Chelsea Transfer Rumours: Top 5 Targets for Andre Villas-Boas in January
Portuguese tactician Andre Villas-Boas, at the tender age of just 33, took over the vacant managerial position at Stamford Bridge at the beginning of this season.
What's followed so far has been quite uncharacteristic for the Blues as far as transfers have been concerned.
Past managers at Chelsea became notorious for either overspending on big name players, or ignoring youth development.
Essentially, it's rare to see a manager bring in a player who is a relative unknown, yet possesses bags of talent, or is a young prodigy.
Under Andre Villas-Boas, the breaking of that trend looks set to continue. Purchases of players such as Romelu Lukaku and Oriel Romeu suggest a change in emphasis at the club, or at least a blending of old and new methods.
With the January transfer window nearing, it will be interesting to see what sort of players Andre Villas-Boas will consider bringing into his star-studded lineup.
Without further delay, I present to you five potential transfer targets for Chelsea FC.
Mats Hummels | About
One of Europe's most sought after defenders, Bundesliga winner Mats Hummels, at just 22 years of age, would be a welcome addition to Andre Villas-Boas's squad.
Given legendary defender John Terry's age (30), investing in a player as young and talented as the Borussia Dortmund defender makes sense.
The German centre back not only has the physical attributes to cut it in the English Premier League's tough playing style, but he can also play a killer long-ball pass deep from the back.
This would be a plus point for the current Chelsea squad, as Villas-Boas's current style seems to prefer the involvement of all players in the attacking third.
The fact that Hummels is only 22 means the imposing defender would solve both the long and short term defensive dilemmas that Chelsea are facing—the declining form, and inevitable retirement of iconic defender John Terry will leave them short at the back.
Mats Hummels | Transfer Possibility?
Some may argue that Hummels' involvement in the UEFA Champions League this season makes him a player of less value to the Blues, as he would be cup-tied for the remainder of the competition.
However, this dilemma (as some might call it) also means that he's a player that would be well rested and raring to go every week for league encounters.
A slow and gradual introduction into the first team over the coming months and years will help ensure that, when John Terry does retire, Chelsea have a defender who is accustomed to the league.
Given Hummels age and indispensable status with Dortmund, it's fair to say this defender won't come cheap. However, the Blues buying power, backed by Russian owner Roman Abramovich, means the German outfit would have to suggest a titanic transfer value if they are to fend off Chelsea and Andre Villas-Boas.
Stevan Jovetic | About
Montenegrin winger Steven Jovetic currently plies his trade in Italy with Fiorentina, where he's become a fan favourite after some very impressive displays for the Viola.
Jovetic would not only prove to be an asset for Chelsea in their hunt for the English Premier League crown, but he would help ease star winger Florent Malouda's gradual exclusion from the lineup—given his age and form.
Jovetic is extremely versatile, as he can operate on both flanks as well as behind the main striker, meaning he'd be a great utility player for the Blues in times of an injury crisis.
Stevan Jovetic | Transfer Possibility
Should Stevan Jovetic sign for Chelsea, it may take a relatively large offer to persuade Fiorentina into making a sale.
However, given the financial state of most Italian teams, it's fair to say Jovetic's potential transfer fee would still be dwarfed by those spent on other players by Chelsea in the past.
Also, Fiorentina's awareness of Jovetic's indispensable worth to the team is also a factor to be considered, along with inflated transfer market prices.
However, Chelsea hold the upper hand in most negotiations these days, that advantage being Roman Abramovich.
Given all the above, and Jovetic's ability to play for the Blues in the UEFA Champions League, it's safe to say the acquisition of the Montenegrin could turn into a masterstroke.
Yoann Gourcuff | About
One of several midfielders touted as "the next Zidane," it's fair to say Yoann Gourcuff's ability and talent is quite evident when playing his preferred attacking-midfield position.
The French international impressed during his loan spell at Bordeaux from AC Milan.There he helped his team win virtually every major French honor, while picking up the French Player of the Year award himself. He now plies his trade at Lyon.
Given Gourcuff's playing style and description—an all-round combative, yet traditional center midfielder, similar to the aging Frank Lampard—the Frenchman's acquisition would be a breath of fresh air.
Frank Lampard may look some way off retirement. However, the prospect of some tutelage for the highly-rated OL man would help ensure that when Lampard does eventually hang up his boots, they will already have a player well groomed to fill the position.
Yoann Gourcuff | Transfer Possibility
Despite failing to live up to the initial hype that surrounded his €22 million move from Bordeaux to Lyon many still feel that, under the right sort of guidance and tutelage, Gourcuff may yet return to his sparking best.
Given Gourcuff's decline in form, now seems the best time to buy the highly-rated Frenchman. A tenure at Lyon accompanied with an unfortunate increase in niggling injuries, means his value simply isn't what it was just a year ago.
However, given his huge reputation, plus the shortage on potential suitors, it seems Chelsea may have to dish out a substantial sum in order to obtain his services. That's something that's never really been a problem for them in the past, however.
Ibrahim Afellay | About
Dutch star Ibrahim Afellay, who was undoubtedly one of the transfer bargains of the decade—€3 million—now plies his trade in Catalonia for Spanish champions, Barcelona.
At 25 years of age, the Dutchman's creative ability was quite clear when he rounded Marcelo to provide a stunning assist for Messi against Real Madrid in the Champions League last season.
The former PSV captain is also quite tricky when it comes to dribbling around defenders. He enjoys bringing the ball up the pitch to wreak havoc in the final third.
Chelsea would do well to consider him for the mere fact that he would undoubtedly be a bargain buy, especially considering that Barcelona bought him for a knockdown price. He also rarely gets on the team sheet due to the vast competition for places in the squad.
He's another player that could potentially fill the void left by Frank Lampard in the future. He may also prove to be the ideal utility player or impact sub to Chelsea's front-line in the future.
Ibrahim Afellay | Transfer Possibility
Considering Afellay seems to have been frozen out the the Barcelona side due to the arrivals of Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas, his value probably hasn't significantly skyrocketed since his arrival.
Also, considering Barcelona don't seem to mind incurring a loss (Ibrahimovic anyone?), and his future prospects of participation in the team have diminished, it wouldn't be extremely unlikely for Chelsea to land the Dutch ace.
A bid between £5 to £10 million should be enough to force Barcelona's hand in selling a under-utilized player.
Riccardo Montolivo | About
Riccardo Montolivo was easily Italy's brightest player in an otherwise frustrating World Cup outing for the then former-world champions.
Likened to seasoned AC Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo, Montolivo bears all the traits required to make it at the top in England.
Uncharacteristically quick and creative for an Italian, the 26-year-old would undoubtedly be a welcomed addition to a Chelsea squad in transition.
Given that Andre Villas-Boas seems all but resigned to conceding defeat in the pursuit of Luka Modric from Tottenham, Montolivo would serve as the perfect alternative to the skillful Croatian.
His pace and creativity would ensure that adaptation to the English Premier League would be seamless process.
Riccardo Montolivo | Transfer Possibility
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Riccardo Montolivo is the fact that he has continually refused to sign an extension on his contract, which only had a year left to run down.
Fiorentina will be reluctant to let a player as talented and valuable as Montolivo leave for free this time next year.
Chelsea would do well to consider Montolivo—a cheaper, yet arguably equally skillful, alternative to Tottenham's Luka Modric.