It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what business Chelsea should conduct in January.
That’s if they need to dip into the transfer market at all.
While some will argue that Jose Mourinho should spend January getting the best out of his current crop, others will be hopeful that the Portuguese boss bolsters the squad in specific areas.
The Blues have the personnel at their disposal to make a charge for silverware this season, but so far, they haven’t quite managed to blend their individual talent into a consistent, solid and creative unit.
Much of the focus this campaign has been on the attacking trio of Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba, and whether they’re playing the type of football necessary to lead Chelsea to the league title.
But, arguably, it is at the back where Chelsea’s frailties have been exposed the most.
Here’s a look at three players Mourinho should focus on in January.
The first name on Mourinho’s Christmas list should be that of Kurt Zouma.
According to Dominic Fifield in The Guardian, Chelsea are weighing up the possibility of a formal bid for the St Etienne player, who is currently serving a 10-game ban for a tackle on Thomas Guerbert that broke the Frenchman’s leg.
Although still only 19, Zouma has played more than 50 Ligue 1 games for St Etienne and has been compared to former French great Marcel Desailly.
Les Bleus manager Didier Deschamps has already earmarked Zouma as a future captain of the national team, per Fifield.
Zouma may not walk straight into the Chelsea side, but he possesses the ability to deputise when needed while learning from experienced heads around him.
If Mourinho is serious about the teenager, then he will need to move for him in January.
While many will point to the need for a defensive midfielder to sit in front of the Chelsea back four, a replacement for Frank Lampard is equally important.
Why? If Mourinho does get his hands on an additional centre-back, like Zouma, then it would be interesting to see David Luiz pushed into midfield. The Brazilian may be prone to lapses in concentration, but that’s less of a detrimental trait when you’re deployed with cover behind you.
What he does possess is an abundance of talent and an excellent ability to read the game.
If Luiz does move into a defensive midfield role, then it would pave the way for a player like Ilkay Gundogan.
The Borussia Dortmund midfielder has amassed plenty of experience in his 23 years and is one of Europe’s most talented youngsters. He’s a ball-playing box-to-box midfielder who is as comfortable dribbling with the ball as he is passing it off to teammates.
With Frank Lampard turning 36 next year, Gundogan would be an ideal replacement.
Chelsea have looked ropey at the back this season, and part of that is due to players playing out of position.
Branislav Ivanovic is a favourite around Stamford Bridge, but he is much better at centre-back than full-back. Despite the odd scorcher from distance, the Serb’s talents lie behind the ball rather than with it at his feet.
Cesar Azpilicueta is naturally a right-back, playing on the left, which in turn affects his output also.
Chelsea’s best players are their attacking midfielders, but they lack width, something that could be provided by natural full-backs.
Ashley Cole is a shadow of his former self, and 32 is slightly old for a player who is expected to motor up and down the flank all day.
With that in mind, Mourinho should take a look at Sevilla youngster Alberto Moreno.
Nixon reported last month that Chelsea were set to make a £20 million move for the player, who made his debut for the Spanish national side in October.
It may seem like a hefty sum, but at just 21 years old, Moreno has many years ahead of him and a lot of energy left in his legs.