The Chelsea captain, John Terry, has said he expects the club to have a very busy January as they try to cram three transfer windows' worth of deals into one month.
Chelsea have already had a provisional £14m bid for the England Under-21 midfielder Jack Rodwell rejected by Everton, and they are expected to make another offer for Sergio Aguero of Atletico Madrid, having expressed their interest in the Argentine last summer.
They are also interested in Valencia's David Villa, Franck Ribéry of Bayern Munich, Angel Di Maria of Benfica, Alex Teixeira of Vasco Da Gama, and Middlesbrough's Adam Johnson.
Chelsea have the chance to buy in January after the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the club's plea to freeze their two-window transfer ban until their appeal has been heard. Football's ruling body, Fifa, imposed the ban in September after Chelsea were found guilty of inducing the French midfielder Gaël Kakuta to break his contract with Lens.
Terry claimed it would be sensible now to spend in January, as the club may find they cannot buy any new players next summer, nor in the window in January 2011. The England captain said: "I'm sure the club and the manager are looking into [possible transfers] and having good talks with Roman [Abramovich, the club's owner]. I wouldn't be surprised if we do go out and buy because we don't know what's going to happen in the summer. Looking at it realistically, we're maybe going to be suspended in the summer window and maybe another one after that. The manager has great experience and knows what we need."
Logic suggests that Chelsea simply have to spend in January, and spend big. Normal business in an average summer would see two or three new arrivals, with one or two more in January. Chelsea currently are banned for two windows, although that might be reduced to one when the CAS hears their appeal in the new year.
Chelsea have to plan for the worst scenario – that once the window closes in January they will not be able sign anyone until June 2011. However, their manager, Carlo Ancelotti, said recently he would be very happy if Chelsea go through January without signing anyone. He repeated it yesterday, saying that his young strikers Daniel Sturridge and Fabio Borini will be able to cover when Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou leave for the African Nations Cup in January.
Ancelotti said: "Unless we suffer injuries, we are determined not to make changes to the team. We have two forwards going to the Africa Cup of Nations, Drogba and Kalou, but climbing on their shoulders are two little boys with a great future: Sturridge and Borini, an 18-year-old from Bologna who is very, very interesting."
Ancelotti, however, may not have the final say, as Chelsea's sporting director, Frank Arnesen, is in charge of player recruitment. In addition, if Chelsea have no intention of buying new players, why did the club go through the process of having Fifa's ban lifted temporarily for the upcoming window? Terry's scenario, in which the club pre-empt the ban by signing players in January, is far more likely.
Ancelotti is understandably unwilling to want to risk the possibility of new faces rocking the boat, with Chelsea five points clear in the Premier League of second-placed Arsenal, who have a game in hand. Yet recent injuries to key players such as Terry, Drogba, Frank Lampard, Jose Bosingwa, Ashley Cole and Michael Ballack may force him to change tack.
Chelsea believe both Drogba (rib) and Terry (Achilles) should be fit to face Wolves on Saturday.