Chelsea are hoping to clinch a January transfer window double by signing Thomas Lemar and Ross Barkley. Manager Antonio Conte is desperate to strengthen his squad after being frustrated all season at the lack of depth in his team.
The Italian is eyeing Monaco winger Lemar and Everton midfielder Barkley to bolster his squad, according to various reports. The ex-Italy boss has cut a frustrated figure for much of the season and has openly expressed his displeasure about the lack of transfer business done by the club last summer.
However, the Evening Standard says the Chelsea manager is now hopeful of making a couple of signings in the New Year to help boost the club’s chances for a top-four finish in the Premier League and challenge in the Champions League, Carabao Cup and the FA Cup.
England international Barkley was all set to move to London last summer after the club had a £35million bid accepted by Everton. But the 24-year-old had some reservations about joining us and made a U-turn.
Barkley has not played so far in this season after suffering a hamstring tear, although he is back in the gym and on the road to recovery. After the midfielder recovers from the hamstring injury, he would find first-team opportunities hard to come by as he is already down the pecking order under manager Sam Allardyce.
This scenario could change Barkley’s mind and he could finally join Chelsea in January after a deal collapsed in the summer. Chelsea have retained their interest in the playmaker and are willing to come back with another offer, with the player now almost certain to be on his way out of Goodison Park with his current contract expiring at the end of the season.
The English giants are also keen on Monaco star Thomas Lemar, with reports suggesting a swap deal could be on the cards that would see Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi go in the other direction. Conte doesn’t trust Batshuayi and in turn loves versatile players like Lemar, who can play on the right, left, as well as through the middle.
Meanwhile, the Blues are set to fail in their bid to sign Bayer Leverkusen star Leon Bailey in January. The 20-year-old, who joined Bayer Leverkusen from Genk in January, has scored 7 goals and 4 assists this season.
Bayer Leverkusen’s sporting director Rudi Voller has crushed Conte’s expectations by saying, “We have proven many times that we can say ‘no’. We are very relaxed.”
It looks like there is going to be some activity in January. It’d be interesting to see how Conte goes about fixing the problems in our squad.
What are your realistic expectations for January?