Of all the deals the Premier League’s four most likely title challengers have made this summer, Chelsea’s collective effort rates as the most underwhelming.
Despite looking in real danger of committing the cardinal sin of defending champions and standing still in the transfer market, Ladbrokes still rate the Blues as title favourites at 7/4, even though their three closest challengers have strengthened.
11/4 Manchester City have spent heavily, albeit largely on Raheem Sterling, Arsenal have brought in the high-class goalkeeper many believe will make their 4/1 title price a real gem and Manchester United have embarked on another spending spree.
Compared to all that activity, Chelsea’s – which at the time of writing stands at Radamel Falcao, Asmir Begovic and two young attacking Brazilians in Kenedy and Nathan – looks worrying.
Admittedly, the Blues have only lost two of the title-winning squad of last season in Filipe Luis and Petr Cech, but considering the moves their competitors have made to bridge the gap, Jose Mourinho’s decision to do nothing to stay ahead could prove costly.
Not long after the end of the last campaign, Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville wondered whether the Special One would fill the last remaining hole in his managerial CV, by building a dynasty at Chelsea and enjoying Premier League domination for years to come.
Neville suggested that with one major signing – he offered Gareth Bale as an example – the rest of the division could have a long wait on their hands to taste Premier League success.
That marquee name hasn’t arrived though, with Falcao no more than the club’s third striker and Begovic simply taking over Cech’s position on the bench.
No back up left-back to replace Luis and a concern over the club’s central midfield options show that all is not straightforward for the Blues’ title defence, which starts with a 1/3-rated home game against Swansea.
While all three of their competitors have welcomed headline-grabbing names to their club this summer, and that doesn’t even take into account Liverpool’s monumental window, Mourinho has changed his mind on whether his club need any over the course of the offseason.
Whether he was right to stand still will only be revealed come May.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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