Yann M’Vila: Chelsea’s biggest position of need is arguably defensive midfielder, and M’Vila, at 21, is already one of the world’s best defensive midfielders, or, more accurately, deep-lying playmakers. M’Vila lead France in successful passes, interceptions, and tackles in qualifying, and has completed the most passes in Ligue 1 the past two seasons. Current Rennes manager Frederic Antonetti wasn’t exaggerating by much when he claimed that M’Vila “reads the game like Makelele, has the presence of Viera and can pass the ball like Yaya Toure.”
M’Vila is also very athletic and incredibly disciplined. With a little bit more consistency, and that will come with time, in the right club, he will play like a better version of Xabi Alonso.
Hulk is Chelsea’s main transfer target right now, and for good reason— he is extremely fast and physical, can score or assist from anywhere on the pitch, and could adapt well to the Premier League—but, with many other options out there, Chelsea must be wary of paying an over-inflated transfer fee.
The best alternative to Hulk is undoubtedly Alan Dzagoev, also a right winger. While buying a player right after a breakout tournament is normally not a good idea, Dzagoev has stated that he is a fan of Chelsea, and Abramovich has connections with CSKA, so Chelsea might be able to snag Dzagoev before the bidding rose too high. Besides, Chelsea have the money, and Dzagoev’s performance has been coming for a time.
Russia were eliminated in the group stage, which could also lower prices, but Dzagoev was truly extraordinary. He scored three of Russia’s five goals on only 11 shots, and was their past offensive player in the lackluster game against Greece, creating seven chances, and putting two dangerous headers narrowly off target. Even more impressively, despite being a winger-forward, he lead the team in tackling, and was successful in all twelve of his tackles this tournament.
Overall, Dzagoev is younger and less expensive than Hulk, and has at least as much potential, but is far less likely to successfully adapt to the EPL.
Mathieu Debuchy: In the crisis position of right-back, Van der Weil has been the name linked most often to Chelsea, but, like many others, they seem to have been left disgusted by his performances this tournament, and have been linked with a much solider player, Mathieu Debuchy, who will only cost 6 million pounds.
If true, it will be the deal of the summer, as Debuchy is a player who has Champions League experience, and is now starting for France at Euro 2012, but Debuchy may prefer to stay in Ligue One. More on Debuchy here.
Jakub Blaszczykowski: The Pole is not one of my favorite players, as I believe he isn’t good enough defensively to make up for his brilliant attacking play. However, he has been great this season for Dortmund, and could well be worth taking a risk on, as Dortmund have been known to let players go for relatively cheap prices, and Blaszczykowski, or Kuba, is not likely to start for them next season.
If Abramovich wants to add another winger, and it seems that he does, Willian and Ben Arfa are also options.
Others: Marouane Fellaini and Joao Moutinho are two of the world’s most underrated players; they could fit into the “2” in the 4-2-3-1, possibly as a long-term replacement for Lampard. Both players won’t come to Chelsea, but one is a must, even with M’Vila, to build squad depth.
The team could also use another forward, especially if Torres leaves. The latest club linked to the Spaniard are Juventus, but a trade with Atletico Madrid for Falcao might be a better option.
If the Blues doesn’t need a world-class striker (if Torres doesn’t leave), they could still use a back-up here. Using Hulk as forward was likely the original plan, but, if he doesn’t arrive, there are a lack of realistic targets that have been linked to Chelsea. Newcastle’s Demba Ba, who came out of nowhere to have a great 2011-12 season, is the probable signing, but he might regress again.
Worryingly, but predictably, there have been very few rumors about potential defensive targets. The defense is very thin, and, instead of making a panic buy in the January transfer window, they should adress this issue now. At the very least, a right-back, preferably Debuchy, is needed.
We get Hulk, M’Vila, Fellaini, Debuchy, and a Center-back.
-Chelsea got a very favorable 2012-13 schedule; they host both City and United right after European action.
-RDM was named manager earlier this week, but only for two years.