Chelsea look in need of fresh blood.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte may feel he’s been proven right so far this season.
All summer long the Italian complained about a lack of action by the Blues in the transfer market, and by mid-October his side are already nine points off the pace in the title race.
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Chelsea only lost five matches last season but have already been beaten three times this term, with Conte struggling to put together a side that could beat Crystal Palace this weekend due to so many injuries.
Alvaro Morata and N’Golo Kante were among the biggest names missing, with Chelsea also now having to cope with extra midweek fixtures due to their return to the Champions League.
‘We play seven games in a month, and I need to rotate players. If someone is thinking that I can use only 11 players or 13 players, it’s impossible,’ Conte was quoted by the Metro in August. ‘We are trying to strengthen our squad and, if we are in the transfer market, that means we need to improve the squad.’
In the end, Chelsea brought in Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Antonio Rudiger, Willy Caballero, Davide Zappacosta and Danny Drinkwater.
However, many of their rumoured targets were missed out on, so could Chelsea revisit their interest in any of these five players in January?
Virgil van Dijk
One of the top defenders in the Premier League last season, the Telegraph reported that Chelsea were considering a bid for Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk this summer.
Liverpool were also linked with the Dutchman at the time, and the Daily Mirror reported recently that Barcelona were ready to join the running for his signature.
It remains to be seen if Chelsea still view Van Dijk as a priority target, but it certainly seems their defence could do with one more major addition after the loss of the hugely influential John Terry in the summer, while Nathan Ake was also sold and Kurt Zouma left on loan.
The Daily Mail claim Chelsea will come back in with a £60million bid for Juventus left-back Alex Sandro when the transfer window re-opens.
Conte is said to remain a big fan of the Brazil international, and it’s clear he could do with more depth in that left wing-back spot due to an over-reliance on Marcos Alonso on that side.
Having landed Zappacosta as cover for Victor Moses, Conte will surely feel much happier if he can also have Sandro and Alonso to rotate between from January onwards.
A player seemingly always linked with a bigger club after shining at Leicester City, could Riyad Mahrez be a surprise solution to Chelsea’s woes this season?
Eden Hazard had a quiet game against Palace and can’t be relied on to do things all on his own all the time, with Willian and Pedro, excellent as they are, not quite in the same calibre of game-changing players.
Mahrez, meanwhile, is a huge talent with flair and inventiveness to alter the course of a game when he hits top form. The Sun claimed Chelsea wanted him towards the end of this summer, and while the deal never materialised, the Mirror claimed last week that Leicester may since have softened their stance on selling him.
A transfer saga riddled with confusion, the Telegraph claimed Everton midfielder Ross Barkley turned down a move to Chelsea on deadline day.
Still, the England international could be worth a gamble again for the Blues this winter, with Kante’s injury and Drinkwater’s struggles to get fit leaving Chelsea thin of options in central midfield.
While Barkley would likely only be cover, he seems worth trying again for if Chelsea want to avoid relying on inexperienced youngsters such as Ethan Ampadu in that role.
Linked with an exit from Paris Saint-Germain after his infamous on-pitch bust-up with Neymar, the Daily Mail list Chelsea as a potential suitor for Edinson Cavani this winter.
With Diego Costa leaving for Atletico Madrid and Michy Batshuayi struggling to impress, Cavani could be an ideal upgrade in that centre-forward position to ease the burden on summer signing Morata.
The Independent reported that Chelsea were keen on Fernando Llorente as another option up front this season, clearly demonstrating that another striker is in Conte’s mind as he weighs up replacing the unconvincing Batshuayi.