Chelsea lining up two-pronged pursuit in bid to rescue season

Chelsea look to have lost too much ground already to defend their title, so it is no surprise that remedies to their ailments will be sought when January arrives.

With the Premier League briefly paused, the Daily Mirror suggest Chelsea’s failed bid to land John Stones in the summer, will not perturb the Londoners from mounting a fresh effort to buy Everton’s classy young centre-half in January.

The Blues’ attempts to rejuvenate a faltering defence – who have conceded nine more goals this season than they had by the same point last term – will also see Paris St-Germain centre-half Marquinhos targeted again, according to the paper.

Chelsea had a bid of around £38m rejected buy the Toffees in August, but the catastrophic start to their season will ensure the Londoners return with even more cash on the table in the next transfer window.

It was a similarly story when the champions tried in vain to bring Brazilian defender Marquinhos to Stamford Bridge before the season commenced.

PSG followed the Toffees’ lead in rebuffing a Chelsea bid, but Jose Mourinho’s wavering faith in his favoured centre-back pairing has placed renewed emphasis on recruitment in January.

John Terry has come under the most scrutiny from Mourinho, with the Portuguese dropping his skipper several times early in the season, while Gary Cahill has not escaped criticism for his performances either.

It was unfathomable before the campaign began that Chelsea would be languishing in 16th after eight games, priced at 20/1 to defend the title they strolled to in 2014/15.

Both Stones and Marquinhos, 21, are considered among the brightest talents in world football in their positions, so capturing the pair in the same transfer window would be a coup even by Chelsea standards, where money has seldom been an object.

The stakes have rarely seemed this desperate in the Roman Abramovich era though.

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