January is just around the corner, and there will doubtless be activity around Chelsea FC and its players.
There is a long list of things I believe will need to be done in January, and with just 31 days to get them completed, AVB and the club must be ready to begin wheeling and dealing as soon as the sun rises on the first of the year.
With that in mind, here are four of the things whose completion AVB should make a priority during the month-long window...
Josh McEachran is a Chelsea fan-favorite. The youngster was brought up in our very own academy, and there's certainly pride for us Blues fans to see one of our own have such a bright future at our club.
But although we are excited about the player he'll become one day and are anxious to see him in our senior squad as a starter someday, the fact of the matter is, he just isn't ready yet.
With Raul Meireles, Ramires, Frank Lampard, John Obi Mikel, Oriol Romeu and soon-to-be Michael Essien all competing for three spots in the midfield, it's unlikely young Josh will overtake them in the pecking order as things stand right now. The solution to this conundrum would be a loan for the second half of the season.
It was reported by Sky Sports today that André Villas-Boas suggested on Friday that McEachran could be sent on loan, as the side "didn't have as many competing in midfield last year, so Josh had more chances to be in the team," meaning that he could be loaned this year to get more experience. Villas-Boas also added that he will definitely be a part of the Blues' future, saying, "I've been choosing others, but that doesn't mean Josh's future wouldn't be at Chelsea. It will be."
According to reports in the English media today, Swansea City FC are intending to make a move for the midfielder once the January window opens after the new year. Whether this specific report is true or not, AVB should definitely make sending young Josh out on loan a chief priority.
Many fans opposed to this idea say we should keep him because he's being used for League and FA Cup matches, but that just isn't good enough. If we had said that about Daniel Sturridge at this time last season and not sent him to Bolton Wanderers on loan, he wouldn't be anywhere near as advanced as he is today.
Additionally, Arsenal's Jack Wilshere was sent on a loan last season, and is now regarded as one of the best young Englishmen in the League. This is certainly a possibility for Josh as well, but only if he gets the playing time he needs to develop into a more complete footballer, which he can only attain from a loan spell to another PL club.
I think Salomon Kalou's relationship with Chelsea fans is a love-hate one. He can have such horrible performances, as we saw against West Brom and Valencia this season, and then have a great one like we saw this week against Genk, where he looked sharp, alert and even scored a goal in the short time he was on.
Nevertheless, it's my belief that he should be sold in this January transfer window. Even if he is in fact the underrated player some of his supporters say he is, his talent just isn't being utilized at Chelsea with Torres, Drogba, Sturridge, Anelka and Malouda all above him in the pecking order.
I have no doubt that Sala would be a great striker for a lower-level club, or even for a Top 6 club who needs a starting CF (with Arsenal and Liverpool allegedly interested). Chelsea just can't offer that starting spot to him with the amount of talent we have, with two or three forwards available for every attacking position.
The club has offered him a new contract, but it remains to be seen whether or not they intend to keep him there, or if it's just a way for them to be able to sell him in January, with his original contract expiring at the end of this season.
Either way, AVB should look to sell him in January
For those of you who have no clue who this kid is, he was signed last January from Sao Paulo. He is not yet able to play for us legally, as he doesn't turn 18 until the middle of this coming January. But once his birthday comes, he'll be able to play for our senior squad.
Now, given that he's not even 18 yet, his talents will have to first be assessed by AVB, as he did with our other youngsters like Patrick van Aanholt and Gael Kakuta during our preseason tour of Asia.
It is then where Villas-Boas will have to decide what to do with the kid dubbed "the next Kaka." I have a strong feeling he'll decide to take the same route he did with van Aanholt, Kakuta and a few others and send the young Brazilian out on loan. If he does, I believe he should make sure he sends him to another Premier League club, rather than Hamburg, Vitesse or any of the other overseas clubs most of our young players seem to land at.
If—although unlikely—he's judged by AVB to be ready for our senor squad right away, that's even better.
His talents are certainly something to be excited about—as you can see in this video—and if AVB makes the right moves, he could be a real star for Chelsea in the next few years.
Another thing AVB should do this January is sign Kevin DeBruyne from KRC Genk.
The Belgian wonder-kid has expressed his desire to join Chelsea and was even the subject of a £10 million bid from the Blues over the summer, which fell through at the last minute.
The club is widely expected to be back for DeBruyne in the January transfer window, and the player himself said he is trying to make an impression on AVB when he plays against the Blues in the two Champions League matches the two clubs face off in.
When asked about DeBruyne before Wednesday's game against Genk, AVB said, "De Bruyne has always been an interesting player. He can play in several positions, wide left or in central midfield and is exceptionally gifted technically." He may just be looking to make him part of the Belgian revolution at CFC, with his compatriots Lukaku and Courtois slated to take the reins of our club's biggest stars one day.
Given these facts, I believe AVB should and will make signing the Belgian in January a priority.
So in the end, these four things, as well as several others, are what I believe AVB should be looking to do in January.
So what do you think? Should anything be added to or subtracted from this list? Let us know in the comments, and thanks for reading!