It was a case of improving on near perfection for Chelsea in the summer transfer window. The Blues strolled to the Premier League title last season under Jose Mourinho which led to the Portuguese manager being handed a new contract. Despite enduring a difficult pre-season, Chelsea were tipped as favourites to retain their crown.
No-one would have expected Chelsea’s fall from grace this season which cost Mourinho his job. Former manager Guus Hiddink was appointed until the end of the season as they try to salvage their poor season.
Could Chelsea have strengthened better in the summer?
Pedro – £21m from Barcelona
Chelsea snatched Barcelona winger Pedro from under Manchester United’s noses in the summer as they managed to complete a £21m deal for the Spanish winger. Pedro had struggled to break into a Barcelona side dominated by Suarez, Messi and Neymar and saw Stamford Bridge as his escape route.
The five time La Liga winner and three time Champions League winner has struggled since moving to the Premier League. He made an instant impact by scoring on his debut but has only netted one goals since. The 28 year old has not adapted to the pace and intensity of the Premier League.
It is no surprise that Pedro is being linked with a move back to La Liga. Atletico Madrid have shown a strong interest in offering the winger a route back to Spain and it will surprise no-one should he cut his Premier League career short.
Abdul Rahman Baba – £14m from Augsburg
After selling Filipe Luis back to Atletico Madrid, Chelsea required more cover for the left back position. Cesar Azpilicueta, originally a right back, has made the position his own which meant less game time for Luis. The deal for Rahman suggested that the Spaniard would move back to the right and allow the new signing to slot in on the left.
However, Chelsea have kept faith in both Azpilicueta and Branislav Ivanovic in the full back positions. This has restricted Rahman to just three Premier League starts under Mourinho and the Ghanian has not played a single minute of football since Hiddink was appointed interim boss.
Rahman impressed during his final season at Augsburg and deserves the chance to show what he can do either at Chelsea or at another club. The 21 year old has admitted he is fed up of life on the subs bench and will have plenty of suitors should he choose to depart.
Asmir Begovic – £7m from Stoke
Bosnian international Asmir Begovic arrived at Stamford Bridge after establishing himself as one the best shot stoppers in the league. Begovic probably could have went to most other Premier League sides and would have been guaranteed a starting role. However, with Chelsea’s number one shirt firmly in the hands of Thibaut Courtois, he seemingly accepted a role on the bench.
Chelsea controversially sold Petr Cech to Arsenal and saw the former Stoke keeper as the perfect replacement to keep their Belgian number one on his toes. An unexpected injury to Courtois meant that Begovic was forced to step in. The 28 year old performed admirably during this time but soon lost his place when Courtois returned to full fitness.
Begovic is reportedly keen on a move away from Chelsea in search of first team action and has been linked with a move to Liverpool to replace under-fire Simon Mignolet. The Blues are reportedly scouting Hadjuk Split goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic as a potential replacement should Begovic seek a move away from Stamford Bridge.
Radamel Falcao – £5m loan fee from Monaco
Former Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao was signed by Chelsea on his second loan deal in two years following a highly unsuccessful spell with Manchester United. Mourinho believed he could get the best out of the forward who was once the most feared striker in the world.
The 29 year old has once again failed to find his form with another new club. Plagued by injury again, Falcao has not featured since October and Hiddink has described his latest injury as serious. Parent club Monaco looked into bringing the Colombian back but decided to keep the striker in London.
Chelsea have moved to bring Brazilian striker Alexandre Pato in on loan to provide striking cover as Loic Remy has also angled for a move away. Falcao has proven to be an expensive failure as the club are unlikely to find a suitor in the January transfer window meaning his £140,000 a week wages will remain on the club’s books until the end of the season.
Papy Djilobodji – £4m from Nantes
Mourinho had highlighted the need for defensive recruitment in the summer transfer window. High profile names such as Raphael Varane were linked and the Blues failed in their pursuit of Everton defender John Stones. The Blues ended up with a £4m signing of Papy Djilobodji from Nantes.
The defender was signed on deadline and was restricted to just 59 seconds of football in a Chelsea shirt during a League Cup tie against Walsall.
Dijilobodji recently completed a loan move to Bundesliga side Werder Bremen until the end of the season following a dismal spell in England.
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