Chelsea enter the new year in third place behind the two powerhouses from Manchester. Even though that's a favorable spot in the table, it's not what the Blues were hoping for after a strong start landed them in first place for awhile.
In order to keep pace with United and City, the Blues will likely need to make a couple moves during the January transfer window to bolster their roster. There are already rumors flying around to suggest they are hoping to do exactly that.
Let's take a look at some of the latest reports about what's going on at Stamford Bridge. It should be an intriguing month to say the least.
Can a Ba deal still get rekindled?
Ba has found the net 13 times in Premier League play this season, putting him behind only Manchester United star Robin van Persie (14). His ability to create instant offense makes him one of the most coveted players that could be on the move in January.
After signs of progress toward an agreement with the Blues, talks have broken off after personal terms couldn't be reached, according to Simon Cass and Rik Sharma of the Daily Mail. They report Arsenal and Liverpool might swoop in following the setback.
Chelsea fans shouldn't lose all hope of landing Ba. It's not a surprise to see things hitting a standstill early in the process. Nevertheless, the outlook isn't as promising as it was just 24 hours ago. It all comes down to how desperate the Blues become.
Another option the Blues have been linked to up front is Walcott. The Arsenal star hasn't been able to reach a new contract agreement with the club, which has led to plenty of questions about his future with the Gunners.
Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail reports Arsenal want some type of resolution within two weeks. While they are optimistic about getting a deal done, it would suggest they want to leave themselves some wiggle room in case things don't work out.
The Blues should be ready to pounce if Walcott becomes available. He would thrive playing alongside playmakers like Juan Mata and Eden Hazard. The two weeks of waiting will also allow the club to find out if the Ba talks are truly over.
Lampard played the role of hero over the weekend, scoring both goals in Chelsea's key 2-1 triumph over Everton. Blues fans have watched him work his magic many times during his more than a decade with the club, but those days may be dwindling.
The veteran's contract runs out at season's end, putting his future at Stamford Bridge in jeopardy. He's the latest person to admit as much. He doesn't know what will happen to him as the January window gets set to open, according to ESPN:
Nope, I just hope for me personally playing in a winning team. I will keep trying to give my best as I've always done when here and will continue to do so. I know there's a lot of speculation and talk, but for me the enjoyable bit is the 90 minutes.
Whether Lampard gets moved in January or walks away at season's end, it doesn't appear he will be with Chelsea heading into next season. It will be interesting to see if a market develops for him as the calendar flips to 2013. The England international has proven he can still produce.