At his weekly pre-match press conference on Friday, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho emphatically announced that no strikers will coming to Stamford Bridge in January.
But once the cameras were switched off and the atmosphere more relaxed, the Special One was not as emphatic when pressed.
His simple truth: the club will not be signing another striker in January. That does not, however, mean that Mourinho does not want the club to sign another striker now, does it?
The 50-year-old has clearly been underwhelmed by a front trio with just four league goals between them so far this season. And Mourinho has also been at pains to point out that Chelsea would lose out by signing a striker who is cup-tied for the Champions League.
Yet there is one forward who would solve both problems – something the Portuguese boss is no doubt well aware of.
At 27 years of age, Radamel Falcao is at the peak of his career. He has conquered Portugal, Spain, the Europa League - twice in a row - and is now setting Ligue 1 alight, scoring nine goals in 14 games.
He is, moreover, free to move to a Champions League team in January and take part in the rest of their European campaign.
But as the Chelsea boss also points out, Fifa’s new Financial Fair Play rules make it difficult for the Blues to sign a big-money striker and abide by the rules.
Of course, if they really wanted to, they could. Roman Abramovich could sanction a move and risk the wrath of the football authorities, knowing that they would be very unlikely to hand out any significant punishments.
Abramovich could, too, sanction the sales of some of Chelsea’s own big names. Fernando Torres, Juan Mata, Demba Ba and Kevin De Bruyne – to name a few – could all quite easily be shipped out of west London to make way for AS Monaco’s Falcao. Within the rules, as well.
And Mourinho knows this; make no mistake.
But, with the Russian owner’s long-standing admiration of Torres – and Chelsea’s complex, multi-faceted transfer policy, Mourinho knows a move for the Colombian would be nothing but a pipe dream.
image: © tpower1978