Chelsea were handed a huge reprieve just in time for the January window, as their FIFA-levied transfer ban was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sports. Head coach Frank Lampard has since openly admitted that the club is observing targets for the winter window and we look at the five likeliest deals which may just go through.
#5 Jeremie Boga (Sassuolo)
Chelsea’s decade of transfer dealings will be remembered by the ones that got away from them, rather than the ones they brought in. During this period, the Blues lost the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, and Mohamed Salah among others, with all three now attached with top European clubs.
However, the London outfit did learn from their past mistakes and started inserting buy-back clauses on talented players they sold. Thorgan Hazard, Bertrand Traore, Nathan Ake, and Jeremie Boga were all dispatched with a clause in their contract and the Blues are now reportedly looking to trigger a few of them.
Rumours linking Jeremie Boga’s return to Chelsea have grown in recent weeks, with the French winger enjoying a breakthrough season at Sassuolo. He has scored four times in twelve appearances in Serie A, including strikes against Inter Milan, Juventus, and Fiorentina. A shrewdly inserted buy-back clause means Roman Abramovich could sanction Boga’s return for just £3.5 Million, which reports suggest he might.
#4 Moussa Dembele (Lyon)
Moussa Dembele is no stranger to West London, having played across from Stamford Bridge at Craven Cottage. The Frenchman was once on the books of Fulham and eventually sealed a move to Scottish giants Celtic and subsequently Lyon.
Given the list of clubs he has already played for, one may overlook the fact that Dembele is just twenty-three years of age. That, in turn, appeases Chelsea, who reportedly eye him as a potential long-term forward for Frank Lampard’s youthful side.
Dembele has started this season well and has nine goals in twelve league appearances. However, Lyon’s odd form, coupled with squad rotation and interest from a top European club could push him towards the exit. Add to the fact that Chelsea reportedly sent scouts to keep an eye on him recently, and one will find himself with enough hints regarding an impending move. Whether the club does go through with it is a different matter altogether.
#3 Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)
While all eyes in Germany have strictly been on Robert Lewandowski, and rightly so, it is young Timo Werner who is keeping up with the veteran striker. The Bayern man has netted sixteen times this season and only leads Werner by one goal in the scoring charts.
Still just twenty-three years of age, Werner has eighty-one goals in one hundred and thirty-six appearances to his name. Twenty of those eighty-one goals have been scored this season alone. As a result of his scintillating form, combined with his young age, the German international has become one of the hottest strikers in Europe.
Chelsea have been keeping an eye on Werner too and had recently sent scouts to evaluate him further. The German striker fits the profile of a ‘pacy and athletic’ forward which Frank Lampard is seeking and signs of a January move are present. Reports claim that the Leipzig star has a lowly €30 Million release clause in his contract and with the club now in contact with Erling Haaland, something seems to be brewing behind the scenes.
#2 Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
Chelsea fans on social media have whole-heartedly denounced Wilfried Zaha as a potential target in the January window. However, despite their reservations about the Ivorian, the links connecting him with a move to Stamford Bridge are growing in number.
Zaha is already a subject of a failed move to a big club and a failed bid from another. Nevertheless, the Ivory Coast forward is putting up good attacking numbers in a defensive team and continues to be of interest to plenty of teams.
Crystal Palace, meanwhile, are unwilling to sell Zaha until their tag of £80 Million is met. However, the Ivorian’s performances coupled with his versatility are keeping Chelsea drawn to him a bid in January is likely.
#1 Nathan Ake (Bournemouth)
Jeremie Boga’s inclusion means Nathan Ake is not the only ex-Chelsea player on the list. And similar to his former academy teammate, the Dutch international is rumoured to have a buy-back clause in his contract.
Ake’s short stint in the Blues first-team was rather odd. Big things were expected of the Dutchman, who made his first appearance for the club back in 2012/13 but was never really able to displace heavyweights John Terry, Gary Cahill, and David Luiz. As a result, loans spells to Reading, Watford, and Bournemouth followed. His displays for the Cherries impressed the Blues so much, that they recalled him mid-season, intending to draft him into the senior team. However, Ake would appear just twice in the second half of the 2016/17 season and even missed out on a Premier League winners medal.
Now back at Bournemouth permanently, the Netherlands defender has been one of the standouts in his position for the last few seasons. Manchester City and Chelsea are both interested in the centre-back, with the pair facing defensive issues. The Blues, meanwhile, have an option to bring him back for £40 Million and reports suggest it is an option which they intend to use next month.