Chelsea Transfer Rumours: Analysing the Blues' Most Likely January Signings

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistDecember 26, 2013

NAPLES, ITALY - AUGUST 09:  Lazar Markovic of Benfca in action during the pre-season friendly match between SSC Napoli and SL Benfica at Stadio San Paolo on August 9, 2013 in Naples, Italy.  (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Chelsea are more fortunate than most Premier League sides in that their mixture of club riches and manager motivation means that January splurging is far from impossible on paper.

However, as is the case most years, it's a seller's market in the winter period and a matter of whether or not other teams are willing to part with their stars instead of being a question of whether the Blues can necessarily afford their talents.

Recent weeks and months have seen Jose Mourinho's side linked with a long list of plausible recruits, but there are some that stand out as more likely for a variety of reasons.

 

Fredy Guarin

MILAN, ITALY - DECEMBER 04:  Fredy Guarin (R) of FC Internazionale Milano in action against Giusto Priola of Trapani Calcio during the Tim Cup match between FC Internazionale Milano and Trapani Calcio at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on December 4, 2013 in Milan
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

As things stand, Fredy Guarin's protracted move to West London is the deal with the most concrete evidence surrounding it at the moment. The player recently admitted that his agent has already held talks with Mourinho.

The scenario has been dealt a blow in the shape of Guarin admitting that he's perfectly happy in his Inter surroundings, per the Mirror's Alex Richards, but a move is far from off the table. 

CNN's Tancredi Palmeri has hinted that a player-plus-cash deal could yet come to the fore:

Richards quotes the Colombian as saying:

I haven't spoken to Mourinho. My agent has done that. I hope that Inter are thinking about how much I really want to stay here.

There is something going on, I can definitely not deny that. But now I focus only on Inter and to do well here, we'll see in the future.

MILAN, ITALY - DECEMBER 04:  Fredy Guarin (L) of FC Internazionale Milano competes with Antonino Dai of Trapani Calcio during the Tim Cup match between FC Internazionale Milano and Trapani Calcio at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on December 4, 2013 in Milan, Ita
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It's refreshing to hear the target speak so candidly on his transfer prospects, and with Frank Lampard's ageing figure edging gradually closer to retirement, Guarin's arrival is easy to envision in terms of the Blues' needs.

 

Lazar Markovic

A transfer that seemed as though it could have materialised over the summer may yet come to fruition six months later, with Chelsea once again in contention to add Serbian Lazar Markovic to their ranks. 

Back in June, the Express' James Dickenson suggested that the Premier League giants had in fact signed Markovic and loaned his talents to Benfica for two years, although the Portuguese side contested the claim, retorting that the striker was in fact theirs outright.

LISBON, PORTUGAL - SEPTEMBER 17:  Silvio Proto of RSC Anderlecht saves the ball from Lazar Markovic of SL Benfica during the UEFA Champions League group stage match between SL Benfica and RSC Anderlecht held on September 17, 2013 at the Estadio do Sport L
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Heading into January, the 19-year-old has been reported by the Mirror's John Cross as a supposed £12 million arrival for the west Londoners, a very affordable fee for the club.

Given Benfica's financial woes and the fact that Chelsea are in need of attacking options, Markovic's case being brought back up at Stamford Bridge doesn't come as a big surprise, either.

 

Nemanja Matic

And the other talent that Benfica could be forced into selling as a result of their money issues is Nemanja Matic, a former Chelsea player who could yet get a second bite of the Stamford Bridge cherry.

Cross has reported that the cash crisis at the Estadio da Luz could lead Benfica into selling some of their bigger stars, and Matic's past with Chelsea makes him a very realistic target.

At the moment, it seems as though Guarin or Matic will be the midfield asset arriving in Mourinho's squad this winter with a central anchor apparently ranking highly in Mourinho's priorities.