The Blues have relied on Gary Cahill and John Terry as their first-choice pairing so far, with David Luiz making intermittent appearances due to injury. The Brazilian doesn't appear to have convinced Jose Mourinho he's the reliable soldier required, and as a result the Portuguese tactician is said to be perusing the market.
Ranocchia is a towering, 6'5" giant who has gained 12 caps for the Italian national team, but don't let that trick you—he's not the answer to Mourinho's potential problems.
The former Genoa man cost Inter a total of €19 million just three years ago, but he has failed to take the necessary steps toward becoming a world-class player.
He's a mammoth in the air and as much of a goal threat as Terry is, but he's plagued by bad errors and lapses in concentration—the Azzurri's reincarnation of Titus Bramble, if you will.
If you're looking for a backup, he has to be reliable. Could you trust Ranocchia to come in and relieve the pressure on the starting defensive pairing? He's as likely to lose you the game as he is to win it.
He's recently been displaced in the Nerazzurri starting XI, as Walter Mazzarri's policy of "Hugo Campagnaro plus two" has seen Juan Jesus and Rolando come in and perform well.
With Terry and Cahill reliable, Luiz to come in—should he stay—and Tomas Kalas in and around the squad following his recovery from a broken leg, is centre-back an area to even target?
Mourinho may be best served dedicating his time to finding a striker who can do the business in the short term, or perhaps even solving the mini-midfield crisis that threatens to loom large.
Could Luiz be moving into midfield permanently? A partnership between he and Ramires would be a very interesting experiment, but does that provide the steely solidity required?
Any move for the Brazilian—be it positional or between clubs—could pave the way for another centre-back to come in, but Branislav Ivanovic can deputise where necessary and Kalas needs to grab some minutes.
It's a precarious winter for Chelsea, and they have to nail it: a balance must be struck up front considering Romelu Lukaku will return in the summer, while Marco van Ginkel will eventually recover and re-enter the midfield fold too.
Should the Blues hit the market and stock up, risking the happiness of two future stars, or play it safe and make do? Whatever the answer, it probably doesn't involve Andrea Ranocchia, who would not be a smart January move.