Rafa Benitez: Will he get the funds needed this season?
The first thing to say about the transfer window at this time of year is that most managers and club executives feel it is not when their best bits of business are done.
Roman Abramovich, as all the world knows, is no ordinary owner. The Russian oligarch has seen his Chelsea endure a turbulent first half of the season, starting strongly before hitting a slump which ended the reign of Roberto Di Matteo and ushered in Rafa Benitez as interim manager in his place.
Therefore the question arises: will Abramovich be prepared to give Benitez the kind of money he would wish to spend while the Spainiard's long-term future in west London is uncertain?
The answer to that, frankly, is that he will get money—for Chelsea, fourth in the table, still have time to fight their way back into contention in the league—but perhaps not all he would wish for.
The good news for Blues fans who have seen Daniel Sturridge depart to Liverpool is that a player of considerable ability has come straight in just as the former Man City trainee was departing.
The Senegal international also has a great work ethic, borne of many early-career rejections, and a physicality which nods to the power of the much loved former Chelsea hero, Didier Drogba.
In November, FIFA scuppered a return by Drogba on loan from the Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua. However, at the age of 27 Ba is a step into the future.
For some the arrival of Ba suggests the move, long mooted by a host of English dailies including the London Evening Standard, to bring in Radamel Falcao has been shelved until the summer.
Perhaps, but Chelsea will also know that the prodigious Atletico Madrid forward seems to have no end of potential suitors in England and elsewhere.
In recent days the president of Atletico, Enrique Cerezo, told the Spanish media of his fury at the constant speculation over the future of his star striker.
The trio of artists who play just behind a lone striker have to be able to work the fine angles in tight spaces, meaning one thing—quality is demanded. In Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard they have three of the best.
However, looking around the club there are few others who would fit into this position and perform to the required standard.
Victor Moses has the potential to grow into such a role if he is given a run of games, but the Blues have long been interested in the services of the young Crystal palace winger, Wilfried Zaha. The Daily Mail reported that Spurs currently lead the race for the 20-year-old, but that Manchester United and Chelsea aren't ready to concede defeat.
The Daily Mail also report that a deal for the Brazilian midfielder, Taison, is yet to be finalised. The paper says his current club, Metalist Kharkiv, have not set a deadline of Wednesday for the transfer. The Ukrainian outfit are said to be unhappy that the Blues seem to be dragging their heels over the £11 million fee for the player.
The Daily Mirror has suggested that Real Madrid's unsettled playmaker—Luka Modric—is another target. Modric is said to have struggled to adapt to life in Spain after his £33 million transfer from Tottenham last season.
The same paper also speculates that—with left-back Ashley Cole failing to agree a new contract—Benoit Assou-Ekotto of Spurs may be a natural replacement. He certainly has the pace and touch of the Englishman, and would be within budget for Benitez.