The THREE players Chelsea should sign to fulfil Pochettino's January wishes
Mauricio Pochettino believes that Chelsea still need to dip into the transfer market in January, despite the fact the club have spent over €1 billion since Todd Boehly became owner last year.
The former Spurs manager’s revelation came following the 2-0 loss to Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday, with Chelsea succumbing to their second defeat in less than a week and their seventh loss of the 2023-24 Premier League season.
The Blues’ record investment over the past three transfer windows has seen a flurry of young talent join the west London club, but there are still several holes in their squad and the excess of U23 players is a problem right now.
There is a distinct lack of experience at Stamford Bridge and there is a real issue with the height of the squad, something that has plagued their season so far and is a problem that Pochettino wants to fix.
According to The Evening Standard’s Nizaar Kinsella, Pochettino wants to strengthen in three areas during the January transfer window, namely a defender, a central midfielder and a striker.
Wesley Fofana, Romeo Lavia and Christopher Nkunku logically fit into those categories, but all three players are currently injured and have not featured so far this season.
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The latter two are close to full fitness, however, and could make their competitive Chelsea debuts before the new year.
Regardless, Pochettino reportedly wants more additions, which proves the scattergun approach of signing highly-talented youngsters and not the experience needed around them, hasn’t worked.
However, if Pochettino gets his wish, then a new defender, a new central midfielder and a new striker will be arriving at Stamford Bridge this January. But, who should Chelsea target in each position?
Defender - Valentin Barco (Boca Juniors)
Left-back remains an issue at Chelsea due to Marc Cucurella’s disastrous move from Brighton, Ben Chilwell’s injury problems and Levi Colwill’s poor form in a position that doesn’t suit him.
As a result, a move for Boca Juniors star Valentin Barco makes perfect sense. The Argentine is the same nationality as Pochettino and Enzo Fernandez, which would help his adaptation to life in England, and he is extremely talented.
He doesn’t fix the leadership or experience issue, but Chilwell will fill that void when he returns to fitness and signing Barco in a similar role to Malo Gusto on the right (as a back-up to an injury-prone, more experienced option) could work well.
Chelsea have been linked with a move in the past, although Manchester City are also keen.
Central Midfielder - Amadou Onana (Everton)
Chelsea shouldn’t need to sign a new central midfielder in January whatsoever. Romeo Lavia, Moises Caicedo, Enzo Fernandez, Lesley Ugochukwu and Conor Gallagher provide plenty of depth and the likes of Andrey Santos and Cesare Casadei are currently out on loan too.
However, Pochettino evidently wants a new body in this position, which is an issue.
Amadou Onana fixes the lack of height in midfield (at 6ft 4in) and that is one of many positive elements of his game. He is capable of sitting in a deep role or advancing as a box-to-box number eight - versatility that could help Pochettino.
Central midfield shouldn’t be a priority given the investment made in the last 12 months and Lavia’s return should help things, but if Pochettino still believes it’s necessary then Onana would be a smart choice.
Striker - Victor Osimhen (Napoli)
It’s the obvious answer, but Victor Osimhen is the best striker currently available on the market.
Chelsea want to sign him and for good reason. He is excellent in the air, something that Armando Broja and Nicolas Jackson both aren’t, he runs the channels well and he can score from a variety of different chance creation methods.
Given how Romelu Lukaku’s second Chelsea spell went, there may be doubt over whether Osimhen is worth Napoli’s asking price, but the Blues need goals and the Nigerian scores them on a very regular basis.