Chelsea transfers: Five players Jose Mourinho should target
David Marsh suggest five possible transfer targets for Premier League champions Chelsea this summer
At only 22 and already with bags of experience on football’s biggest stage, centre-back Raphael Varane is hailed as one of the hottest young prospects of European football. The Frenchman joined Real Madrid from Lens in 2011, and at just 19 years old, he found the back of the net with a towering header against Barcelona at the Nou Camp. Varane gave both Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti a selection headache whilst they were in charge at the Bernabeu, and more than justified his place in the Madrid starting eleven. With John Terry and Gary Cahill ageing, Mourinho could look to his former club in search of a long-term replacement at the heart of Chelsea’s defence. Varane himself could also be tempted to once again link up with his former manager with whom he worked so well with at Real Madrid. With his French team mate Kurt Zouma already playing his trade at Stamford Bridge, the possibility of a Varane-Zouma centre-half pairing is a mouth-watering one.
Atletico Madrid’s Spanish midfielder Koke had an outstanding 2013/14 season, which saw his side win the La Liga title and narrowly miss out on Champions League glory to their inner city rivals Real Madrid. 23-year-old Koke was – and remains – a vital cog in the Atletico Madrid engine, and continues to get better every year. Having now successfully broken into the Spanish international side, Koke’s performances have caught the attention of some of Europe’s wealthiest clubs. The midfield duo of Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic is one of the best partnerships in the Premier League, however with the departure of Jon Obi Mikel looking like a possibility, Mourinho could be in the market for a new centre-midfielder. Having done business with Atletico Madrid in the past, Mourinho could be planning on raiding Diego Simeone’s side once again this summer.
Antoine Griezmann had what could only be described as a dream debut season for Atletico Madrid last year, scoring 25 goals in 54 appearances for Simeone’s team. His tally of 24 La Liga goals saw him finish as third-highest goalscorer behind only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and his versatility in attack makes Griezmann the exact type of player that Chelsea may need. Mourinho has made a habit of picking off Simeone’s best men in recent times, and in the case of Griezmann he might not be ready to stop any time soon. If star man Diego Costa were to become injured again this upcoming season, Mourinho avoids the risk of becoming too reliant on Eden Hazard to bulk up the goal tally with a signing like 24-year-old Griezmann. With Mourinho preferring to play with three attackers behind one centre forward, Griezmann’s ability to cover all four positions would make him a shrewd signing for The Special One.
The name on all football fans’ lips at the moment is that of Paul Pogba. Aged just 22, Pogba is already regarded as one of the world’s finest midfielders, and he looks set to become even better in the coming years. With experience of a Champions League final, a World Cup campaign with France, and a league and cup double with Juventus this season, the young Frenchman is certainly not lacking in experience. Mourinho is known for his excellent work at developing young players into some of the world’s best, and Pogba could be his next apprentice. To ward off interest from Europe’s elite, Juventus have slapped a huge sum of £75m on Pogba’s signature; however with Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich on his side, Mourinho knows that Chelsea are amongst a small handful of clubs who could genuinely afford to fork out such a magnificent sum of money for the Frenchman. Pogba would improve any team he were to join, and would show a real sign of intent from Chelsea as they look to compete with the world’s best in European football.
Perhaps not a name that would feature on every Chelsea fans shopping list this summer, but what could be a good addition nonetheless, is 25-year-old left-back Aaron Cresswell. Cresswell started every single Premier League game for the West Ham last season, proving to be a vital player in Sam Allardyce’s side as they finished 12th and qualified for the first round of Europa League qualification through fair play and excellent discipline. With Filipe Luis enduring a quite tough debut season at Chelsea, often used as a substitute, the Brazilian is rumoured to be seeking a return to former club Atletico Madrid. This would surely mean that Chelsea would be in the market for a new left-back. Aaron Cresswell could provide strength in depth to the full-back berth at Chelsea, with talented Spaniard Cesar Azpilicueta able to cover both flanks effectively. Not to mention that signing an Englishman would help Chelsea to keep the Premier League satisfied with the number of home grown players in their squad.