Rumours mount despite Jose claims
Published 10/01/2014 | 10:02
Chelsea face Hull on Saturday amid speculation Jose Mourinho is planning to be active in the transfer market despite the manager's protestations to the contrary.
Mourinho has for weeks insisted January is not the month for buying the players he needs and that Chelsea will only make a move if circumstances dictate the time is right.
Prior to last week's FA Cup win at Derby, he said: "The market is open, but for us, almost closed."
And before the defeat of Crystal Palace in mid-December, he said: "The market opens in January, but as I was saying, I don't think we will be there, buying or selling.
"If something happens it will happen (with) one player because the occasion was very good.
"We always thought to try the best with this team and wait for the right moment to improve the squad and be strong."
Gone are the days when owner Roman Abramovich writes a blank cheque, and the Blues must cope with a £49.4million loss in their most recent annual results in an era of Financial Fair Play.
Mourinho has dismissed a move for Gonzalo Higuain of Napoli and believes the "killer" striker he covets is not available at this time of year. He insisted he would be sticking with Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba.
Ba has had opportunities limited and been repeatedly linked with a switch away, including to his former club West Ham.
Inter Milan's Colombian winger Fredy Guarin has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge, but Chelsea are hardly short in the forward-thinking-midfielder department, even if Kevin De Bruyne is allowed to leave.
Belgium forward De Bruyne is eager to move amid reports linking him with Wolfsburg; all that stands in the way is the not insignificant hurdle of a fee being agreed.
Mourinho wants De Bruyne and Juan Mata, who have struggled to adopt the work ethic he has asked for, to fight for their places.
Mata has indicated he is prepared to but should the Spanish playmaker or De Bruyne be sold, Chelsea may reinvest the funds.
One player who has coped well with Mourinho's demands is Willian, the Brazil forward who Chelsea snatched from under the noses of Tottenham in August.
"The last few matches have gone very well and in each match I'm looking to do better," Willian told Chelsea TV.
"I'm looking to keep up good form until the end of the season."
Chelsea have won four of their last five games, conceding one goal, but will be wary of Hull, who beat Liverpool at the KC Stadium in early December and Fulham 6-0 in their most recent home match.
Chelsea played some of their best football of the season against Hull in Mourinho's first match of his second spell in charge in August and the Portuguese will hope for a similar showing on Saturday.