Date: 13th January 2017 at 11:54am
Written by:

Clayton Beerman casts a weary eye over proceedings thus far in the …oh and Jim White’s tie…

As those of you who listen to the Fancast will know I have recently encountered a dry spell. Thankfully in terms of writing and not drinking but I have to say the most recent round of transfer speculation has inspired me back to the keyboard. As always it’s all ifs and buts and hard to know if anyone will be coming in.

So here are my views on what we do or do not need.

Defence

Well the only thing we know for definite is that Nathan has returned to the club. In my opinion a good move as I thought he should not have gone out due to his ability to cover both in defence and in midfield. I do however now realise that ’s involvement with our squad goes back way beyond his actual start date and he may well have asked for him to go out on loan. Should he have come back if he is not going to get game time? I think that there are several reasons why he’s been recalled, cover for Alonso and is some months off match fitness and it probably negates the need to buy a left wing back or centre half.There is also talk of JT going out on loan. Hard to believe though that at this moment the most natural leader we have in the dressing room would be allowed to leave.

So do we need anyone in addition to Ake? I think cover at right wing back would be good. It is questionable whether Aina is anywhere near ready to cover for who has looked tired over the last couple of weeks. He is young and as the season goes on, if as we hope ,we are still in the hunt, the games may be too pressured for him.

Having seen Brana in action against whilst he has always been brilliant at marauding forward his delivery remains poor, mainly consisting of whacking the ball against the full backs shins from close range. In addition in the current system I would hate to lose Cesar from his policing role which he has done so brilliantly.

At centre half there has been mention of Van Dyke but at his stage of the season would we want to disrupt the current trio. Certainly if he does not go in the window an approach in the summer should be considered if all hope has been given up for Bonnuci, but we do have Christensen coming back!

The talk of interest in Antonio is interesting but I suspect that has only been banded about because West Ham seem keen on Michy. Would we really spend large money for a winger to convert him into a wing back? Unlikely but you would not put it past our manager.

Midfield

Numbers have diminished following the Chinese takeaway (sorry) and so do we need to strengthen? I think we do in terms of experience but the dilemma is then reducing the game time for Chalobah who has looked great every time he plays. There have been no concrete links but just getting someone in to complement our existing squad I think would be helpful. The question is who?

Realistically League sides are unlikely to let players go and so we would be looking in the tier below that level. As a backup to what we have that may be enough but I think they will need to be experienced. Otherwise it is a big ask of Matic and Kante to stay injury and suspension free for the rest of the season. Although he performed admirably against , Fabregas is not a direct replacement for either of these guys.

Attack

The main rumours have been around Michy and and a potential loan swap. I cannot see Michy going to . His body language against Peterborough showed a man devoid of confidence yet he scored and had an adequate afternoon. I have no doubt he has quality but there appears to be something that Conte is not quite happy with. So sending him to a team in trouble seems strange.

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As for Llorente, is the Juve connection the only reason he has been linked with us? I cannot see how he fits in with the way we play. During games, even those “won early” Conte seems reluctant to take Costa off. So what game time would he get with us? Don’t get me wrong, he is a fine goal scorer but for me his addition would mean we had to play a different kind of game with him on the pitch and I can’t see it. That being said it’s a long time since we have had a poacher and a helping hand to free Costa every now and again would be good.

We also have both Musonda and Kenedy back with the squad. It is probable both will go out on loan again but our manager has not been scared to try youth and so that is another option to bolster the attack.

As we know January is notoriously difficult to get good players in and there is also the danger of disrupting what appears to be a strong team bond at the moment. We have seen the departure of two players who divided opinion throughout our fan base and so quietly Conte is rebuilding. We shall see the real work in the summer especially if we are back in the Champions League and we shall have to hope that funds are available despite the cost of the stadium redevelopment. It is early days but what Conte is doing looks to be special. So honestly apart from some of the youth going out on loan I do not expect to be glued to Jim White’s yellow tie on the final day of the transfer window.

My main hope is that our manager gets what he wants if that player is available. He certainly knows what he is doing and where possible the club should do everything they can to help him. He has put us in a position no one suspected possible at the start of the season and even less than that after the Emirates drubbing.

Clayton Beerman Author of “Palpable Discord. A Year of drama and dissent at Chelsea” Published by Gate 17

Follow Clayton on twitter: @goalie59