The transfer window has slammed shut (to use the obligatory terminology) and the dust has settled on the annual winter transfer extravaganza. There seems to be a growing dislike of the transfer window system (certainly if your name is Arsene Wenger whose one loan signing, Kim Kallstrom, turned up with an injury that keep him out for weeks!). But whilst it can lead to uncertainty amongst players and managers, there is no doubting the window gives the fans plenty to talk about, with a steady flow of transfer gossip to chew over and get excited by. Here we take a look at the business Chelsea did in this window and assess the pros and cons of each move.
In many ways it was a quiet window overall, with several big clubs, including Spurs, Liverpool, Man City and Arsenal doing no significant business at all. As mentioned, the Gunners brought Kim Kallstrom in on loan on deadline day as something of an emergency measure (which backfired badly) whilst the others didn’t sign anyone at all. Everton made some nice additions in Aiden McGeady and the loan of giant striker Lacina Traore but it has to be felt that Chelsea not only did the most business but also did the best business of any of the teams near the top of the table.
Juan Mata – out
By far the biggest deal of the window saw the Pensioners sell Juan Mata to Manchester United for more than £37m and this has to be viewed as a fine piece of business by The Special One. Some Blues will be unhappy at the sale of the man who was voted Player of the Year for the last two seasons, but the fact remains that Jose Mourinho has decided Oscar is his preferred number 10. Oscar’s work rate and tacking high up the pitch swung the deal whilst Chelsea’s other attacking midfield options meant Mourinho could let Mata go.
As well as that simple argument, it has to be remembered that Chelsea have played United twice, whilst Mata’s influence will be brought to bear against all their title rivals in the remainder of the season. And finally, let’s not forget that Chelsea were more than happy to take advantage of Man United’s desperation for a top class player, with £37m a nice return on a man bought for less than £24m.
Nemanja Matic – in
Matic was sold by Chelsea as part of the deal that brought David Luiz to the club in 2012 with a value of around £4m assigned to the combative Serb. Paying £22m to bring him back might not seem such a great move but Matic has settled quickly at the club and given Mourinho is not a huge fan of Luiz in the holding role, the man brought in from Benfica is perfect for Chelsea. He is more than just a shield too, with the ability to step forward, play astute passes and chip in with the odd goal and could be the new Michael Essien for the Pensioners.
Kurt Zouma – in
Zouma was signed from French side St Etienne for £12.5m and at 19 years of age is one for the future. Almost 6ft 2in tall, Zouma is quick, reads the game superbly and could be a real hit. He will have to wait though as he has been loaned back to his former club for the remainder of the season.
Mohamed Salah – in
Salah was signed for £11m from Basel after impressing in the Champions League games against Chelsea. The Egyptian winger is blisteringly quick, has an eye for goal and was a target for Liverpool before deciding on the Blues. He made a habit of scoring against English sides and those performances put him firmly in the shop window. Just 21 years of age he is another signed for the future but undoubtedly has the ability to slot straight in at Chelsea and gives them another option to go with the trickery of Eden Hazard and Oscar. Another great signing which has the added benefit of depriving Liverpool of the player they coveted.
Kevin de Bruyne – out
De Bruyne was sold to Wolsfburg for £17m, offering Chelsea a tidy profit on a player they bought from Genk for around £7m. Together with the money recovered from Mata this meant the Pensioners more than covered their outgoings and puts them in a decent position financially. De Bruyne spent almost all of his time “at” Chelsea out on loan and there are said to be no hard feelings between him and Mourinho. This is another move that suits all three parties involved and another clever reshaping of the squad which was top heavy with similar attacking midfielders.
Bertrand Traore – out
Traore is the most low-key signing made this January and at just 18-years-old was sent immediately out on loan to Vitesse in the Netherlands. As early as 2010 Traore was said to have joined the Chelsea academy but that never materialised and the Blues had to wait till 1st January 2014 to finalise the deal that was actually agreed in October of the previous year. The Burkina Faso international is an attacking midfielder and, signed on a free transfer, the speedy left-sided player looks a good addition.
Chelsea Transfers January 2014 Summary
Chelsea and Mourinho have done superb business this window and whilst a world class striker was the main priority, none of the required calibre was available. Instead the Blues balanced their books and the shape of the squad whilst striking the perfect balance between players who can come in and do a job immediately and ones who can star in the future. We’d give the Special One a special, if imperfect 9/10 here, with only the magical addition of an uninjured Radamel Falcao able to improve his score.