With reports flooding in that Jose Mourinho will make his return to English football and to Chelsea this summer, many are speculating big changes to the squad. With reports from the Evening Standard that Mourinho will have a big budget for the transfer window, it’s almost certain we will see big names coming to the club.
Number one on the list for The Special One and number one on the list for Chelsea, for the longest time, is Radamel Falcao. All signs point to Falcao joining the London club and if he does, we could see Fernando Torres or Demba Ba shipped out in the summer. Falcao would provide Chelsea with a much-needed reliable striker capable of creating his own goalscoring chances, and cleaning up inside the box. But the striker position is only one of many problems inside Stamford Bridge.
This move may seem like a reach, but I feel as though if Chelsea cannot land Falcao and for some reason Mourinho feels like sticking with Torres, he will look to bring in a creative attacking midfielder very familiar to him, and that is Mesut Özil. The attacking midfield position is somewhat loaded for Chelsea with Oscar, Mata, and Hazard all starting many games for Chelsea. I feel though that if they decide to stick with Torres they will need a CAM unlike one they have now.
Hazard, Mata, and Oscar are the type of midfielders that love to score, more of shoot first CAM’s which doesn’t benefit Torres much. Bringing in Özil would provide Mourinho with an attacker capable of opening up defenses with excellent vision and passing, and would give Torres the setup man he needs to provide him goalscoring opportunities that he can’t miss. The problem with bringing in Özil is that you would have to ship out one of the starting CAM’s or convince him to play a lesser role in the team. I feel that player would be Oscar. The Brazilian has had an excellent season for Chelsea, but has been inconsistent. In Europa League play, Oscar has played a lot better than he has in league play, scoring as many goals in the Europa League as he has in the Premier League. Oscar is young, and full of potential so that could turn off Mourinho to selling him, but if you have the chance to bring in a proven world-class player like Özil and you have the means to, can you pass that up?
Speaking of central midfielders, there is the case of finding someone to replace Frank Lampard. His role in the Chelsea squad has changed significantly, having been moved back from the center attacking midfield role, to a central midfield role, and this season to a central defensive midfield role. But even with the change of position on the field, Lampard is having a fantastic season for the Blues, but it is no secret that he may not receive a contract extension. That will leave Chelsea with a void at central midfield.
To fill that void, Mourinho may want to look to bringing in another versatile midfielder much like Lampard, and that is Marouane Fellaini. At Real Madrid, Mourinho didn’t have a really versatile midfielder that could play all of the central midfield roles (attacking, defensive, holding), and if Lampard isn’t offered a contract extension he may be without that type of midfielder when he returns to Chelsea. Fellaini is the type of player that can do all three central roles. At Everton, Fellaini is very much used in more of a CAM role, but has shown he can play a regular central midfield role and if needed a central defensive midfield role. His versatility and great attacking and defensive work rates would be exactly what Mourinho would need to help anchor the central midfield.
There is speculation that Xabi Alonso may be making his return to England in Chelsea blue, but with him being up there in age Mourinho may want to look to bring in another central midfielder along with him, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Fellaini moved to Chelsea in the summer.
Lastly, Mourinho needs to address the back line. John Terry is on the downhill, Luiz seems to want to play an attacking role more than a defensive role, Ivanovic is almost 30 and Gary Cahill’s form has been inconsistent. Mourinho might look to bring in a young, central defender to tighten up a shaky back line and the player he may look to bring in is Raphael Varane. The French footballer has proven his worth at Real Madrid and worked his way into the starting eleven under Mourinho, and he has a highlight reel featuring tackles on some of the world class strikers out there. Varane could be a player that Mourinho could build a new defense around over a few seasons, and just like Fellaini he is the type of player that Mourinho likes, especially in a defender. Strong, fearless, physical. He has all the qualities of a Mourinho product.
This is, of course, all dependent on if Mourinho does make his return to Stamford Bridge. The team he is potentially taking over is full of talent and promise, but also full of question marks. It’s sure to be a summer of changes for Chelsea though, no matter if they bring in The Special One or not.