Chelsea managed to put behind their eighth league defeat of the season – against Bournemouth during the weekend – by comfortably qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League with a 2-0 victory over Porto at Stamford Bridge. The Blues have had an excellent record in the European competitions so far, and their performance too was a reflection of it. However, such odd results should not take away from the fact that the squad has a number of underperforming players and some need to be moved on.
Jose Mourinho does not expect the club to be active in the January transfer window, but one cannot keep thinking that it would be the opposite. Chelsea looked horrible in a number of matches as the game style has become quite predictable, and so does the movement of players. Big money summer signings like Pedro have failed to leave much impact, and there is an urgent need for a kick in the backside.
Radamel Falcao is one player who is widely tipped to leave the moment the transfer window opens. The Colombian international’s second attempt to succeed in the Premier League has failed miserably. Just one start in the league and one goal in 214 minutes of action is unlikely to spark any emergency within Chelsea to convert the loan deal into a permanent move. In fact, the opposite could happen with the Blues reportedly discussing termination of the loan move six months earlier than planned.
If such thing happens, it will provide Mourinho with the necessary space to accommodate a new striker. Chelsea had been linked heavily with Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann, who has scored a significant chunk of goals from the centre forward position this season. The 24-year-old French professional is once again subjected to transfer speculation in the last few weeks. The French professional is likely to be a direct threat to Diego Costa’s position, should the transfer deal materialise.
Atletico went to great lengths to keep him in the summer, and they are unlikely to consider selling him halfway through the season.
It would have been a different story had Atletico been struggling in the league. Diego Simeone’s team are second in the La Liga and only two points behind table leaders Barcelona.
If transfer rumours are anything to go by, it looks like Chelsea will not be making wholesale changes to the squad. Instead, one can expect a player ready-made for the first-team like Griezmann along with plenty of players with potential. Serbian wonderkid Marko Grujic and Bologna midfielder Amadou Diawara are some of the youngsters linked with Chelsea in January.
Mourinho said he would not ask for signings in January. He said:
“We don’t have the right to ask the club for players. I don’t think so. We started the season with this squad, and we have to do better. This is more about players doing better than the club going to the market.
“People must feel responsibilities. We had a lot of half-chances, and we couldn’t touch the ball. If you are in the box, you have to attack the ball.”