Chelsea are believed to be supremely confident of securing the most expensive spending spree in British history by completing the deals for John Stones and Paul Pogba within the next five days to take their summer outlay to an incredible £160m.
The Blues went into the 2015/16 season having looked a little thin on the new signings front, having replaced Petr Cech with £8m Asmir Begovic and a season-long loan of Radamel Falcao from Monaco.
However, a difficult 2-2 draw with Swansea was followed by a humiliating 3-0 drubbing at Manchester City, and prompted the Blues into launching serious investment in the transfer market. Baba Rahman immediately signed from Augsburg after the City defeat in a £17.7m deal, while a move for Pedro came out of nowhere as the Blues beat Manchester United to the £21.1m forward.
West Brom 2 Chelsea 3 player ratings
West Brom 2 Chelsea 3 player ratings
1/22 West Brom: Myhill
The goalkeeper conceded three goals, but was let down by his defence. 6
A central defender by trade but playing at right back, he struggled to cope with Hazard’s pace but got involved with West Brom’s attacks when he could. 5
Costa got the better of the Northern Ireland international time and time again, and after the centre-back had lost his battle with the striker, it allowed Costa to set up Azpilicueta for Chelsea’s third. 4
The Sweden international couldn’t deal with the pace of Pedro in the build-up to the winger’s opening goal. 4
The left winger, who has been used at left back under Pulis, came close to equalising with a late shot that went high but he was exploited by Pedro throughout the game. 4
It was his run forwards that allowed Willian to get in behind him and set up Costa for his goal. Was lacking in pace in opener as Willian got past him to make it 2-0. 5
The winger’s pace caused Azpilicueta all sorts of problems and after skipping past the left-back, he was brought down by Matic for the penalty. He also provided the cross for Morrison’s second goal. 7
West Brom’s longest-serving player made up for his missed penalty by scoring twice in what was a positive showing for the midfielder. 8
Worked hard in midfield to combat Fabregas’ influence but failed to fully protect his back line. 5
Was dangerous for West Brom and it was his good work that allowed him to get past Ivanovic and create Morrison’s second goal. 6
Looked sharp on his debut and it was his overhead kick that set up Morrison for his goal. Didn’t get on the scoresheet but was a threat up front for the home side. 7
12/22 Chelsea: Courtois
Remained calm in goal despite the end-to-end nature of the match, saving Morrison's early penalty before making several late saves to ensure the win. 7
Did better on the right flank than against Manchester City last week, but Chelsea’s vice-captain was beaten too easily by McClean for West Brom’s first goal before McManaman got the better of him for the home side’s second. 4
Provided strength in central defence and made some good early tackles. 6
After being the subject of headlines following his substitution against City, the Chelsea skipper let himself down when he saw red for failing to keep up with Rondon before pulling the striker back while he was through on goal. 4
Helped restore Chelsea’s two-goal lead with his strike just before the break, but was beaten too easily by McManaman in the lead-up to West Brom’s penalty as he struggled with his defensive duties. 7
It was the Spaniard’s lofty pass that instigated the move that led to Azpilicueta’s goal, and the midfielder continued providing accurate passes to help build-up Chelsea’s attacks as the game went on. 7
Clumsily brought down McManaman to give away the penalty but was let off the hook when Courtois saved the resulting spot-kick. He didn’t look as strong in midfield as usual, and couldn’t contend with Morrison’s strength for West Brom’s second goal. 5
Made a great run on the counter to set up Chelsea’s second goal and should have scored just before the break but drove high. Another good performance with a high work rate against West Brom. 7
The Belgian looked back to his best against West Brom as he set up Pedro for the opener and used his pace to cause the home side’s defence problems. 7
Chelsea’s man of the match. The winger seemed at ease on his Premier League debut scoring a goal and setting up Diego Costa’s strike. His pace on the right and his superb crosses will prove dangerous for Chelsea this season. 8
His goal was the icing on the cake for the striker, who enjoyed a very good performance up front. Costa looked dangerous throughout and really should have bagged a brace in the second half but drove high with time and space. 8
Yet that spending looks sure to continue, as Chelsea officials believe Italian champions Juventus are willing to let Pogba leave for £70m – a fee that would make him the most expensive transfer in British history surpassing the £59.7m that United paid for Angel Di Maria last summer.
Whether Juventus do choose to sell remains to be seen, given that they will have left themselves very little time to use that money to strengthen the squad before Tuesday’s transfer deadline.
Furthermore, Chelsea are hoping to reach a breakthrough in the hunt to land Everton defender John Stones. The 21-year-old saw a surprise transfer request rejected by the Merseyside club, with Everton manager Roberto Martinez reiterating that the England international is not for sale.
But a £34m fee is currently being discussed by the two clubs, according to The Mirror, and a move could yet go through before the 6pm cut-off next Tuesday.
Should both deals go through for the expected fees, Chelsea summer spending would exceed United’s £150m spent on signing seven new players last summer, and would also eclipse Manchester City’s outlay this year.
Having already landed Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi, Fabian Delph and Patrick Roberts for a combined £96m, City have former Chelsea midfielder Kevin De Bruyne in their sights, and The Independent understands that a £58m transfer is on the verge of being sealed to take City's spending to £154m – making De Bruyne the second most expensive deal in British history unless Chelsea can pull off the move for Pogba that will land the 22-year-old Frenchman an incredible £300,000-a-week contract.
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