Barring any departures, Chelsea are one defensive signing away from finalising their squad for 2015/16, claimed Jose Mourinho in explaining their interest in Everton’s John Stones.
He said: “I am looking for a defender to finish this balance in our squad. After that, we are ready to answer anything that can happen to our players.” On the centre-back situation, he added: “We have three. We have two who are more than 30. We’d like to have two who are less than 25, which would give us the next ten years.”
This confirms that – against Betting.Betfair’s advice – they are taking the risky decision not to boost their starting side post-Premier League title win, with Asmir Begovic and Radamel Falcao replacing 2014/15 understudies Petr Cech and Didier Drogba. They are [2.72] favourites to retain regardless.
Despite Roberto Martinez expressing irritation about Chelsea’s pursuit of Stones going public, the Blues are 4/6 on the Betfair Sportsbook to get their man. It will be costly though, with the initial rejected bid believed to have been for around £20 million.
As the previous Everton youngster to join a Champions League team (Jack Rodwell to Manchester City in 2012) now warms Sunderland’s bench, the wisdom of such an outlay is questionable.
Another purchase that the Londoners now appear to be regretting is February’s £23.3 million splurge on Fiorentina winger Juan Cuadrado. The 27-year-old went on to start four games, and there are reports that Mourinho is happy to sell if they are able to make most of their money back.
If Liverpool are intending to play with wide men next season, something that the impending arrival of Christian Benteke is perceived to render more likely, then they would be foolish not to at least investigate the possibility of bringing in the Colombian.
Glen Johnson and Daniel Sturridge have demonstrated this decade that players who don’t succeed at Chelsea can still go on to impress at Anfield and the winger should prove to be an upgrade on the likes of Lazar Markovic and Adam Lallana.
The Reds are judged to have conducted better transfer business this summer than last, being backed in from 4.5 to [3.9] to deliver a top-four finish as a result.