10 Players Chelsea Should Bring in to Ensure Premier League Dominance
As domestic seasons across Europe enter their final weeks, thoughts are turning to the summer transfer window. Chelsea could yet secure a domestic and European double but despite the improvement in their league position, there is work to be done when the market opens.
From integrating youth players into the first team to a complete overhaul of the strikeforce, let’s take a look at the 10 players Chelsea should be bringing in to ensure they dominate next season.
All statistics from the Squawka comparison matrix, with thanks.
One of the players seemingly constantly on Chelsea's radar, Costa looks all but certain to be a Blue next season. According to The Metro, a deal worth £50 million has already been agreed, and it is little wonder why.
He has scored 27 goals so far this season, 11 more than Chelsea’s current trio combined. His shooting accuracy is ever so slightly lower that Samuel Eto’o’s at 57 percent, but he has 3.28 attempts per game to the Cameroonian’s 2.75.
The £50 million price tag may set alarm bells ringing amongst supporters but all the signs point to Costa being the striker that Chelsea desperately need.
Mario Mandzukic could force through a transfer when Robert Lewandowski arrives at Bayern Munich in the summer, according to Liam Prenderville of The Mirror. The Croatian striker will cost significantly less than Costa, and he could represent better value for money.
Of the five forwards who have been strongly linked with Chelsea, Mandzukic has the best shot accuracy at 68 percent. He has also scored one more goal than the trio of Eto’o, Torres and Ba, and he has created 28 chances to Eto’o’s 22.
Statistically he is better than the best option available to Mourinho at the moment, and he would certainly make an impact in a supporting role.
Admit it: you miss Mario Balotelli in the Premier League. The Italian certainly courts controversy, but there could be a place for him at Chelsea. AC Milan have performed well below expectations this season and could be forced to sell players to comply with Financial Fair Play.
Despite Milan’s struggles, Balotelli has averaged a goal every other game for the club, and he tops the comparison matrix with a whopping 5.32 attempts per game. The sheer number of shots has brought his accuracy down to 51 percent, but he is still ahead of Torres and Ba in this stat as well as chances created.
Balotelli has worked with Mourinho before, and according to Sky Sports, the two have a lot of respect for each other. Balotelli is still young, and with The Special One’s new focus on building a dynasty, he could become the star of Stamford Bridge for years to come.
Hulk has been linked with a move to Chelsea since his time at Porto and came close to joining the club last summer, according to David Kent of the Daily Mail.
He has featured in the same number of games as Samuel Eto’o this season but has scored double the veteran’s tally. He has also created 40 chances to Eto’o’s 22 and had 85 shots to Eto’o’s 55.
It is tricky to work out how much Hulk would cost Chelsea, as Zenit are unlikely to take a loss on the player. However, it is certainly worth inquiring about his availability, especially when his ability to revert to an attacking midfield role is taken into consideration.
Lukaku was sent on loan to Everton on transfer deadline day last summer and has expressed a desire to quit his parent club, per BBC Sport. However, he is under contract for another two years, and he should be given the chance to prove himself at Stamford Bridge next season.
The big Belgian has an average of 3.19 shots per game, with an accuracy of 63 percent. He has also created 28 chances for his teammates, bettering the stats of the three strikers who stayed at Chelsea.
With conforming to Financial Fair Play regulations a necessary obsession, having a striker like Lukaku available for free is a luxury that the Blues cannot afford to ignore.
Oriol Romeu’s debut season at Stamford Bridge was cut short by injury, and he was sent on loan to Valencia last summer. He has continued his rehabilitation and made his mark on the La Liga side, performing at a similar level to his Chelsea counterparts.
When compared with David Luiz, Nemanja Matic and John Obi Mikel, Romeu comes in second in pass completion, key passes, tackles won and interceptions. With Mikel likely to depart this summer, according to Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail, and Luiz’s future in the balance, bringing Romeu back to Stamford Bridge this summer makes a lot of sense.
Thibaut Courtois is the biggest conundrum facing Chelsea this summer. The 21-year-old Belgian has spent the past three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid, and he is entering the final two years of his contract with the Blues.
Statistically, he has out-performed Petr Cech in every key aspect this season, keeping 19 clean sheets to Cech’s 16 and conceding 20 goals to the Chelsea stopper’s 24. His distribution accuracy is 62 percent versus Cech’s 60 percent, while he makes an average of 2.79 saves per goal conceded to Cech’s 2.26.
The difference between them is very slight but when you factor in the 10-year age gap and the fact that Cech’s head injury is likely to lead him to retire earlier than most ‘keepers, Chelsea would be foolish to leave Courtois out in the cold again.
The forgotten man from Chelsea’s January expenditure, 19-year-old centre-half Kurt Zouma returned to Saint-Etienne on loan for the remainder of the season. He has served a 10-match ban for a tackle which broke an opponent’s leg, but despite his enforced absence from the side and his youth, he is not far behind John Terry and Gary Cahill in his defensive statistics.
He certainly still has a lot of learning to do and conventional wisdom would see him sent on loan for the 2014-15 season. However, bringing Zouma in to the fringes of the first-team squad would allow Terry to mentor him in the same way that Marcel Desailly helped the captain’s development when he first started out.
Chelsea actually got two Hazards for the price of one-and-a-half when Eden joined the club in 2012. His younger brother Thorgan is on loan at Zulte Waregem in Belgium and, according to ESPN, he is looking forward to returning to London.
Detailed statistics are unavailable for the Belgian league but comparing the two brothers’ respective European campaigns show us that Thorgan is not far off his big brother. Both have scored twice in Europe, and Eden only has a one percent advantage in passing accuracy with 85 percent to his brother’s 84. The younger Hazard has won six tackles to Eden’s five, and he has created 19 chances to Eden’s 10.
Bringing him back to compete with his brother for the first half of the season at least could be a revelation to Mourinho’s Chelsea dynasty.
With Manchester United looking likely to beat Chelsea to the signature of 18-year-old left-back Luke Shaw, per Mark Ogden of the Daily Telegraph, the Blues have turned their attentions elsewhere. According to Simon Johnson of the Evening Standard, Sevilla’s Alberto Moreno could be tempted to move to Stamford Bridge in the summer. The 21-year-old has made five more key passes than the impressive Cesar Azpilicueta this season, and he has made a stunning 66 interceptions.
With Ashley Cole set to leave in the summer and the club willing to listen to offers for Ryan Bertrand, signing a young left-back like Moreno should be a priority for Mourinho and Chelsea.