Chelsea Transfer Rumors: 5 Players Chelsea Need to Stay Away from This Winter
With the winter transfer window only days away from being shut, Chelsea have remained surprisingly quiet given their recent history of spending big during the midseason stanza. Only £12 million spent to bring in Lucas Piazon and Gary Cahill, and the sale of Nicolas Anelka and inevitably Alex may mark the first time in the Abramovich era that Chelsea come out of a transfer period not in the red.
Squashing any ridiculous rumors that the Russian had authorized some disproportionate amount of money for Andre Villas-Boas to spend over the next few transfer cycles, the Blues may come away with only one or two more players that they didn’t have coming into the New Year.
For a team that is in obvious need of rebuilding or at the very least finding an identity, this may worry some fans. But let us not forget that the January transfer window is a time to shore up the side you have and add the extra depth to make a push toward silverware. There is not enough time to allow new players to learn the tactics and their teammates to become immediate stars.
With that said, there are purchases that good for the now, and others that may be best left to the summer or dismissed altogether.
This article looks at the latter.
Here are five players that have been rumored to be on Chelsea’s watch list that should be avoided this winter.
When Villas-Boas first arrived at Stamford Bridge, many fans and pundits thought that Hulk would be following him on the next direct flight from Porto. Hulk is an incredibly gifted winger who is the main reason that Villas-Boas’ 4-3-3 formation worked with as much success as it did in Portugal.
He has all the tools you need out of your wide player—speed, skill, vision and the added bonus of being an absolutely precise finisher. It is essentially everything Chelsea need right now to get them back on the right track.
However, there are a few red flags that should be examined closely before any decision is made.
First off, he is Brazilian.
In any other league in the world, that may be on the pro side of the equation, but when it comes to the English Premier League, Brazilians, especially the high-laying forwards like Hulk, just do not play well. Perhaps it is something in the culture of the game there: Defenders are too aggressive, the tense atmosphere throws them off or maybe just the weather, but there is some reason they never live up to the potential they demonstrated before coming to the island.
This is not to say they are not great players, as many move on to other leagues and have incredibly successful careers. But to think that the same ability he shows for Porto will resonate in England is just to ignore history.
Second, Chelsea are supposedly building for Champions League. Hulk’s numbers drop significantly against Europe’s top sides. In the 2009-10 competition, he had three goals but had his team shutout twice against Chelsea. In the round of 16 he was ineffective when they were blasted away 5-0 against Arsenal. Again showing a certain ineffectiveness against English sides.
Finally, for all the talent Hulk has, he should be ignored by the sheer enormity of the cost it would take to sign him. Porto have selfishly placed an £84 million buy-out clause on the winger, which would make his move the most expensive ever.
Chelsea are in need of a lot more than a single wing player to get them back to the level of being contenders on all fronts. Investing a large sum into a single player will inevitably ruin the rest of the squad with Financial Fair Play rules looming.
Not to mention there is very little chance a player like Hulk, unproven in the biggest stages of the game, is ever going to live up to the hype an investment like that would make, putting him in Torres' company when it comes to confidence.
Krasic was touted this summer around the Chelsea rumor mill as a player that would be a perfect fit into Villas-Boas’ system. He is creative on the ball, a decent passer and understands how to play in the wide position. But now in hindsight, it seems it was more a clamoring for a true winger that got his name going amongst the Stamford Bridge loyal.
That’s right ladies and gents, he was the starting winger on a seventh place team where the top two are generally not competitive against Europe’s best.
What was his reward for such a contribution? New head coach Antonio Conte showed him to his new position, the bench, as the team climbed all the way to the top of the Serie A table.
So why would Villas-Boas want a past his prime winger whose team is better when he is not involved? Your guess is as good as mine, but we must assume it is coming from Krasic’s camp that he was wanted in the first place.
So all in all, it is pretty easy to see why this would be a poor move. At 27 years old, there is not much prospect for the Serb to improve his game, and he may have already peaked. Fellow countryman and Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has supposedly suggested it would be a smart move, but it may be best if the out of form defender is ignored.
Villas-Boas has suggested he would like a loan on the winger until the end of the season, but Juventus is only looking to unload the useless product.
I could understand a loan to add some depth to the squad, especially as he has no cup ties to any of the competitions Chelsea are in, but a flat-out transfer would more than likely prove to be a bust.
