James or Verratti? How Chelsea will spend record Oscar fee
Following the Blues’ decision to allow the Brazil international to move to China, here’s a look at how the club may look to use the money in January
Chelsea’s have made their sale of Oscar to Shanghai SIPG for £52 million official after negotiations progressed quickly last week and they may look to bring in a face or two to replace the midfielder.
Antonio Conte described the offer as “amazing” and Oscar is set to triple his wages as he makes the move east to the Chinese Super League, which has quickly become one of football’s superpowers.
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The Blues boss went as far as to say that he is “sorry” to see Oscar leave and that he will be meeting with his board to discuss incoming targets for January, which offers a subtle hint that Chelsea might be ready to reinvest.
Chelsea are top of the Premier League table and six points clear at Christmas which means that they are not desperate to do business, but they will look at options for their defence and midfield ahead of what might be a busier than usual winter window for all clubs. Here is exactly who the club have been monitoring and who they might spend their Christmas money on in the January sales.
James Rodriguez fits Chelsea’s profile as a potential January target as they prepare to add John Obi Mikel to their sale of Oscar ahead of January, while a boost to their forward line would be welcome with the club becoming overly reliant on inspiration from Diego Costa and Eden Hazard.
The Real Madrid star has found it difficult to find himself a regular spot since his €80 million move from Monaco in 2014 and he has recently revealed that he has offers to leave Spain in January. The Colombian would be cup-tied for the Champions League, but Chelsea have missed out on European competition last season and are well placed to take advantage ahead of the January window.
Chelsea have also been linked with a move for Marco Verratti in January, but Paris Saint-Germain will resist all approaches for the Italy star throughout the January window, but they could continue their interest into the summer.
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Conte is also monitoring the progress of Antonie Griezmann after his remarkable efforts for Atletico Madrid and France. The forward will have many suitors should he become available but Chelsea feel they have the financial clout to compete.
Fiorentina’s Milan Badelj and Internazionale’s Geoffrey Kondogbia are also available in January and Conte is a fan of both midfielders and would consider using some of the funds to sign the want-away stars in cut-price deals.
Chelsea had been watching Inter’s Marcelo Brozovic but will drop their interest after he signed a new deal at the club, while they are also monitoring Tiemoue Bakayoko of Monaco.
Meanwhile, away from the options available to replace Oscar in a like-for-like move, Chelsea are keen to strengthen their defence but recent performances might allow Conte to approach this market slightly more cautiously.
Hoffenheim centre-back, Niklas Sule, tops Chelsea’s list as a long-term target as he continues to respect at the top of the Bundesliga table, but he won’t be available in January.
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Chelsea failed in a bid for Alessio Romagnoli in the summer and continue to target him, but have dropped their interest in signing Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli, who was their number one defensive target before they brought in David Luiz on deadline day.
Conte is a fan of Juventus’s Leonardo Bonucci but he is unavailable after signing a new deal. Roma duo, Kostas Manolas and Antonio Rudiger, are targets for Chelsea in the summer but won’t be signed in the winter transfer window.
Chelsea face the possible departures of John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic in the summer and Conte has a list of young, English defenders that he would like to sign including Burnley’s Michael Keane, Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson and Tottenham’s Ben Davies.
Goal understands that Ivanovic remains positive that he can earn a new contract at Chelsea, but Terry has yet to begin talks over a renewal on his contract that expires in June 2017. He will begin talks toward the end of January.
Chelsea will be able to spend more than most clubs in world football in the next two transfer windows after they continue to receive money from the Premier League’s record breaking TV deal, ahead of a likely return to the Champions League, and as they move from Adidas to their £60 million-a-year Nike shirt sponsorship deal.