Chelsea are enduring a difficult defence of the Premier League this season, and reports are linking them to a host of players ahead of the January transfer window, citing the need for manager Jose Mourinho to strengthen his squad with some new additions. However, while the likes of Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid and Gonzalo Higuain of Napoli have been linked, should the Blues be instead focusing on their struggling midfield?
Due to indifferent form, Mourinho has dropped the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Nemanja Matic and Oscar at times this season, but doesn’t have the best replacements to bring in. Ramires has been a good servant for many years at Stamford Bridge, but John Obi Mikel has been on the decline, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek is perhaps too inexperienced at the top level for Mourinho to trust over the course of the season. As a result, Chelsea could well spend in January on some alternate options.
What do Chelsea lack in the midfield?
When Nemanja Matic isn’t playing, Chelsea are lacking an equally commanding central midfield who also provides a composed head when under pressure. John Obi Mikel assumes the role due to a lack of better options, but in truth Mourinho needs to improve in that air, among many others. When Cesc Fabregas is out of the starting eleven, Chelsea are noticeable devoid of creativity in the middle of the park.
Spanish international is one of the best playmakers in the world, having won titles with former side Barcelona, and a World Cup and two European Championships for his country, but without him Chelsea have very little. He’s been short of form this year too, but Mourinho still doesn’t have anyone in his level that can replace him. Brazilian Oscar has often been drafted in a deep-lying role, but can’t replicate the performance an in-form Fabregas can.
Who do they need to sign as a result?
Dipping in the market could be the Blues best bet of bolstering their failing midfield, but the pickings are slim mid-season. Players are often reticent to make moves during the campaign as a lot can change in the months that follow. This season is particularly important for European stars likely to feature in next summer’s Euro 2016 tournament, so they would be nearly impossible to recruit on a permanent deal.
Chelsea could promise more game time to a fringe player, or take advantage of a desperate star calling out for a big-money move. Sevilla star Grzegorz Krychowiak is one of the latter. The young midfielder has been outstanding for his club, and has openly spoken of the clubs interested in his services. He’s one of many likely to be on the Blues’ shortlist, so should Mourinho look to bolster the midfield in January?