Chelsea Transfers Rumours: 5 Christmas Wishes for Rafa Benitez
Chelsea look to finally have recovered the form that they had early on in the season. While Rafael Benitez will most likely claim that it is his doing, the Spanish manager has much left to prove with the club.
His next test will be to manage the club at the FIFA Club World Cup and hopefully secure another title for himself in that competition. He previously won it with Inter Milan in 2010.
However, there are plenty of things that Rafa will be wishing he could have for Christmas at Stamford Bridge, and here are a select few of his deepest desires.
Chelsea Fan Love, or at Least Appreciation
Rafael Benitez was welcomed to Stamford Bridge with more than a little bit of animosity. The former Liverpool manager had been the mastermind of multiple upsettings of the club at various stages throughout his first managerial stint in the English Premier League.
Despite their inherent disdain for the "interim" manager, his leadership to a 6-1 valiant but ultimately failed qualification effort in the UEFA Champions League and an inspired 3-1 victory over Sunderland are sure to have started the healing process.
If he can manage to pick up another World Club Cup, with a team he did not assemble, he could perhaps also ease the frustrations of the fans that are desperately crying out of some stability in their managerial position.
Central defense is a major depth concern for the Blues at the moment. Although Branislav Ivanovic has been turned into a utility defender that can play either as a right back or center half, it does not address the situation that the club faces with only John Terry, David Luiz and Gary Cahill as the primary recognizable central defenders.
A move for Udinese defender Mehdi Benatia still looks like a viable move for the club despite his continued link to Napoli according to TalkSport. The 25-year-old has the same physical size and stature as John Terry and could be a potential long term replacement for the veteran captain, just as Gary Cahill already is believed to be.
The biggest hurdle would be to outbid Napoli for his services, but the deep pockets of Roman Abramovich should see that through with ease if he is truly a target of interest.
Rafael Benitez loves a dynamic midfielder that can literally play from the deep lying role to the wide areas and also as a supporting attacking midfielder. Just look at what he did with Steven Gerrard at his disposal.
Everton's Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini has those same traits, only he is gifted with enough height to also be a terror in the air to opposing defenses if he wishes to do that.
The International Business Times continued the long line of press links between the Everton player and the Blues just this week, and a big Belgian would be a great Christmas gift for jolly old Rafa.
What is better than one former Atletico Madrid striker in the ranks for Rafael Benitez?
Two of them.
Fernando Torres has experienced a great return to form over the past two appearances of his Chelsea career.
However, two matches are hardly enough to get extremely excited about according to the Telegraph, who reports that the club are stepping up their pursuit of another attacking player. Torres’ youth and first senior club, Atletico Madrid, is now how to another forward of world class proportions in the form of Radamel Falcao.
Although a swap deal with Torres had been the prior discussion at times, it now appears that the Blues could be looking to pair up the two former Atletico stars if they can manage to splash enough cash in the Spanish club’s face to lure them into selling their prized possession.
Xabi Alonso was the glue that built Anfield under the reign of Rafael Benitez. Currently he is lacking a player in the true anchor and distributor role that Alonso is a master of orchestrating.
Benitez has every kind of offensive weapon he could imagine from great young wingers in Oscar and Eden Hazard, excellent attacking central players in Juan Mata, Frank Lampard and Ramires and a returning-to-form world class forward in Fernando Torres.
However, what he does not have is the puppeteer to run the show for him on the pitch. Although he is believed to be pushing for a return to Liverpool according to John Cross of the Mirror, Xabi Alonso would be a gift that kept on giving for Rafael Benitez.