Chelsea spent the winter transfer window chasing central midfielders, having let Cesc Fabregas leave for Monaco.
They ended up with two prime targets, according to the rumours. Nico Barella of Cagliari and Leandro Paredes of Zenit. In the end they got neither, and ended the season with a seriously depleted central midfield unit.
The transfer ban that now looks certain to stick will prevent us from making more moves this summer, meaning only returning loan players will be able to come try and fill the holes that Fabregas’ departure and Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s long term injury have left.
The most painful part is that the dream replacement is out there on the market this summer. After not getting in the team at PSG, Giovanni Lo Celso made the loan move to Real Betis this season and was superb, scoring goals, picking up assists and controlling games from midfield.
Betis exercised their option to buy, and now look ready to sell on for a profit straight away. Tottenham and Man U are the top clubs being linked with the brilliant Argentine, and it’s agonising for Chelsea fans to watch if you’ve seen him play.
He’s just like a young Fabregas, with vision and passing of all types. But he also has even more physicality in terms of speed and strength than the former Barcelona man, and even more of an eye for goal.
He would fit into Maurizio Sarri’s team and style even better than Paredes or Barella would have, but unless things change, Blues fans are going to have to watch him holding up the shirt of one of our biggest rivals this summer.
And that really stings.