Where should Chelsea strengthen in January?


No doubt, Maurizio Sarri has done a good job at Chelsea so far. Returning the club to a place of strength after struggling under Antonio Conte is no mean feat. But the competition has gotten tougher. That’s especially so when the side is fighting for a trophy on several fronts; both domestically and on the continent.

It’s Time to Upgrade

David Luiz Chelsea

To compete strongly on all fronts and expect to emerge victorious, Sarri will need to shore up any weak areas in his Chelsea squad. The Italian manager has returned the Blues to the top four as the club aims to challenge for the title.

Although Chelsea are now 11 points behind league leaders Liverpool after the recent home loss to Leicester, Maurizio Sarri most likely still has plans to fight for the Premier League title but he will need to upgrade his squad to do so.

Jurgen Klopp is benefiting from top-class signings made in 2018 to strengthen his squad. The Reds came close to landing Europe’s biggest prize after having a largely successful season but were undone by errors made by goalkeeper Loris Karius that led to a 3-1 loss to serial winners Real Madrid.

But the German tactician learned his lessons and swiftly went about securing a better alternative. It came in the form of Brazilian number one goalkeeper, Alisson Becker. In the midfield, Naby Keita and Fabinho have added quality to the squad as has Swiss international Xherdan Shaqiri.

But arguably the biggest addition is in the middle of the defence. Virgil van Dijk has been nothing short of inspirational at the club thereby earning the players’ nomination as club captain behind Jordan Henderson and James Milner.

The Netherland international is having the best year of his career as he is playing a leading role in helping his club and country achieve big things. The transformation witnessed at Liverpool should serve as inspiration for Sarri at Chelsea as he seeks to lead the Blues to secure silverware.

At the moment, the squad is visibly lacking in attack with the burden to score goals weighing heavily on Eden Hazard’s shoulders. Although the Belgian has played a key role in the team’s performance so far as the side occupies a top four place, it’s not been and will definitely not be enough to make a push for the title.

Hazard leads the club’s goalscoring charts in the Premier League this season with eight goals. Strikers Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud have both scored a total of five league goals with the latter finding the back of the net just once all season.

The writing is on the wall

Alvaro Morata

As a team, Chelsea has scored the least goals this season, of the top five sides. With just a goal more than sixth-place Manchester United who have scored 34 in 18 matches so far, it is clear a top-class striker or prolific goalscorer is the need of the hour at Stamford Bridge. The likes of Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi, Lille’s Nicolas Pépé, Nantes’ Emiliano Sala or any other scorer open to a move can fill the void at the London club.

However, it is usually difficult to secure such a deal in the January transfer window. In that case, the club will do well to bring back Tammy Abraham from his loan deal at Aston Villa. The 21-year-old is displaying a rich vein of form at the club in the Championship. With 13 goals in 17 Championship games, he could be the solution his parent club needs.

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Emmanuel Odey
Emmanuel is a freelance football journalist who lives and breathes the round leather game. He is a contributor on several platforms. You can connect with him on Twitter @emmanuelodeyibl

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