It is going to be a busy few weeks for Chelsea Football Club.
Now that the Blues’ transfer ban has been reversed, they can go back to being the team that everyone loves to hate and the world can go back to normal again.
Restricted from signing players, Chelsea have become extremely likeable under the tutelage of Frank Lampard and it is very confusing emotionally for the average football fan who was reared with a dislike of the London club.
Poor form in recent weeks, including Saturday’s loss to a manager-less Everton, means that Chelsea will surely enter the transfer market when it opens in just over three weeks’ time.
There is work to be done.
Toby Alderweireld (Spurs)
Maybe Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori will build a future defensive partnership worthy of gracing Chelsea Football Club. We don’t know. Frankly we don’t want to know.
What is abundantly clear is that they are not currently good enough to be Chelsea’s starting centre halves. With Tomori now injured, Chelsea’s resources at the back are stretched even further.
Alan Hansen’s famous assertion that ‘you can’t win anything with kids’ was at last partially true; you can win trophies with young players you just need experienced players in the right positions to guide their development.
With Cesar Azpilicueta being deployed as a right back, Chelsea currently don’t have the necessary experience in the middle of their defence.
Alderweireld would fill that void and then some.
He has been one of the league’s best defenders for the best part of the past decade.
At 30 years of age, the Belgian still has a couple of years left at the top and he would be the perfect player to take the pressure off the young shoulders of Zouma and Tomori and allow them to develop into top-class players.
Alderweireld’s contract is still set to expire next summer, but Jose Mourinho reportedly wants to make him his defensive cornerstone at the club.
Chelsea would need to act fast if they are to lure him away from Tottenham and should move for him in January.
Jose Gaya (Valencia)
The Achilles’ Heel of Chelsea’s youthful exuberance has undoubtedly been their defence. The Blues have managed to keep just three league clean sheets from 16 games this season and it simply isn’t good enough.
Current left backs Emerson and Marcos Alonso are part of that problem. Emerson was recently at fault for Riyad Mahrez’s winner for Manchester City at the Etihad in November and increasingly looks like he is part of the school of full back that is better going forward than doing his actual job and defending.
Chelsea will be familiar with Jose Gaya, having come up against him twice this season when they took on Valencia in the Champions League.
The Spaniard looks the part at left back and will almost certainly be the natural successor to Jordi Alba in the Spanish national team. Barcelona will inevitably attempt to ensure that he is also the successor to Alba at club level.
That is why Chelsea should move fast and secure Gaya’s services in the winter.
Jarrod Bowen (Hull City)
How Bowen (22) remains at Hull City is one of life’s great mysteries. The 22-year-old winger has flourished under several Hull managers and will almost certainly not be at the KCOM at the start of the 2020/21 season.
Bowen has scored 14 goals in just 20 goals this season, a staggering statistic considering he has played almost exclusively on the flanks.
Having scored a further 22 league goals last season, interest in Bowen has been growing among Premier League clubs. His 14 goals and four assists this season have propelled him to second in the Championship top scorers list, a remarkable achievement for a winger.
Chelsea – with a newly-established culture of young and exciting attacking English players – would be remiss to ignore the exploits of the talented English forward. He would offer healthy competition to the likes of Callum Hudson Odoi and Christian Pulisic and would allow Chelsea to have more options up front when Tammy Abraham is unavailable.
With Bowen’s contract set to expire in June, a whole host of clubs are set to be vying for his signature in the summer.
Chelsea would be best advised to act now to get him.