While children get excited about Christmas, football fans often look a little further ahead, to the first day of January and the grand opening of a new transfer window.
Chelsea fans will be among those most eagerly anticipating a new round of speculation and possible spending, with players in practically every outfield position already being linked with a switch to Stamford Bridge.
While Inter Milan’s Fredy Guarin is reportedly close to a deal, it is in defence and – most vitally – up front that Chelsea are tipped to stock up.
And two players long-linked with the Blues were both on the score-sheet last night for their current club FC Porto.
Defender Eliaquim Mangala has been touted as a future Chelsea player since Jose Mourinho first returned. While striker Jackson Martinez was tipped for a £30million January switch after his agent reportedly held “secret talks” with Roman Abramovich’s aide Marina Granovskaia back in November.
Whether any of the reports are true or not, the simple fact is both players would considerably improve the current Chelsea squad. Arguably, they would be the missing links to ensure Chelsea not only challenge for but win a number of trophies in the months and years ahead.
And on Friday evening, the players with a combined valuation of around £72million both netted in a 4-0 win against Olhanense.
Mangala opened the scoring for the home side with a header from a corner, proving that he can score them at one end as well as keeping them out at the other.
Martinez almost doubled Porto’s lead only to see his overhead kick go just wide. But the Colombian would ultimately find the net eight minutes after half-time.
That strike made it 16 for the season for Martinez – and his £30million price-tag is looking increasingly like money that would be very well spent.
Whether Mangala’s release-clause of £42million is also worth paying is a question Abramovich and Mourinho may well be considering very carefully as January draws ever closer.
image: © dioxido