Very few Chelsea managers would be forgiven for failing to guide the Blues to silverware in a single campaign, but such is the class of Jose Mourinho that his list of admirers just keeps on growing.
Another trophyless year to add to 2013/14, though, and the critics' voices will start being heard, which is why the Portuguese manager and the transfer window have become best friends this summer.
With several high-profile stars now calling Stamford Bridge home, the foundations have been laid for a successful 2014/15 campaign—but is Mourinho's work done yet? Here, we take a look at two stars who could find themselves in blue in the coming weeks.
Chelsea's stubborn defence last season looked like the one area of the pitch that didn't need any improvement, but it appears that Mourinho is striving for perfection.
As The Times' Gary Jacob (subscription required) reports (h/t Ben Green of 101 Great Goals), the Chelsea boss is keen to bring Real Madrid's Raphael Varane to west London—a player who Mourinho himself brought into the spotlight during his time in the Bernabeu hot seat.
A reunion between the pair has been part of the transfer rumour mill since the window opened, but new developments mean that it's moving closer to becoming a reality.
Jacob revealed that the Blues are considering offloading Petr Cech in a part-exchange deal for Varane, with his Stamford Bridge future very much in doubt.
Thibaut Courtois returning to the fold means that the No. 1 shirt is very much up for grabs next term, and with Premier League and Champions League homegrown quotas to meet, Cech's departure is a real possibility.
Mourinho may as well use Real Madrid's interest in the Czech star to his advantage, as Varane would be an incredible addition to his setup and the ideal, long-term replacement for John Terry.
The necessity of the signing comes into question with Kurt Zouma and Gary Cahill also more than capable of filling the skipper's boots, but Varane just has something extra special about him.
Martin Lipton of the Daily Mirror revealed as much, saying that the Blues aren't planning on chasing any centre-backs unless the Frenchman becomes available:
With Real looking to land Cech, it seems that the cards are in Mourinho's hands, and he said earlier this year that he's a big admirer of Varane—per Yahoo, via Sky Sports.
"I think he is the best young central defender in the world," Mourinho said. "Already I think he's the best. A young player must be somebody who plays in the World Cup for the first time. These are players like Hazard, Neymar and Rafa Varane. Maybe I forget some others."
While Cech's departure would mean the end of an era between the Chelsea posts, if his exit brings Varane to Stamford Bridge, he's once again contributing hugely to the Blues' cause.
Another centre-back rumoured to be on the radar of Mourinho is the highly rated Mehdi Benatia, who has been linked with a Premier League switch all summer.
Several big English sides have been chasing the Roma star, and Chelsea are now reportedly entering the chase.
The 27-year-old was integral behind Roma's second-place finish in Serie A last season, but he revealed at the start of the summer that he's perfectly happy with life in the Italian capital—per Anthony Chapman of the Daily Express:
"Last summer, my agent advised me not to sign for Roma because their contract offer was low compared to other offers and they didn't play in Europe. I still signed and never had any regrets."
Besides, just how much can be believed when it comes to Benatia is questionable—something that ESPN's Julian De Martinis agrees with:
Though Benatia would undoubtedly excel in the famous blue shirt, the chances of Mourinho parting with such a hefty sum of money for a player who isn't essential is nil, and Varane should remain his primary focus.
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