Chelsea Line Up January Swoop for Emile Heskey, Adam Johnson or David Villa Just In Case FIFA Ban is Overturned

Carlo makes plans…just in case.

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Sports News - February 03, 2009

Chelsea are preparing to launch an unexpected January spending spree after submitting an appeal against Fifa’s transfer ban.

The club have asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne to suspend the sanction by world football’s governing body while their appeal is held.

As revealed by The Times last month, Chelsea intend to try to delay the appeal for as long as possible to enable them to sign several new players in the next transfer window and have already begun to identify potential targets.

Chelsea will learn whether the CAS will grant their request at the start of next month and history is on their side. In the two most recent cases of this kind, the CAS lifted the embargoes imposed on Sion and Roma to enable them to sign players while their appeals were continuing.

The CAS offers a three-week fast-track service, but such a hearing must be agreed upon by both parties, which is unlikely in this instance. In addition, the CAS schedule is full until December 16, which Chelsea hope will assist their delaying tactics.

Chelsea were banned last month from signing players for two transfer windows after being found guilty of inducing Gaël Kakuta, then a 15-year-old winger with Lens, to break his contract with the French club two years ago.

They were also ordered to pay £113,000 “training compensation” for Kakuta, who was suspended for four months. The player was ordered to pay £682,000 compensation, for which Fifa said Chelsea were “jointly liable”.

Chelsea insist that they are confident Fifa’s ban will be overturned. Their tactics have also been shaped by discussions with Carlo Ancelotti, the manager, who has expressed concern at the depth of his squad, which has been heightened by successive away defeats in the Barclays Premier League.

The Italian admitted this week that he would like the opportunity to rest players but feels he cannot take the risk as their understudies are not good enough.

Ancelotti’s problems will increase in January with Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel set to miss up to four Premier League matches and several domestic cup-ties while they play in the African Cup of Nations.

The tournament in Angola, from January 10 to 31, will leave Chelsea particularly threadbare up front. Any injury to Nicolas Anelka would then deprive Ancelotti of all of his recognised strikers, but while his priority is to sign another forward, most of Chelsea’s targets are either unavailable or overpriced.

David Villa is one of few world-class goalscorers who could play in the Champions League because Valencia did not qualify for this season’s competition. Emile Heskey would be a cheaper alternative capable of filling in for Drogba, although the England striker may be concerned about a lack of first-team football after the Africans’ return. He has already expressed his frustration at failing to win a regular place in the Aston Villa line-up.

Ancelotti would also like to sign a central midfield player, with Daniele De Rossi, of Roma, one possible option. The club have also been monitoring the performances of Adam Johnson, the Middlesbrough winger. (Times Online)

Now you can look at this in many ways. Either Chelsea are so cocky and so sure that FIFA will buckle under the weight of their legal arguments that the transfer ban will be lifted or that they are praying with all their might that it will be and as such have constructed a shortlist of talent they seek to pursue.

Now I don’t for one second see Carlo Ancelotti opting for a move for Emile Heskey and I will offer my knee caps to the highest deity of choice if the Aston Villa man ever wears a Chelsea shirt on a professional basis. David Villa is of course a long term target for the Stamford Bridge outfit but one that doesn’t look any nearer to completion as the Valencia man continues to happily score goals for fun at the Mestalla, however if come May the La Liga club have not made it into next years Champions League then that will be an entirely different story.

The move for Adam Johnson is for me the most likely. The Boro man has come out of Stewart Downing’s overrated shadow to great effect this season but his contract is due to end this summer and the Championship side may opt to take money for him in January rather than wait to see how much the transfer tribunal would value him as this is who would decide the youngster value as he is under 24 and therefore not privy to the Bosman ruling.

Either way the Blues are probably right to worry about the impact the upcoming African Nations Cup will have on their squad with great many of their top notch talent set to take part in the event.

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