Chelsea are now clear second favourites in the Premier League odds to win the title, but they may still be overpriced at 11/4, particularly with Juan Manuel Mata on the brink of signing from Valencia.
A fee has been agreed between Chelsea and Valencia, thought to be around £23m, and now the transfer is only hinging on the Spanish World Cup winner agreeing personal terms and passing a medical.
Mata has been linked with a move to London for a large part of the summer, with Arsenal expected to sign him as a replacement for Cesc Fabregas.
However, with Arsenal failing to have an offer accepted, Chelsea have taken the opportunity to strengthen their midfield.
Mata will hand Chelsea an array of options and he could be considered a younger version of Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta, in terms of playing style.
This means that he could replace Ramires in one of the three central midfielders positions or he could add some extra flair and creativity in the wide areas to support a lone striker, whether it be Fernando Torres, Didier Drogba or even Romelu Lukaku.
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas said: “His curriculum speaks for itself. He’s a player who scores and assists and he can add to any squad in the world.”
But with Mata most likely to play in the wide areas, it is unlikely that his arrival will cause Chelsea to pull out of their chase for Tottenham’s Luka Modric.
Chelsea’s net expenditure has not been particularly high for their standards this summer and there is a strong case that they will look to use Yossi Benayoun in a swap to encourage Tottenham to part with Modric.
This deal was not really possible before the Mata signing as Benayoun was the only realistic back-up to cover for Frank Lampard in the attacking midfield slot if the England international was out injured.