with Chelsea. The Blues have been monitoring the French striker since his Celtic days and maybe finally it’s time when they approach the 23-year old to join their club.
Recently, Lyon have released a statements which states that the club will not entertain any offers for the Frenchman in January. While this could be Lyon trying to get higher bids for the player but Chelsea do have the upper hand as the player would happily welcome an offer from the Premier League. Also, Lyon are interested in Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud who has expressed his desire to leave in order to get some game-time ahead of the Euros.
While Chelsea could offer Giroud plus money to soften up Lyon’s stance on Dembele, the Blues have their sights on someone else who can light up the Premier League and we have a lot to discuss about him later in the article.
6. Timo Werner
Club – Red Bull Leipzig
Position – ST
Likelihood – 4/10
Tammy Abraham’s strong start to the Premier League has made a lot of people believe that he could turn out to be what Harry Kane is for Tottenham. While this could be a good thing but also this means that the Blues would find it very difficult to sign another striker as no one would like to be in a team where they have to be in the bench for most of the time unless you’re Danny Drinkwater.
If you want someone to compete with Tammy Abraham then you have to bring someone like Tammy Abraham and Timo Werner is certainly that advanced striker who does everything starting from dropping deep to link-up the play to making runs behind the defender. While Tammy Abraham has 12 goals in the Premier League, Werner scored 18 goals (2nd in the Bundesliga).
Chelsea’s interest in the 23-year old is real and they’ve enquired about Werner’s release clause which could be as low as £30 million or as high as £51 million. The release clause is a bonus for the Blues as they wouldn’t need to deal with RB Leipzig for any fee and can directly contact Werner’s representatives. But as always, there’s a catch.
RB Leipzig are sitting on top of the Bundesliga table and they have every single chance to win the title this season and it would mean a lot for the club to win their first ever Bundesliga title now. On top of that, Leipzig have qualified for the round of 16 in the Champions League and they have a chance of progressing deep into the competition. Whichever way you look at it moving now doesn’t make sense for Timo Werner, knowing that he can finish this season on a high and recieve even better offers in the summer. Chelsea could still tempt the player to make the move to Stamford Bridge but ultimately it depends on what he wants more.
This concludes our article on “Chelsea Transfer News : Breaking down Frank Lampard’s big January plans“. Hope you enjoyed it and if we missed out on anyone do let us know in the comments below.