Chelsea’s squad continues to see drastic change in the months following the departure of Roman Abramovich from the club’s helm, with the west London outfit expected to invest significantly this January to follow on from their record-breaking spending over the summer.
Currently six points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham, who occupy the final Champions League qualification spot, their side needs reinforcements in the winter window to mount a serious charge to continue their run in Europe’s top competition.
With that in mind, we took a look at five players that they should be looking to invest in before the end of the month.
*Note: This list has been compiled with the assumption that a deal for Benoit Badiashile, for who the club are in negotiations with, will be completed, hence why no centre-backs feature*
1) Ridle Baku (VFL Wolfsburg)
One of Chelsea’s biggest problems is their reliance on Reece James’ fitness. With the 23-year-old defender in the side, they have lost just once in eight games this season, but they have won just one in seven without the right back.
Set to be sidelined for another month with his latest setback, and unreliable to play 60 games a season across all competitions, finding suitable cover is a must.
With that in mind, Ridle Baku could be a sensible addition. The Wolfsburg defender is under contract until 2025, but has caught the eye of Europe’s top clubs before and could be prised away from the German outfit for the right price this January.
In 15 games so far this season, the right wing-back, who has much more influence going forwards than back, has managed to rack up three goals and an assist, and could be a welcome addition at Stamford Bridge this winter.
2) Josip Juranovic (Celtic)
Should a deal for Baku not prove feasible, one who definitely could be is Celtic defender Josip Juranovic, who is coming off the back of an impressive World Cup with Croatia.
Catching the eye of Manchester United as well as other sides, the Blues may have to move fast to secure the right-back, but the Celtic man could be a very useful alternative to James when the Englishman.
He could be available at a cut-price too, with the Bhoys having already signed a replacement for the Croat ahead of the January window opening.
3) Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid)
Another area that Chelsea desperately need to improve is going forwards, with the Blues currently one of nine sides being outscored singlehandedly by Erling Haaland, and Potter’s side the lowest scorers in the top half of the Premier League.
A move for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hasn’t worked, and Kai Havertz still fails to inspire confidence despite netting against Bournemouth. Armando Broja, meanwhile, has been ruled out for the season, while new addition David Datro Fofana is not expected to go straight into the first team.
Therefore, a move for Joao Felix, who Atletico Madrid are willing to let go on loan this January, could be a wise move, and help tide the Blues over until the summer arrival of Christopher Nkunku from RB Leipzig.
Though it may prove a costly deal (recent figures have suggested as much as £10m all in), signing the talented striker from under the noses of Arsenal and Manchester United could prove a masterstroke in the final run in.
4) Memphis Depay (Barcelona)
Barcelona are another Spanish side thought to be loaning an out-of-favour forward to the Premier League this winter, in the form of Memphis Depay, who has hardly featured for Xavi this season.
Already experienced in the Premier League from his spell at Manchester United, and boasting over 100 top flight goals, the 28-year-old could once again prove another effective stopgap for Potter to help the Blues fight for the top 4, and his link up play would be far more suitable to his system than his former teammate Aubameyang.
5) Enzo Fernandez (SL Benfica)
Last but not least, we come to Enzo Fernandez. The latest rumours suggest that the Argentine, who is keen to join Chelsea, was the subject of a 120m euro bid by Chelsea in the past few days, but that Benfica continue to try and hold out for the sum all at once via his release clause.
Impressive for the Albiceleste on their run to the World Cup win in Qatar as well in the Champions League this season, the 21-year-old is set to spark an almighty scramble this summer should no one pick him up in January.
For Chelsea and Todd Boehly, the winter window represents a chance to get ahead of the competition for his signature, while also injecting some much needed quality into a midfield that is in desperate need of an overhaul and likely to lose both Jorginho and N’Golo Kante on free transfers in the summer.
Is he worth £120m right now? Probably not. Could he prove worth that in the future? Absolutely. If Chelsea are certain that he is their man, bringing him in in January could be an expensive but effective move.