If anyone can spend big in the transfer window, it's Chelsea. Those were the words of Stan Collymore, reporting for B/R on January 9. With recent reports linking some big names to Jose Mourinho's side, it would appear 2014 is Chelsea's window to claim.
While Mourinho can challenge for the title with the squad he already possesses—including the excellent addition of Nemanja Matic—he will wish to add further key contributors to his team ahead of the second-half push for the Premier League crown.
If the newspapers are to be believed—and why would you have any reason to doubt them?—Mourinho has been making enquiries around the world and is aiming to add at least one more top player. Three such reports are outlined below.
Luke Shaw, Southampton
Chelsea are apparently willing to part with up to £30 million to secure the services of Luke Shaw. According to Metro, that amount was tabled by Southampton in order to repel Mourinho and frighten him into retreat.
This allegedly backfired, as Mourinho was then given the go-ahead to make the deal. The Metro story states that Chelsea will make the move at the end of the season and Shaw will choose the Blues over any other potential suitors.
After Southampton executive chairman Nicola Cortese retired from his position in January, the general consensus was that a selling spree would follow.
However, the Saints themselves refute this information, going as far as to give the rumour space on their official website. In a quote from chairman Katharina Liebherr, the site lays out the club's plans, which include holding on to their stars:
"The Club has no plans to sell any of the squad during the January transfer window,” said Liebherr. “The manager and the team have my full support.”
The key word in that statement is obviously "January," and it won't be enough to halt the rumour mill in the summer.
For now, however, it would appear Chelsea must do without Shaw.
Diego Costa, Atletico Madrid
Again, this appears to be a deal more likely to go through in the summer than in January. The Daily Star's Jack Wilson points to a £32 million release clause in the Brazilian-born striker's contract and states that Mourinho has "earmarked [Costa] as his major summer signing."
What that makes Shaw is then anyone's guess, but transfer windows have no time for such triviality. Atleti have gone the same way as Southampton in their response, too, with sporting director Andrea Berta stating his desire to keep his best players "for one year more." ESPN's Dermot Corrigan was on hand with the full quote:
"Atletico is a club which, due to its nature, must sell every year,” Berta said. “[But] we believe we can have our players at least one year more.”
This would then rule out a move for Costa in the January window, but it certainly seems that the summer will be an exciting one for Chelsea fans.
Kurt Zouma, Saint Etienne
It would seem that there are some players ready to make a move in January, after all. Jamie Sanderson of Metro reported that Kurt Zouma is being courted by "some big clubs."
That quote came from Zouma's agent, Alexandre Bonnefond, who also stated that "there are some talks with teams from Italy, France and especially England."
This would ostensibly pave the way for a move to Chelsea, and Zouma seemed to confirm this as his preferred destination in a report by The Mirror.
That article cites French paper L'Equipe as the source of its quote from Zouma, in which he comes clean about Chelsea's contact with him:
There was advanced contact last month. At the start I thought it was a joke but afterwards I quickly took [Mourinho's] call seriously.
When a great man like Jose Mourinho calls a little player like Kurt Zouma, it’s nice. It doesn’t happen every day and it’s a big sign of respect and confidence.
Zouma's price tag is said to be around £13 million, and the 19-year-old defender would certainly be a good addition to a Chelsea squad already brimming with talent.