It’s only the beginning of December, but Chelsea may receive and early present from CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport this week. Reports suggest CAS will announce its ruling on Chelsea’s transfer ban appeal soon, which isn’t even the gift. Some sources say CAS will rule in favour of ending the ban, meaning Chelsea could buy players in the January transfer window.
This is obviously great news for the club and fans. However, Chelsea shouldn’t go on a January spending spree if capable. Instead, they should do nothing. Don’t buy anyone. Push this group of young, fun, and raw players and see how far they can go.
Chelsea Shouldn’t Buy in January Transfer Window, Even if They Can
Going into the season, it was always going to be a ‘transition year’ because of the ban. Manager Frank Lampard was set to begin only his second year as a manager and had a group unproven players at his disposal.
But, after 15 league games and five in the Champions League, the manager and team and have exceeded all expectations beyond belief.
Tammy Abraham is hovering around the top of the Premier League scoring charts, Christian Pulisic has set personal, club, and Americans-in-the-Premier-League records, Fikayo Tomori pushed the highly decorated David Luiz out the door and Reece James broke into the team and forced club captain Cesar Azpilicueta to play out of position.
None of these guys have played perfectly and still have questions to answer, but in the aggregate, the season can only be called a resounding success.
Sitting in fourth in England and needing a win in the final group game to go through to the Champions League knockouts, Chelsea should feel pleased with the on-field performances so far this year.
Of course, the only way to improve the team is to buy in January, should they be able to. Despite the ban, Chelsea have surely still scouted and watched the market, ready to pounce when the ban ends. Now that it may happen sooner than originally anticipated, the club are also moving their plans ahead of schedule.
Test the Kids
If this is a transition year’, why not let that play out over the full year instead of stopping it six months early?
Really challenge this team. Push them to the limit. How will Abraham, Pulisic, Tomori, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and others fare over the entire season? See how they cope.
Can they last a full year? How does playing every three days affect them? When times get tough, how do they respond? Will other squads figure them out with enough game film and data to study them? Can they rise to the occasion and reach their targets, the knockouts in Europe and a top-four finish domestically? Or will they crumble under the pressure?
If Chelsea bring in new players, these questions don’t get answered, or at least not in the best way possible. The adversity facing this team has so far made them better, but if you take it away, does that stunt their development when arguably at such young ages this is the time to push them the hardest and really test them mentally, physically, and emotionally?
Obviously, not every player is young. Take Azpilicueta, Pedro, and Willian who are all 30-years-old and above. For them, these questions of character aren’t needed. The most impactful players on the team this year, though, are in their mid-20s or younger. Plus, the gaffer is still in his managerial infancy.
On the whole, this team is very young and should be allowed to grow. Bringing in new players in January will affect that maturation process and possibly hinder it. The Chelsea players have blossomed the first half of the year and should get the same opportunity for the second.
Let them finish what they started.
Worth the Risk?
The risk, of course, is failure as a club and as individuals. They could miss out on a Champions League spot next year, and subsequently all that revenue and prestige needed to sign new players. Plus, if you push the players too hard, they might eventually crack.
Before the 2018/19 season, Chelsea didn’t bring in any big-name players under Maurizio Sarri and still finished third. On top of that, they won the Europa League, qualifying them for this year’s Champions League on a second front.
What’s to say they can’t do the same next year without signing big-name players because they missed out on the Champions League?
When it comes to players, if they buckle under the pressure, it’s better to find out now than continue having them bring down and affect the squad for the next few years. Rip the band-aid off as quickly as possible. If the players can’t handle the pressure, then they don’t deserve to wear the Chelsea badge.
Trust the Process
The Blues are certainly hoping CAS will remove the transfer ban early and would welcome and celebrate it. That doesn’t mean they must then dive into the market and buy players.
Besides, why, for example, would Tammy Abraham sign a new contract if after going near the top of the league scoring charts, the club look to buy someone to take his place up front? Pretty disrespectful to the successful academy graduate who recently made his international debut.
Chelsea may regain the ability to sign players for the January transfer window, but shouldn’t make moves in the market. These players and the manager deserve to see out what they began at the beginning of the season.
It has gone well so far. Why not let the chips fall where they may. That was the plan from the get-go anyway.
Stick to the plan, Chelsea. Stick to the plan. These guys restored your faith in the first couple of months of the campaign and now deserve it for the remaining months.