With the official announcement of Mourinho as Chelsea manager, and even beforehand, there has been mass speculation as to who he will be signing and bringing with him to London for the upcoming season. With next season’s Premier League betting under way we thought we’d take a look at which signings Mourinho is being tipped to make for Chelsea.
Before departing from his role as interim manager at Chelsea, Benitez hinted that the club would be spending heavily over the summer. However upon his arrival, Mourinho has played down this talk. Speaking during his first interview for Chelsea TV, he said:
[quote]We have to improve the team, and when I say improve the team people are already thinking about how many millions Chelsea are going to spend, and when I say improve the team I am saying improving by work. My work has to improve players and improve the team. If I don’t do that I am not happy with myself. If after that we can improve the team by buying a couple of players it is fantastic but I have to improve the team and the players with my work. That’s a priority, improve. [/quote]
Mourinho may have made the improvement of the current squad his priority, but it is still widely expected that a number of players will be signed during this transfer window. Making use of both media speculation and betting odds, we can assess which targets are most likely to join Chelsea as things stand, as well as which are most likely to join first.
Schurrle is the player most heavily linked to Chelsea and has been for a long time. Indeed, Chelsea made strong attempts to sign the left-sided attacking midfielder last summer, attempts that ultimately failed, and it has been made no secret that they are after the man again.
Currently, there are no odds available on Schurrle to Chelsea, but it is certainly possible that he will become Mourinho’s first signing. It seems that the only potential hitch will be over Bayer Leverkusen finding a replacement for him, be that Kevin De Bruyne or another player (Son Heung-Min has most recently been linked to Leverkusen as a replacement). Although Rudi Voller, the German club’s general manager, has confirmed today that no deal has been reached yet, Chelsea have made it evident that they are serious about this signing, and Leverkusen have similarly demonstrated that they are willing to sell. The lack of odds is possibly down to the likelihood of the deal, that he is not linked with anyone but Chelsea, and because it is hard to predict if Leverkusen shall find a replacement (if that is indeed what is holding it up).
I may have referred to this as “Mourinho’s first signing” but in reality it would be more of a club signing. Before Mourinho came back to Chelsea one might have predicted that that he would demand full control over transfers, but the fact that this link has not died down since his arrival suggests that the Chelsea board and non-management staff continue to play a large role in player transfers. Moreover the club has probably been speaking to Mourinho a long time before he signed, and he has done nothing to quash this year long saga.
In 34 appearances, Schurrle netted 11 times and provided 7 assists in the Bundesliga last season. It’s an impressive tally, but it will be a controversial signing if it involves Kevin De Bruyne going the other way on loan, since he has 10 goals and 9 assists himself and is arguably the better player.
Edin Dzeko 8/13
Dzeko has recently seen his betting odds for joining Chelsea plummet from 20/1 to 8/13. This seemed more or less unrelated to any kind of media speculation and a lot more to do with betting patterns.
On the 4th of June, Sky Bet’s Richard Evison commented:
[quote]All the money today seems to signal Edin Dzeko is set for a surprise switch to Stamford Bridge. The money has come following the appointment of Jose Mourinho, who maybe in the market for a big target man. We were 20/1 earlier this morning, but cutting the price has not put people off and we have been forced to cut the price to 8/11.[/quote]
Dzeko has been linked with a move away from Manchester City for some time amid his own discontent and with City’s desire to bring in a new striker. With Chelsea in the market for a forward this move certainly seems feasible, despite Manchester City’s and Chelsea’s Premier League rivalry.
As things stand it seems that the most likely player to join Chelsea is Schurrle. However it is harder to say who would be Mourinho’s first signing, and Dzeko is the bookies current favourite.
Edinson Cavani 3/2
On the topic of strikers, Edinson Cavani is the next most likely player to join Chelsea. Falcao was meant to be the big money signing that fans dreamed of, but even before his move to Monaco Cavani had also been linked with a move to Chelsea. At 3/2, Chelsea are the favourites to sign him, ahead of Real Madrid at 9/4 and ManchesterCity at 3/1.
Cavani reached 29 goals in the league last season in 34 appearances, and any deal that is struck for him could see Chelsea paying in excess of £45 million. It’s doubtful that Cavani will be Chelsea’s first signing, since there is a lot of competition for his signature, and also because there would likely be a lot of haggling over the price. Napoli, for example, will do their best to force Chelsea (or any other club) into paying the full amount of his buy-out clause, which is 63 million Euros.
Wayne Rooney 3/1
Rooney follows Cavani and Dzeko as the next most likely striker to be signed by Mourinho. Going by Sky Bet’s odds, he is 3/1 to sign for Chelsea. That said he is also 3/1 to go to PSG and the odds of him going to Arsenal are 5/1.
Rooney’s desire to leave Manchester United is very much public knowledge after Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed that he had handed in a transfer request. It’s not the first time that he has tried to force a move away from the club, and last time he was convinced to stay and even signed a new contract. If they are not able to convince him to stay this time around however, this could be one of the biggest transfers of the season.
If Mourinho does sign him, it is likely to be a long and drawn out affair, complex as the situation is. It is also likely to depend on whether Chelsea sign any other strikers during the summer. So whilst it is possible that Chelsea may get Rooney, it is very unlikely that he would be Mourinho’s first signing.
Daniele De Rossi 3/1
The Roma midfielder is currently 3/1 on to be signed by Mourinho. James Horncastle, sports journalist and writer for the Guardian, tweeted on the 4th of June that Chelsea had put in an offer of 10 million Euros and that Roma were willing to sell, but that Chelsea would have to offer more money than that. Compared to recent signings he is far older (29) and more experienced than what Chelsea have been going for.
This is a relatively new link, and so more is likely to be revealed about how serious Chelsea are over the coming days. If it were to come to fruition however it is likely to be a simpler transfer than that of any striker that Chelsea will bring in, especially if they have been in contact with Roma and De Rossi for a long time. For that reason this transfer, though a little out of the blue, could have the potential to be Mourinho’s first signature.
After one of the most relentless transfer saga’s of last summer then finished with Hulk joining Zenit St Petersburg, he is once again 3/1 to come to Chelsea. He endured a difficult start to the season in Russia, not gelling well with the fans or the manager, but he finished the campaign strongly and ended up being voted their player of the season.
With Chelsea in need of a naturally right sided player, this transfer is very much still on the cards. This season he has scored 11 goals and grabbed 8 assists and it would just come down to whether Zenit are willing to sell. Again, this is a relatively new transfer rumour that has grown since Hulk’s recent comments that made it clear that he still had interest in a move to Chelsea.
Considering that he is partially controlled by third party ownership, that the last transfer saga went on for so long and that he has only been in Russia for one season, I cannot see him being signed any time soon if this truly is a possibility.
Steven Jovetic 5/1
The Fiorentina forward is the last striker to be linked with Chelsea at the moment, and is 5/1 to join Chelsea this summer. He is however more likely to go to Arsenal at 7/4, although Chelsea have been known to hijack Arsenal targets before. Juventus are also making efforts to sign him at 6/1.
Jovetic has scored 13 goals in 31 appearances, and has 5 assists. As I have said, the striker(s) that Chelsea will eventually sign depends on other deals. It doesn’t seem that Jovetic is Chelsea’s first choice, and so if he does sign it will likely not be for a while. Despite reports that Jovetic would prefer Chelsea over Arsenal, the former’s interest doesn’t seem to be high enough quite yet.
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