Nicolas Pepe - Lille

Chelsea’s first game arrives this weekend, with a tough away trip to Manchester United.

The transfer window closes on Thursday however, and once it’s over Chelsea’s punishment ticks down another notch. If you think about how few major moves are actually made in January, we’re actually through the worst of it.

Ok, there will likely be positions we will clearly need to strengthen by the time we get to the second and final window of our ban, whether in attack or defence. But we should be able to limp on another 6 months and make it to the summer. We could even wrap up deals for the future there and then.

Our rivals have strengthened, but not all of them, and not excessively. Man City were so far ahead there was little they could do. Tottenham have made a good signing, and could yet make a couple more, but they still have to get those deals over the line before Thursday.

Arsenal have improved in attack, and Man United at the back, but both those teams still have major flaws.

Liverpool have really struggled to sign anyone to improve their first team in the most important areas.

So while there’s no doubt we’re further behind, our rivals haven’t got as far ahead of us as they might have done, and they’re unlikely to make more of a splash in the winter.

By next summer we’ll be back in the market, with the knowledge of exactly what we need, and the cash to get it burning a hole in our pocket.

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