Chelsea have often made use of the January transfer window to improve their title challenge since the arrival of owner Roman Abramovich almost a decade ago in 2003.
This year it was Demba Ba who signed from Newcastle United for £7.5 million, a year ago Gary Cahill from Bolton for £7 million and Kevin De Bruyne from Genk for £6.7 million arrived, two years ago it was Fernando Torres from Liverpool for £50 million and David Luiz from Benfica for £21 million.
In 2008 Branislav Ivanovic arrived from Lokomotiv Moscow for £9 million along with Nicolas Anelka from Bolton for £15 million and Franco Di Santo from Audax Italiano for £3 million and in 2004 Scott Parker moved from Charlton for £10 million, amongst others.
This term, Jose Mourinho has ruled out making any January signings, however but, so far this season, his strike force has looked to lack confidence and, more importantly, goals.
“I am happy with everybody and I don't want anyone to come in. That's what I want for January and that would be the perfect situation for us," he explained.
“I will be happy if in January nothing happens with us. I spoke with the final group and I told them that I wish that in January everybody is happy and nobody wants to leave.”
I wonder how happy the ‘happy one’ will be in three months time if new signing Samuel Eto’o along with previous January signings Torres and Ba continue to miss the target.
It’s early days, of course, and there will obviously be high hopes that the Cameroon international can take a greater share of the burden off the midfield than at present but his performance on his Premier League debut against Everton on Saturday didn’t inspire much in the way of hope.
If the situation up front doesn’t improve over the coming fixtures next month and in November, I would expect Mourinho to move the goalposts in terms of his determination to not buy a striker in January.
Mourinho has a tough title fight on his hands with Manchester United and Manchester City both having strikers (plural) who can (and likely will) reach into the 20-goals-per-season region this term.
I would imagine his decision will also depend on who is and who becomes available closer to the window – at present there are murmurs and whispers in France surrounding the futures of Radamel Falcao and Zlatan Ibrahimovic as well as Fernando Llorente in Italy, Karim Benzema in Spain and Luis Suarez in England.
If Mourinho had the opportunity to bring one of those names to Stamford Bridge, I would expect him to change his mind about his strike force, especially if Ba and Torres continue to be a lackluster as they both were last season.
image: © stephyhan