This isn’t the article we wanted to write for you today. By the time of writing – which is very late on Thursday, December 6th – we were hoping to have heard whether the Court of Arbitration had overturned Chelsea’s transfer ban. If they had, we would be able to buy players as of the January window. If they hadn’t, then we’d still be unable to bring in anybody new until July, when the current season is open.
It’s likely that the court will announce its decision in the morning and so we considered hanging on and waiting for the news, but then another thought struck us. It doesn’t matter right now whether the decision has been made or not, and it doesn’t matter whether we’re able to sign players or not.
We don’t want Chelsea to buy anyone in January anyway. It might upset the apple cart, and it could lead to us missing out on what currently looks set to be one of the most unlikely top-four finishes of the recent era in the Premier League. If it weren’t for the incredible performances of Leicester City (again), the football world would be falling over itself to lavish praise on Frank Lampard and his young, ambitious, exciting team.
Right now, the team is working in perfect harmony. The senior players are leading the way, and the young lads are playing with the maturity and confidence that would normally be expected of older professionals. Any major signing could disrupt that harmony, and would therefore represent a gamble.
In footballing terms, that ‘annual salary’ would be the prize money and prestige that comes with achieving Champions League football for the 2020-2021 season. We don’t believe that Frank is a gambler, and we hope he doesn’t get the itch to become one if the ban has indeed been lifted by the time you read this.
We’re currently being linked with three players who some in the press are presenting as ‘done deals’ in the event that we’re free to go and sign them, and we believe all three of them make great examples of why we shouldn’t go and do it. Here are the three, along with our reasons why we don’t think they’d make a good fit here and now.
There’s no denying that Ben Chilwell is having a breakout season at Leicester City. His club is currently trying to tie him down to a new long-term contract, and at 22, he could be England’s first-choice left-back for the next ten years. That would make him the heir to Ashley Cole with the national side, and some might feel that it would also make him the heir to Ashley Cole at Chelsea.
Of the three players we’ve been linked with, Chilwell is the one who would be most likely to succeed. Left-back is a position we’ve been struggling with, and the majority of our fans accept that Marcos Alonso isn’t good enough to play every week. Emerson, though, might be. He makes mistakes, but he’s come on in leaps and bounds over the past few months.
Cutting him off now might damage his development just at the point where he was coming into form. A fully-integrated Emerson is still probably a better bet than a brand-new Chilwell until the end of the season. We can look at things again then.
This is the prospect that’s causing the most excitement among the press, and it’s not hard to understand why. Sancho is that most rare of players – a young English attacking winger with continental flair. When he’s fully developed, he has every chance of becoming one of the best players in the world.
He’s not there yet, though, and we have no idea how he’d cope with the rigors of playing in the English Premier League when all of his footballing education has happened in Germany. Signing Sancho would also be exceptionally unfair to Christian Pulisic.
The American was effectively pushed out of Borussia Dortmund because of Sancho’s development, and it took him a month or two to find his feet in a blue shirt. Now he’s done that, though, he’s consistently one of our best players. There’s no evidence to suggest that Sancho would be any better, and there’s no sense in spending a huge fee for a player in a position we’re already adequately covered in.
We’re being strongly linked with a move for Wilfried Zaha, and we’re honestly struggling to see why we’d want the Crystal Palace forward. He looks exceptional at Palace, but it’s easy to stand out when you’re surrounded by mediocrity. Zaha went to Manchester United and failed.
We don’t deny that he’s a gifted player – and he could probably do a job at Chelsea – but who in our first eleven would you be happy to see him replace? He’s not better than Pulisic, and we’d be happy to argue that Willian does the same job just as well. Willian isn’t going to last forever, and we all know that.
He might even leave at the end of this season, but he doesn’t need to be replaced right now. Even when it is time for him to go, we’d rather see Sancho come in than Zaha – or how about we just give more game time to Hudson-Odoi? At the risk of sounding harsh, Zaha moving to Chelsea would be an expensive answer to a question that nobody asked.
Any one of the three would cost a huge sum of money. If we landed all three, that would probably be our transfer budget used up for the next twelve months. That doesn’t make good sense to us. We’d be happy to see Chilwell arrive in the summer, but for now, we want to see Lampard’s Chelsea team stay as they are, and continue to push forward together.