Chelsea's assertive transfer policy makes deadline day obsolete

Posted by Phil Lythell

With the last hours ticking down until the close of the transfer window on Friday, it is refreshing to know that the vast majority of Chelsea's deals have been completed.

This summer has seen a nice change with the club concluding most of their business in June and July, allowing the squad to take shape in the early part of pre-season. Eden Hazard was snapped up almost immediately after the full-time whistle blew in Munich and has had the benefit of several friendlies to get to know his new team-mates. I could wax lyrical about how excellent the signing of the young Belgian has been but it might be wiser for me to refer you to my previous post instead for fear of repeating myself again and again.


Hazard has proven a real hit at Chelsea. © Getty Images

 

Oscar's participation in the Olympics has prevented him from striking up a similar rapport with the rest of the squad but the quality that he has exhibited in his brief cameos for the Blues as well as for Brazil has hinted that he will be every bit as valuable as Hazard in the months and years ahead. His penchant for collecting the ball in deep positions, prompting the play and arriving on cue in the penalty area has him marked out as the eventual successor to Frank Lampard even if the veteran Englishman looks far from being pensioned off just yet. Marko Marin will add further competition amongst the playmakers and judging by his displays on the tour of USA he will be a welcome addition once he regains his fitness.

The newest recruits were introduced to the crowd prior to Saturday's 2-0 win over Newcastle. Cesar Azpilicueta will provide cover for Branislav Ivanovic in the bogey position of right-back and is a more sensible option than Inter Milan's Maicon who demanded ridiculous wages and does not fit the remit at 31 years of age. Victor Moses is another exciting signing though with the presence of Hazard, Oscar and Marin he may well struggle for game time. Nevertheless, if a team is to win trophies - especially the Premier League - far more than 11 players are needed and if Moses takes his chances when they arise there is no reason why he should not stay in the team.

The majority of outgoings have also taken place with Didier Drogba and Jose Bosingwa bidding farewell in the wake of the Champions League final. Romelu Lukaku and Josh McEachran have each departed on loan - to West Bromwich Albion and Middlesbrough respectively - to gain some much-needed first team football having spent the majority of last season on the bench. The continuing presence of Florent Malouda and Paulo Ferreira is a surprise however. The pair have been excellent servants to Chelsea but with the club pursuing a more youthful dynamic they appear to be surplus to requirements.

The most perplexing conundrum involves the striking department. With Drogba's departure, Fernando Torres finally has the chance to lead the line but with Lukaku at The Hawthorns for the campaign only Daniel Sturridge remains in reserve. That would seem fairly threadbare at the best of times but with news surfacing of Liverpool's pursuit of the England international it would surely be folly for the club to consider selling. Yes, he can frustrate and his decision-making is not always as good as it should be but he remains an excellent talent that is worth his place in the squad for many reasons other than his eligibility for the home-grown rule.

Whether Sturridge goes to Anfield or remains at Chelsea, it would be nice to see another central striker arrive at Stamford Bridge. The question is: who? With money no object to Roman Abramovich it is tempting to plump for an Edinson Cavani or a Fernando Llorente but what would the arrival of a £30m-plus striker do to Torres' fragile confidence. The Spaniard finally seems comfortable in a blue shirt so it seems senseless to unsettle him now. A more modest option would have to be sought though one still able to slot into a star-studded dressing room and there are not many of them around. The name Michael Owen has been whispered by some and he certainly fits that bill especially as he is out of contract and would not command a transfer fee. He would also be willing to spend long periods of the season on the substitutes' bench as seen by his spell at Manchester United although I suspect Owen's time at the summit of club football is over and the search will need to go on.

Perhaps it will simply be a case of investing in reams of cotton wool in which to swaddle Torres and recline on 31st August safe in the knowledge that Chelsea have no need for last-minute panic-buying. Unlike Tottenham.

Follow Phil Lythell on Twitter: @PhilLythell

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