Chelsea Are the Only Club Capable of a Blockbuster January Transfer Window

Stan Collymore@@StanCollymoreFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2014


All this 'blockbuster January transfer window' talk is a big red herring. We're hearing so much hype and speculation, but the vast majority of big-name players are settled and have a World Cup in Brazil to play for this summer.

Why would players like Juan Mata or Wayne Rooney want to up sticks for the second half of the season? They'd be moving to a different club, a new culture and taking a massive gamble on their form, with the biggest tournament of their careers on the horizon.

You can stop with Mata and Rooney rumours now. Mata is still crucial to Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, while Rooney is content at Manchester United and won't be going anywhere until at least the summer.

That said, I think Chelsea are perhaps the only major club who might make a statement signing this January. They need a striker; the question is whether Mourinho and the board are big and bold enough to throw a large amount of money at a world-class talent.

ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 06: Hulk of FC Zenit St. Petersburg (C) vies for the ball with Milan Vjestica of FC Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast (L) and Andrei Bochkov of FC Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast during the Russian Football League Championship match between
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If they did go big for somebody—a striker at the level of Gonzalo Higuain, Hulk or Radamel Falcao for example—it would send quite the message to Manchester City. Chelsea would be effectively saying, "we're here and we're coming after you."

The title race will come down to those two clubs. I've said it from the start and there's no reason to change now. They have the two strongest squads in the Premier League.

But if you look at their respective striker options, City are far stronger. Alvaro Negredo is on fire, Edin Dzeko is scoring and they still have Sergio Aguero to come back from injury.

Fernando Torres will get his 20 goals for Chelsea this season, just as he did last, but Mourinho could still need somebody else to bring them the title. Some will say bring Romelu Lukaku back from Everton, but that deal likely stipulates he's committed for the season.

Outside of Chelsea potentially making a big splash, I can't see any of the other Premier League top-four contenders throwing their money around.

For me, that rules Arsenal out of the title race. Theo Walcott is injured, and the combination of Nicklas Bendtner, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski is simply not good enough to produce the firepower you need to win the Premier League.

Manchester United, on the other hand, have the quality they need up front to get back inside the top four. If Robin van Persie and Rooney can stay fit, I think David Moyes will have enough there to qualify for the Champions League.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 01: Wayne Rooney (R) and Robin van Persie of Manchester United talk during a training session ahead of their Champions League Group A match against Shakhtar Donetsk at their Carrington Training Complex on October 01, 2013 in
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The types of deals we'll see in January will be B+ and A- grade player, or loan deals. They'll be value-for-money deals, at the level below blockbuster.

Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata to Arsenal or Liverpool, as debated by ESPNFC's panel here, is one that might happen. Here's a player who could get valuable experience in the Premier League, so there's potentially a big benefit for both sides.

Christian Benteke making a move might be the right thing for Aston Villa. He's not playing well and his place in the Belgium team for the World Cup could be under threat. If he goes now, potentially to a London club like Spurs, Villa could get good value for him. 

If they wait, Benteke might find himself sitting on the bench during the World Cup and his value diminished come the summer.