Chelsea already planning January shopping spree
Lifting of ban will give club chance to cover for players lost to African Nations Cup
Saturday 24 October 2009
Chelsea yesterday admitted for the first time they are keen to recruit new players in January, despite currently being banned from signing anyone until 2011.
As The Independent revealed yesterday, Chelsea are close to having their transfer ban frozen by the Court of Arbitration for Sport while they await the outcome of their appeal against Fifa's ruling. The club yesterday confirmed they have several targets in mind in readiness for the ban being temporarily lifted for the window.
Chelsea's assistant manager Ray Wilkins, deputising for manager Carlo Ancelotti who was visiting his sick father in Italy, confessed the club are concerned about the situation in January, when four key players will be away at the African Nations Cup.
Wilkins said Chelsea do not know yet for certain whether they will be cleared for transfer activity in the new year. But he said the club's scouts are working as normal, in anticipation of a ruling by CAS that is likely to allow Chelsea to register new players in January.
The thought of having to cope without Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel has focused minds at Stamford Bridge. Wilkins said: "I am sure Carlo has a few names he would like to bring in. It's the same as any other team – you are always looking to strengthen. We wouldn't suggest for one minute we are not concerned. If you look at the four going away, and take the equivalent four from any team in the country you're naturally concerned.
"They are top-quality footballers and we will miss them. It would be very pleasant to bring people in because we will lose extremely influential players in Didier, Salomon, Michael and John. If the ban is lifted, then all well and good. If it's not, then we will have to crack on."
Wilkins' admission suggests a total change of policy at Chelsea concerning the need to buy players in January. In early September, when Fifa announced their two-window ban on Chelsea over the signing of Gaël Kakuta from Lens in 2007, Ancelotti made it clear the club had not been not planning to recruit. At the time he said: "We didn't think we would bring any new players in during January, even before this happened."
The big question now for Chelsea is if they just buy stop-gap players to get them through the tricky January period, or if they splash out to see them through the next two windows.
Joe Cole is expected to make his first Premier League start for nine months against Blackburn Rovers this afternoon. Cole has been a marginal figure since returning from a cruciate ligament injury a month ago, but is set for a recall to the team, which will be picked by Ancelotti even if he fails to return to England in time.
Wilkins said: "I'm hoping Carlo will be back. His father is not in the best condition. Our thoughts are with him. Carlo will select the side and he will select how we play. If he doesn't come back, then I will give the team talks."
January Blues: Chelsea's bad deals
*2005 – Jiri Jarosik, CSKA Moscow, £3m Tall midfielder played 14 games before moving on loan to Birmingham and then on to Celtic.
*2006 – Maniche, Dynamo Moscow, loan Portly ex-Porto man (right) signed when Essien got injured. Did not impress in eight games.
*2008 – Branislav Ivanovic, Lokomotiv Moscow, £9m Big fee but did not play for several months.
*2009 – Ricardo Quaresma, Internazionale, loan Just four games and a total waste of time.
...and one they got right
*2008 – Nicolas Anelka, Bolton, £15m The only unmitigated success, despite a slow start. The Premier League's top scorer last season.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal and Puma unveil world's first left-footed football
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?
WWE Raw results: Brock Lesnar suspended for post-Wrestlemania 31 rampage after losing title to Seth Rollins
Raheem Sterling interview: No amount of money can convince Sterling to stay at Liverpool
Liverpool injury news: Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren expected to be ready for Arsenal clash
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 3 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 4 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans