Jose Mourinho is playing his cards close to his chest, but the Chelsea manager has confirmed his main aim this summer will be to add a new defender to his squad at Stamford Bridge.
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Mourinho, 52, is currently in Montreal as Chelsea continue their preseason preparations ahead of the 2015-16 campaign and the Portuguese boss believes the reigning Premier League champions are well balanced but need one more player in defense.
Reports say the Blues have had a $30 million bid for Everton’s central defender John Stones rejected, but it seems like Mourinho may go back in for the 21-year-old ball-playing center back as he informed the media on Sunday that he likes Stones and Chelsea have made a bid for the England international.
Speaking to Sky Sports from Quebec ahead of the start of their International Champions Cup games this week, Mourinho had the following to say about Chelsea’s squad.
“I am looking for a defender to finish this balance in our squad and after that we are ready to answer anything that can happen to our players,” Mourinho said. “If one of our players in a specific position wants to leave, we agree a deal for a player to leave and we have to answer immediately and bring in somebody else, because at the moment we have balance in the squad and we cannot lose that.”
So, who do the Blues currently have in a defense which conceded just 32 times in 38 PL games last season?
Captain John Terry played every single second of Chelsea’s title winning campaign last year and the 34-year-old formed a formidable partnership with Gary Cahill at the heart of the defense. Terry won’t go on forever thought and youngster Kurt Zouma impressed whenever he stepped in. Apart from those three players, Chelsea can only call on Branislav Ivanovic to slot in at center back from right back and they have Cesar Azpilicueta and Filipe Luis battling it out for the left back berth.
Youngsters Andreas Christensen and Tomas Kalas will spend next season out on loan and Nathan Ake is still a few years away from being a regular. Reinforcements are needed at the back.
One area Mourinho doesn’t need to strengthen is on the wing, as he confirmed that Egyptian winger Mohammed Salah can leave if a club matches his valuation with Chelsea currently possessing five wide players. Mourinho mentioned they may move to replace Salah if he leaves, but it is believed that Barcelona attacker Pedro is not on his radar.
For now the priority seems to be getting Stones from Everton, as Chelsea aim to improve the PL’s best defense from last season.