Like a shot out of nowhere, the name Willian has popped up all over the Chelsea message boards. This unimposing Brazilian has become the latest talking point of an ongoing debate about how Chelsea should best become the next Barcelona.
Another attacking midfielder/winger, he fits the bill of a prototypical Villas-Boas man—let’s say he is Hulk on a smaller scale.
In five seasons with Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk, he has helped them to three titles and a UEFA Cup. Not the goal scorer Chelsea need, but he could be a good playmaker that provides the balls necessary to the forwards.
All things considered, he is probably not the worst purchase the team could make. However, right now would not be the time.
I have already stated my reasons that he has the Brazilian thing working against him so no need to be repetitive. As a winger who is more of a goal provider than scorer, he actually stands a better chance of success.
But he is a cup-tied player who will not be able to help Chelsea at all in the Champions League, their only real hope of salvaging a success out of Villas-Boas’ first season in charge. If he cannot play in Europe, there is no reason to hastily force a deal at the deadline when a better one may be had by careful planning and negotiation in the summer.
There is also the fact that as a playmaker he must build chemistry with his teammates, and that will take time. He is not going to be able to walk on to the team and be effective without that time together to develop relationships. This means he may not realize his potential until well into March or even April. Better to give him the preseason to work himself into the squad.
Villas-Boas was originally dismissive about Willian suggesting his cup ties don't make him a good suit for the team right now. However, Sky Sports reported that Chelsea indeed made a bid which was rejected by Shakhtar.
More recently Villas-Boas has cited logistical issues such as a work permit being the main reason for cooling interest in the winger.
A relatively new name to the Chelsea rumors, Moura is thought to be the name that will replace Neymar, who has openly expressed his wishes to play for Real Madrid, leaving Chelsea out in the cold without a Brazilian prodigal son.
On paper Moura looks like a pretty good plan-B to the egomaniacal Neymar. At only 19 years old, this attacking midfielder has all the accolades on a team level that Neymar has, and much of Neymar’s success can be attributed in part to the excellent play he gets out of his younger teammates.
Again the Brazilian thing comes into play, but more so this has to do with price. Sao Paulo has placed an astounding £66.8 million price on his head, which would easily make him the most expensive teenager ever.
No 19-year-old is worth that price. He is too young and unproven at this level of the game to risk.
Yes, he shows a great amount of potential, but at such an age there are far too many things that can go wrong. Everything from him peaking early to getting home sick—it is just not worth the risk.
Villas-Boas has downplayed any bid for this window but has stated that in the future they will looking into it.
As a future buy, it should defiantly be kept on hand. He has incredible talent and the ability to get a good young versatile player in which to build your team around for the future is always promising.
This is perhaps the poorest move Chelsea could make this winter and it has little to do with the player himself.
Cavani has been excellent since he arrived to Napoli from Palermo. In just two seasons he already has a combined 51 goals in 72 games and more importantly has made Napoli relevant again in both Italy and Europe.
He has all the tools you would want out of a center forward—an ability to play with the ball at his feet, good pace, strength in the air and just an incredible knack for finding the net. Any team would be lucky to have him, but a move to Chelsea would be catastrophic in one way or another.
With all his talent and importance to Napoli, he is fetching a reasonably high price tag, roughly £45 million. That is just £5 million shy of another Chelsea striker, Fernando Torres.
We are all aware of Torres’ struggles and have blamed it on everything from the team around him to a lack of confidence. Bringing in Cavani will only inflame both of those attributes and further hinder any hope of Torres returning back to his great form.
The debate that has also been at Stamford Bridge since this time a year ago is: How do you justify sitting so much money on the bench even if they are not performing up to standards?
In the Villas-Boas system, there is room for only one center forward. So even if both Cavani and Torres are playing great, you will always have an excess of wealth (and talent) sitting on the bench. It would never work out simply because there is not enough room for both players and their price tags to justify both of them being on the team.
Cavani’s agent has ruled out any moves this winter, but things may change come summer time. Most Chelsea fans want to see Torres breakthrough and lead the club back to glory, but if he continues to struggle and not make the progress necessary, Cavani may be the better choice.
But right now it is Torres’ position to lose, and Cavani is best left to explore other avenues.