Famous last words, right? Particularly from a club with Chelsea’s resources, any declaration the spending’s done seems presumptive, particularly with six weeks to go in the transfer window. As they showed while swiping Willian from Tottenham last summer, Chelsea’s always ready to jump back into the market.
According to manager José Mourinho, however, that’s unlikely happen, and while this may be our reminder not to trust “The Special One,” Mourinho’s view of Chelsea’s summer dealings may provide some insight into to how the Blues’ impending plans.
“I have to say my club did a fantastic job and not just because of what we bought but a fantastic job because we did it almost in record time,” Mourinho said. “The market closes at 31 August and we close our market on 19 July. We finished our market today … We knew the targets, we knew the players. The club attacked them and their clubs at a very early stage …”
Those targets: midfielder Cesc Fábregas (formerly of Barcelona); striker Diego Costa (Atlético Madrid); and fullback Felipe Luis (Atlético). Thibaut Courtois, Marko Marin, Oriol Romeu, and Ryan Bertrand are returning from loan, while the club could get full seasons from Mohamed Salah and Marco van Ginkel. Even beyond the club’s new signings, Chelsea should get a significant boost from the team that finished last year’s season.
That team finished last season with the league’s third-best goal difference, though thanks to their league-leading defense, their pythagorean ranking painted a slightly more favorable picture. Considering the team’s lack of production from the striker position, Costa’s acquisition alone could be enough to close the gap between themselves and Manchester City.
More from Mourinho:
“We feel our squad is what we want. We don’t want a squad of only finished products. We want to bring to the first team three or four under-21 players. We are going to develop players and are happy with this balance we have.”
Balance may be the key word. Between a great defense and an attacking midfield built around Eden Hazard and Óscar, Chelsea had enough to compete for a title. But the team also had some obvious flaws, limiting the flexibility Mourinho had with his squad.
How far Fábregas and Costa go toward correcting those flaws will determine whether the Blues should have spent more this summer. Right now, they look like a team capable of reclaiming the title, something that’s of limited value before the season actually starts.