The January transfer deadline came and went swiftly as Chelsea did just as much business as they did last summer under the transfer ban…almost nothing. Except for selling Tariq Lamptey to Brighton & Hove Albion, nothing happened at Stamford Bridge. Players like Victor Moses, who was out on loan at Fenerbahce for the beginning of the season and then loaned to Inter Milan this month, didn’t affect the first-team squad at Stamford Bridge. Will Chelsea come to regret their practically nonexistent transfer window?
Chelsea Left With Major Questions After January Transfer Window
Attacking Options Fall Through
Chelsea spent the majority of this window looking for attacking players. They whiffed on all of them and in the days leading up to and on deadline day, the Blues scrambled for last-minute deals.
Dries Mertens from Napoli? Fell through. Edinson Cavani with an expiring contract at Paris Saint-Germain? Not interested in coming to Chelsea. Did Moussa Dembele feel up to the challenge with a ‘top six’ Premier League team? Doesn’t matter, as Chelsea and Lyon couldn’t reach an agreement.
RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner? Hakim Ziyech at Ajax? Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho? Those deals never came to fruition either, if they were ever even close.
Chelsea focused on finding new attacking options because they only have one striker they believe in; Tammy Abraham. Even he has suffered a couple of minor injuries, despite the uncomfortable pain.
That’s how much they don’t trust their other options, Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud. They’d rather have their budding star striker, and youth academy product no less, risk further injury than have either the Belgian or Frenchman put in a 90-minute shift.
If that’s their position on all three players, then they certainly were right to seek out replacements, but because of Chelsea’s inaction, both Giroud and Batshuayi will remain with the club through to the end of the season.
Michy Batshuayi, The Permanent Back-Up
Batshuayi has been Chelsea’s backup striker all year, starting in cup competitions and being a substitute striker when needing a goal or playing out time. When called upon, he has come through, such as the Champions League group stage winner against Ajax in stoppage time earlier this season.
With his role, though, the forward must feel frustrated. Loans with Borussia Dortmund, Valencia, and Crystal Palace have failed to blossom into anything more, just like his role at Chelsea since joining in 2016.
After three, going out on another loan seemed pointless. Will he ever become the number nine for Chelsea? At this point, probably not. He’s a permanent back-up. Even with Belgium, he’s the back-up to Romelu Lukaku.
Can he continue to impress when needed, or will remaining with Chelsea frustrate him and affect his game? The Blues better hope it’s the former.
Giroud, The Grumpy?
For the Frenchman, staying in West London must be hugely disappointing. The former Arsenal man needs more playing time than he has and will get with Chelsea ahead of this summer’s Euros.
Do France really need him up top? No, which is exactly why he tried to force a move as much as he could, to play for club regularly and go to (likely) one last European Championship with his country. Unfortunately, without Chelsea bringing in a replacement, he’ll have to ride out the final six months on his contract.
Yes, it would’ve been nice for Chelsea to cash in before he leaves for free, but how much could they really extract for a 33-year-old striker with no pace? World Cup winner or not, great in the air or not, he wouldn’t command a high fee anyways.
Now, the Frenchman is surely disgruntled as he’ll continue playing third fiddle to a 22-year-old. He won’t become a problem in the dressing room, will he? The risk of it is bad enough.
Major Questions at Chelsea
Before the window opened on New Year’s Day, Chelsea sat in a comfortable position not really needing transfers. After the struggles of the past month, losses to Bournemouth, Southampton, Newcastle United, and a draws to Brighton and Arsenal, Chelsea were rightly reconsidering, and searching hard for someone.
Second Half Surge or Fall?
After whiffing on every attacking option, plus enquiries for left-backs like Ben Chilwell at Leicester and centre-backs like Kalidou Koulibaly, Chelsea can certainly still finish in the top four.
With their top-four rivals all strengthening this month, Chelsea could be left for dead. Thankfully, though, every team has dropped unnecessary points over the past few weeks, keeping Chelsea in fourth.
Chelsea surprisingly and dejectedly ended the month without improving the squad after a tonne of rumours and speculation. In the end, this is a massive opportunity for the current crop of players and the manager to prove their worth.
Was the youth movement the right choice? Can Lampard get the best out of them? Are the players and manager capable of leading and taking a ‘top six’ club to the pinnacle of English and European football?
We’ll find out over the next few months.