The ban imposed on Barcelona by FIFA precluding any transfer activity by the club for the next fourteen months could have an unexpected impact on the plans of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.
The Catalans are to appeal the judgement, and if they succeed, will expect at least a reduction in the ban, if not its complete revocation. Chelsea experienced a similar problem back in 2010, regarding the signing of Gael Kakuta, but won an appeal. The Blues however could this time be a victim if Barca’s approach fails.
Mourinho has big plans to overhaul his squad this summer, but with the club having regard for UEFA’s FFP regulations, selling players will be as important as buying them as the drive towards balancing the books.
The requirement to sign at least one top line striker therefore is largely dependent on getting the funds in from a big money sale. There are a few names at the club that could produce the sorts of figures required.
Oscar and Eden Hazard immediately spring to mind. The two stars were recently linked with moves to PSG, but Mourinho sees the pair as very much integral to the future of the club and would be reluctant to let them go.
There is however another member of his squad that could bring in the sort of money required. There has already been an expression of interest from a club with sufficient funds and he may well be prepared to sell. Here’s the rub however. The interested club is none other than Barcelona.
David Luiz has been a firm favourite of the fans since he arrived in the same transfer window as Fernando Torres. For the pundits however, there’s less agreement, whilst some can appreciate his sublime skills, others regard the maverick defender as a liability.
It appears that Jose Mourinho sits in that latter camp, and has been reluctant to deploy Luiz in his favoured centre-back role. The Portuguese is very much of the ethic that the first job of a defender is to defend, and is unconvinced by Luiz.
Over in Barcelona, the pending retirement of Carles Puyol has opened a gap for a defender with the ability to mesh into the intricate geometry of the Blaugrana pattern of possession football. Luiz is an ideal fit, and moves have been reported on an approach this summer.
It was something that Mourinho may well have been counting on to accumulate the money required for his plans. The ban on transfers for the Catalan club however may well kill that prospect.
It’s a strange irony that Chelsea escaped their transfer ban without harm as they were deemed innocent, but if Barcelona are confirmed as having transgressed and the penalty is confirmed, the Blues’ plans may end up as collateral damage. Perhaps Roman Abramovich can recommend a good lawyer.
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