Chelsea owner Todd Boehly and coach Graham Potter put their master plan into action during the January transfer window. Called “Project 2030” it involves signing young progressive players on long contracts who will lay the foundations for a long-lasting powerful squad. That was Boehly’s motivation for buying the club and he has thrilled Blues’ fans with his determination for the club to succeed. Enzo Fernandez is the big transfer window news.
The Argentine World Cup winner finally came through the door at Stamford Bridge for £105million and the 21-year-old has joined as part of Boehly and Potter’s project plan. He prefers to operate from a central position but Potter intends to allow him to move forward, shooting from range and making direct passing assists. He was voted best young player at the Qatar World Cup.
David Datro Fofana was first to sign and supporters expected him to go out loan but Potter will probably keep him close in their Cobham training headquarters. Chelsea management believes his value will increase considerably. Monaco permanent signing Benoit Badiashile is another for the future at only 21-years-of-age and he is on a seven-year deal. Andrey Santos is only 18 years of age and also fits the club’s “Project 2030”.
Santos will probably go into the development squad alongside many other brilliantly talented youngsters. One option is to use him as a long term as a replacement for Jorginho who left for Arsenal. One exception to the “Project 2030”is Joao Felix, signed on a six-month loan but at the moment there is no arrangement to extend the deal at the end of the season. He will feature in the first team.
Mykhailo Mudryk should have joined Arsenal however the Blues moved swiftly to secure his signature. Again he is young at 22 years and one for the future. Noni Madueke is Chelsea’s sixth signing and from Dutch club PSV Eindhoven. PSV had already sold Cody Gakpo to Liverpool and did not want to lose right back Madueke but the 20-year-old winger pressed for the move and was successful.
Malo Gusto again was not for sale by his French club Lyon and will remain with them until the end of the season but he is now a Chelsea registered player. There is a belief within the club that if Gusto maintains his current progress he will become a truly world class player.
Boehly believes in his masterplan and has spent over £500million to prove his long-term Chelsea intentions.
At the beginning of January Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta outlined his need to strengthen his central defence, central midfield and out on the wing. When the clock reached 11pm on Tuesday, to end the transfer window, his wishes had been granted. Leandro Trossard and Jakub Kiwior had joined earlier and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho was on his way to the Emirates. The Gunners also managed to loan out Albert Sambi Lokonga to Crystal Palace and ship out Cedric Soares to Fulham. Polish international Kiwior talked with Arteta in December and having previously played in midfield and on the left-hand side of the pitch in a back three, he is exactly what the coach desired. He will compete with Gabriel and give the first team squad options in central defence. The fans’ good mood was dashed when it was learned that Mohamed Elneny’s knee injury will possibly be long term however the Gunner’s spent too long going after Brighton’s Moises Caicedo. Brighton’s management held firm and refused to let him leave. Hence the last-minute dash for 30-year-old Jorginho who is a better player than Elneny and Lokongo and cost only £12million. Arteta finally believes the club is now on course for the Premier League title and Trossard, Kiwior and Jorginho have definitely improved Arsenal’s chances of winning.
Tottenham coach Antonio Conte spent some time talking with chairman Daniel Levy and told him that he had to buy two players who would be vital in strengthening the squad. Pedro Porro is a strong forceful right-back and has the speed and power to cope with the Premier League. His five-year contract gives Tottenham a player for the future given he is still only 23 years-old. Porro, who will wear the No23 shirt, played as a winger for Portugese club Sporting Lisbon and likes to run down the wing taking on opponents.
Danjuma has been brought in specifically to cover an injury prone forward line. It is true the deal is only a six-month loan for £3million and £60k a week wages but the Netherlands star is a good back-up for Son and Kane. Danjuma scored 16 goals and made four assists in his first season for Villareal and has scored six in 17 games this season. He likes playing on the wing, cutting inside and shooting for goal but Antonio Conte has other ideas. He plans to play Danjuma at No10 or as a straight striker to add fire power to an already strong forward line.
Tottenham fans are not completely overjoyed however as the team have seen 21 goals scored against them in 10 games whereas they are the third highest scorers in the PL. Many think defence should have been the main target. When questioned on this, Conte pointed to the fact that in the last six games Spurs have had four clean sheets.
Matt Doherty’s leaving caught many by surprise including his close friends Harry Kane and Eric Dier. Tottenham did not intend to sell Doherty however with Emerson Royal playing well, his game time was limited and a loan to Atletico Madrid was favoured. However, an assistant at the club fortunately realised that under new FIFA rules only eight players are allowed to go out on international loan and Doherty would have made it nine so a sale was negotiated with Atletico Madrid. Spurs have Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso, Reguilon, Bryan Gil, Harry Winks, Rodon, Djed Spence and Destiny Udogie out on loan.
Manchester City started the season with Joao Cancelo in defence however Guardiola was constantly on his back, picking out faults and finger pointing during games and he came down hard on him in training. Joao considers himself a star and demands respect and Guardiola’s negative treatment was never going to end happily. Cencelo is a fans’ favourite at the Etihad Stadium and he has been named in the PFA Premier League team for the last two seasons. He has scored nine goals and 22 assists since joining the Light Blues four years ago. The relationship between Guardiola and Cancelo became almost toxic and an icy frost describes the atmosphere whenever they were together, especially on the training field where the pair clashed in a heated argument recently. Cancelo flew to Germany on Monday and went straight to Bayern Munich’s headquarters where he underwent a medical prior to finalising his loan move for the rest of the season. There is an option for Bayern to sign him for £60million at the end of the season. There was only ever going to be one winner in this dispute and Cancelo was the loser although he admits he is looking forward to playing for Bayern. Guardiola is happy with his squad and only midfielder Maximo Perrone has arrived. The 20-year-old Argentine will train with the first team squad but probably not play and might go out on loan in the summer to gain experience.
Manchester United have not spent much by their standards with three loanees arriving: Jack Butland in goal but he will be third choice, Burnley’s Wout Weghorst now finds himself leading the forward strike force and has impressed coach Erik Ten Hag who plans to use him more than he originally planned. The third player to arrive is dynamic Austrian midfielder Marcel Sabitzer who has been loaned by Bayern Munich. He has been brought in due to the horrific injury to Christian Eriksen who could be out with an ankle injury until April or even May.