Chelsea Transfers: 5 Low-Price Options in the January Window
Chelsea’s signing of Demba Ba from Newcastle United for £7 million earlier this month proves there are still many talented and affordable players out there in this waning winter transfer window who could provide some real value to the Blues.
With Ba’s acquisition and the somewhat surprising re-signing of star left-back Ashley Cole over the weekend, a deal to land one of more of these five players who wouldn’t break the bank would put a nice little bow on Chelsea’s January wheelings and dealings.
Besides Chelsea, a number of other clubs in the English Premier League are interested in 17-year-old Paris Saint-Germain striker Hervin Ongenda.
Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal have all reportedly expressed interest in the French teen, who made his first-team debut in a Coupe de France match against Arras on Jan. 6 in a match that PSG won, 4-3.
Ongenda has scored a number of goals for the club’s Under-19 team so far this season.
Even after acquiring Ba, the Blues could really use some depth at the striker position. Nabbing the speedy Ongenda at a fair price while he’s still coming up the ranks may be a good idea for owner Roman Abramovich and Chelsea brass.
If Ongenda isn’t available for striker depth, getting Croatia Under-17 phenom Marko Dabro would serve the same purpose.
Besides Chelsea, at least two other Premier League clubs—Manchester United and Liverpool—have been linked with Dabro, but Serie A champions Juventus have been making the most noise lately.
The Old Lady reportedly failed with its £600,000 offer for the forward according to Gianlucadimarzio.com with club side Cibalia wanting £2 million for Dabro.
With teen strikers Lucas Piazón (19) and Romelu Lukaku (19) already in the fold, adding a talent like Dabro or Ongenda would only increase the youth talent pool at the position for years to come.
Another area of the Chelsea depth chart that could use a new player or two is the defensive midfield, and 20-year-old Gilbert Imbula, valued at £8 million, looks pretty promising.
Imbula has played for French Ligue 2 side Guingamp in recent seasons and holds the record as the youngest competitor to ever play in the division at 17 years, one month and four days.
The Daily Mail reports that Arsenal leads Chelsea and Ligue 1’s Lyon in the race for the Frenchman, who would be a great addition at Stamford Bridge should the depressing rumors of Frank Lampard’s departure end up being true.
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Another affordable option in the defensive midfield is 26-year-old Cameroonian Stéphane Mbia, who currently plays for Queens Park Rangers.
Should QPR sign Yann M’Vila from Rennes, Mbia could become available and effectively fill a current void on the Blues roster with Michael Essien out on loan to Real Madrid and Oriol Romeu still sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Mbia’s temperament may be worth consideration though.
In his fourth league appearance for QPR last October at Emirates Stadium, he was dismissed for violent conduct and received the standard three-match ban from the FA for kicking Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen in retaliation to a strong challenge.
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According to Le Sport 10, both the Blues and Gunners are willing to offer up to £8 million for the tough-tackling 24-year-old. In fact, some reports say the Ligue 1 club would pay in the £12 million range for Capoue, who can play both on the back line and the holding midfield.
Everton knows star Marouane Fellaini may be leaving soon, but they could fill the void left by his departure with the talented Capoue. Last week The Independent reported that the Toffees could be getting the Frenchman as a potential replacement for Fellaini.
Nabbing either Imbula, Mbia or Capoue would probably be wise for Chelsea and would take a little pressure off of John Obi Mikel, who has had to carry much of the weight in the defensive midfield so far this season.
If Chelsea fails to land any of these three defensive midfielders but then somehow signs Fellaini in the future, then this winter transfer market may end up being more profitable for the European champions than they ever imagined.
Although his price-tag is pretty expensive, Malaga's Isco may be headed to Stamford Bridge.
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As the clock quickly ticks down on the winter transfer window, Chelsea has done two big things so far: Sold Daniel Sturridge to Liverpool (£12 million) and bought Ba from Newcastle United (£7 million).
That’s not a bad start and both strikers have looked great so far with their new clubs.
Candidates left out because their potential deals would likely be deemed medium- to high-priced options were Real Madrid’s Luka Modrić and Malaga’s £19 million-rated Isco, who has been rumored to be headed to Chelsea.
If seven months from now Chelsea should have at least one of these defensive midfielders (Imbula, Mbia and Capoue) or Fellaini, 20-year-old attacking midfielder Isco and striker Ba all on its roster then the Blues will have really gone a long way to filling some current and future needs.
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