Chelsea have suffered through not having their usual midfield enforcer in the side, running around, causing chaos and protect Rafa Benitez’s more creative stars.
If the Daily Express is to be believed then Chelsea are looking at a £10 million deal for QPR’s Stephane Mbia. Not the prettiest player to watch but no one can argue with his effectiveness.
While QPR have seemingly been intent on hijacking a move for one of Marseille’s best strikers, Chelsea have been going about their business, identifying the Cameroonian as the man to challenge John Obi Mikel for his place in the team.
The theory behind such a move is interesting considering that Mbia has not been a regular for QPR this season, starting just 14 games. However, he has played under two different managers, making more appearances for Mark Hughes before Harry Redknapp came in.
So what value would he add to Chelsea? Well in a nutshell, he’d sit in front of the back four and control the area of the pitch where most creative midfielders like to express themselves.
Mbia likes to have a tackle and get stuck in as his four yellow cards and one red card suggest, the fact he is only one more booking away from a suspension is also something that Chelsea need to be wary of.
Chelsea do have players who can sit in front of the defence in Mikel, Ramires and Oriol Romeu but Mbia is the best suited to match Mikel in terms of physical strength and presence.
It would release Ramires to go and play a more attacking role at the club which is what he was originally signed for. This would mean cover and competition for the likes of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar.
It’s important to point out that the £10 million fee is just speculation and could go much higher if Chelsea eventually make a formal approach for Mbia before the end of the January transfer window.
The other stumbling block is the fact that the club may be reluctant to make further signings following Demba Ba, especially when Benitez is not going to be in charge after the end of this season.
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image: © Tom Cuppens