Who should Chelsea offload in January?
At this time of year Chelsea are usually scouting for one or two signings to push on with another title-chasing campaign but this seaso...
At this time of year Chelsea are usually scouting for one or two signings to push on with another title-chasing campaign but this season has been completely different. The poor start the Blues made was expected to be turned around by now, but with goals and points still hard to come by, Jose Mourinho will be hoping the New Year brings a change in fortunes and a much-needed boost in trophy chances.
Only a point off the relegation spots at the time of writing, it is highly likely that Roman Abramovich will be digging deep into his pockets during the January transfer window to salvage something from the league this season. But who should make way for the expected influx of signings?
REVERSAL OF FORTUNE
After winning the title last season it was expected that a couple of new signings would only enhance the level of players that were already performing so well. But even with the universally poor standard of play, there have been some that have really gone downhill since last season.
Branislav Ivanovic is a perfect example of the general level of decline. One of the first names on the team sheet for a number of years, the Serbian defender made a torrid start to the season and has not really recovered. His pace has been lacking on an alarmingly regular basis and although he wants to stay he may not get as many playing opportunities if Mourinho recruits in the January transfer window.
It may be a little unfair as he was just so good last season but Oscar’s lack of form has been very noticeable. From being the focus of many an attack the Brazilian has just not got going this year and Mourinho has favoured other midfielders for the majority of the season. It seems unlikely that Oscar would go in January but an exit in the summer could well be on the cards.
Although there have been problems all over the pitch, Chelsea’s midfield players have not really performed so far and another example of the decline is Cesc Fabregas. The Spaniard’s return to London in 2014 after three seasons at Barcelona re-ignited the team and the midfielder played a prominent role in last year’s success. But his form has looked poor this season and other clubs could be tempted to try their luck.
After being the transfer target of choice only a couple of seasons ago, Radamel Falcao’s stock has dropped remarkably. A forgettable spell at Manchester United looks to be repeated at Stamford Bridge as the Colombian striker has not impressed Mourinho enough to give him a go – even when Diego Costa has been absent. His loanperiod is supposed to run until the end of the season but there is much to be said for ending that early in January and looking elsewhere for goals.
Although it would be headline news if Costa left the club in January, recent form – and attitude – has made the unthinkable a possibility. After last season’s barnstorming success the Spanish international has not impressed on the pitch. And his petulant attitude at being substituted will not have made Mourinho happy. Talk of a return to Atletico Madrid has been mooted but January will probably be too early for an exit. But if Zlatan arrives in the summer it is unlikely that Costa will stick around.
It must be stressed that Chelsea could still win two trophies this season and with a return of form after Christmas it will be more important who is coming into the club to work towards winning the league again in 2016-17. But with so many players at the club there is always a lot of activity in transfer windows and some well-known – and well loved – players could be leaving. Something everyone at Chelsea has got used to in the past few years.