Vardy, Berahino and Teixeira on shopping radar as Blues seek spending solution
Jamie Vardy Saido Berahino and Shakhtar Donetsk forward Alex Teixeira on Chelsea's radar as they attempt to address astonishing loss of form
Chelsea will attempt to make January signings to help drag the club out of their current malaise, despite manager Jose Mourinho reiterating he has no right to ask for new players after the latest defeat.
Mourinho took training on Sunday, following the loss to Bournemouth, and is preparing his side for Wednesday night’s vital Champions League game against Porto, having yet to be informed of a change to his position by owner Roman Abramovich.
But it remains to be seen whether or not Chelsea will allow Mourinho the final say on targets or, instead, pursue players the club believe will be good signings, with the future of the Portuguese again looking uncertain.
While Mourinho was effectively told he had to turn around Chelsea’s season with the players he already has in the statement that was released with the intention of backing him in October, there is an acceptance that the squad would be boosted by the arrival of one or two new faces.
Chelsea are determined not to panic buy or cast aside their carefully made transfer plans, but it is becoming increasingly obvious the club need to add to their attacking options and would benefit from a new defensive player either in midfield or at the back.
In terms of attacking players, technical director Michael Emenalo has been assessing Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, West Bromwich Albion’s Saido Berahino and Shakhtar Donetsk forward Alex Teixeira.
But Mourinho may prefer to bid for a more recognised star such as Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain, while he knows free agent Emmanuel Adebayor well from their spell together at Real Madrid.
The obvious current quandary surrounds how long Mourinho will be around to work with any players Chelsea try to sign. There are no long-term guarantees over his position and a defeat to Porto and elimination from the Champions League would place enormous pressure on his shoulders.
Mourinho’s own admission that Chelsea may not be able to finish in the top four and qualify for next season’s Champions League will also come into the club’s thinking as they decide the type of players they attempt to sign.
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Missing out on the Champions League will cost the Blues at least £40m and, while increased television revenue and various commercial deals will help to soften the blow, that will need to be accounted for.
Chelsea could boost their January funds by selling Juan Cuadrado to Juventus in a permanent £16m deal and create space on the wage bill by allowing Radamel Falcao to cut short his loan spell if an interested club can be found.
A blank against Bournemouth, whose only previous clean sheet away from home this season had come against Hartlepool in the Capital One Cup, meant Chelsea have now scored just one goal in their last four Premier League games.
While Mourinho once again insisted he will not ask Abramovich for new signings, his assessment that the team’s goalscoring problems is down to individuals suggests he believes the club should invest in a new forward.
“Scoring goals is a lot about individuals,” said Mourinho. “The creation’s collective, but the finishing’s something very individual. We didn't score against Stoke or Tottenham. We scored one goal to beat Norwich. It's difficult for us to score goals.”
Diego Costa once again started on the substitutes’ bench for the visit of Bournemouth and looked more likely to earn a red card than add to his meagre tally of four goals this season after he was introduced for the second half.
Eden Hazard was one of Chelsea’s better players, but it is now 25 games since he last netted for Mourinho’s team. Willian is the club’s top scorer with six goals, but none of them have come from open play, while Pedro Rodriguez, Oscar and Falcao have one apiece in the Premier League.
Chelsea’s best hope of a goal against newly-promoted Bournemouth came in the form of a penalty appeal that was incorrectly ignored by referee Michael Jones after Costa’s low cross clearly hit the arm of the sliding Simon Francis.
Despite spending much of the second half on the back foot, the visitors created the better chances during the opening period and forced returning Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois into good saves from Junior Stanislas and Joshua King.
Courtois, though, was partly at fault for the 82nd-minute goal that condemned Chelsea to their eighth Premier League defeat of the season and means they are 14 points behind fourth-placed Manchester United and only three above the relegation zone.
The Belgian failed to punch a Stanislas corner away from danger and Steve Cook hooked the ball back towards goal for substitute Glenn Murray to nod in after only being sent on 99 seconds earlier.
Chelsea’s loyal fans, who have effectively saved Mourinho up to this point with their continual chanting of his name, loudly booed their disapproval at the final whistle with Abramovich watching from his seat.
Losing games is bad enough for Mourinho, but losing the Stamford Bridge fans would almost certainly spell the end.
Midfielder Nemanja Matic agreed with Mourinho’s admission that the gap between Chelsea and fourth place may now be too wide for them to claw back.
Matic said: “We are in a difficult moment, in a difficult situation, so it's going to be hard to come back from this, but we have to try to resolve this problem, we have to go hard and try to recover.”