Reports: Chelsea to splash £200m on five new signings in January
Antonio Conte will be backed in the transfer market following the departure of Michael Emenalo
What's the story?
Chelsea are all set to break the bank with a £200 million shopping spree in January, according to a report in British news outlet, The Daily Mail. The report claims that the Blues board are ready to back Antonio Conte in the transfer market, after the departure of Michael Emenalo. The Italian manager has drawn up a list that includes Lyon defender Mouctar Diakhaby, Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, Juventus left-back Alex Sandro, Paris St-Germain winger Lucas Moura and Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke - in deals that will take Chelsea's spending upwards of the £200 million mark.
Manchester City's incredible start to the season has left Chelsea worried, with manager Antonio Conte hinting that the Blues need to spend to compete. He said "City in this season is a strong team, also last season, City was a fantastic team. Then, after the transfer market, they bought their first targets and then they have improved a lot."
"They can do this also in January maybe, in the future. For this reason, we must be worried because if we want to compete with Manchester City we have to work and then make the best decisions in the transfer market."
The heart of the matter
Gary Cahill's fall from grace has meant that Chelsea are in the market for a central-defender, coupled with David Luiz' falling out with Antonio Conte. 20-year-old Mouctar Diakhaby has been ever-present for Lyon in their impressive start to the campaign, and would represent a long-term buy for Chelsea.
In contrast, Ross Barkley, Alex Sandro, Lucas Moura and Christian Benteke would all be short-term purchases with little resale value. However, they would significantly improve the strength of the threadbare Chelsea squad as they compete in all four competitions as the season progresses.
Marina Granovskaia's takeover of the transfer business following Emenalo's departure will loosen Roman Abramovich's purse-strings, with a view to keeping the Italian manager at the club.
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With Manchester City now 11 points ahead of Chelsea, it might be too little too late from the Blues to have finally backed their manager. Conte repeatedly used pre-season to ask the hierarchy at Chelsea to strengthen his squad, to no avail. The January transfer market is an inflated one, and even if Chelsea do splash £200 million, it may not guarantee them the Premier League title come the end of the season, although the UEFA Champions League trophy always remains a distinct possibility.