Mourinho sees no need for new strikers
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho revealed on Friday he will not bring in a new striker when the transfer window opens in January.
Mourinho has just three experienced front men to call upon in Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o as Belgium international Romelu Lukaku was allowed to go out on loan to top-flight rivals Everton in August.
Torres has only just regained fitness after a spell on the sidelines however and Eto’o will miss Sunday’s Premier League home game with Southampton because of an injury suffered during Tuesday’s Champions League defeat in Basel.
Ba, for his part, rarely starts so Chelsea appear to be at a disadvantage compared with title rivals Manchester City and Manchester United, who have greater strength in depth up front.
It was suggested Mourinho had been busy lining up deals for some extra firepower, with AC Milan‘s Mario Balotelli and Jackson Martinez of Porto two names linked with a move to Stamford Bridge.
Reports claimed talks were at an advanced stage on a Ã‚£30 million ($49 million, 36 million euros) deal for Martinez.
However, Mourinho insisted Friday: “It’s not true what I read a couple of days ago, that the agent was in London meeting with me or with Chelsea directors. It’s not true at all.
“In the January market we’re not going to buy any striker, so we will go through to the end of the season with Fernando, Samuel and Demba. Nobody goes in. Nobody goes out,” the Portuguese added.
Mourinho said he expected Eto’o, the Cameroon international, to be absent for around two weeks. “The information I have is that he has a grade one muscular injury, which we think is two weeks,” he said.
“I’m throwing into the air a number, but when I say two weeks it will not be a month.”
Chelsea had also been linked with a move for Real Madrid‘s Fabio Coentrao as a replacement for Ashley Cole but Mourinho scotched that suggestion.
“I don’t want Portuguese players,” he explained. “I always had them but, at this moment, it’s enough. I don’t have them now. Hilario is the only remaining one. But we don’t need.”
Also not needed is Lukaku, despite the player’s occasional statements to the media that he is hoping Mourinho is watching his spell on Merseyside carefully with the aim of a Chelsea recall.
However, this appears to have irked the ‘Special One’, who challenged the Belgian to come clean on exactly why he left on transfer deadline day.
And Mourinho himself was remaining enigmatic on the issue on Friday.
“Romelu is a young boy who likes to speak,” he said. “But the only thing he didn’t say is why he went to Everton on loan. And my last contact with him was to tell him exactly that: ‘Why do you never say why you are not here?’ So it’s something he should say, the reason why he’s not with Chelsea and is in Everton.”
Cole, who has been struggling with a hip problem, could return for the Southampton game, or the two Premier League fixtures that follow in quick succession.
“Now it’s time for the squad,” Mourinho said. “We now play Southampton, Sunderland and Stoke – SSS – so the SSS week everybody will have a chance, and Ash will play for sure and will have the chance to show that he’s fine.
“His attitude is phenomenal, as always — the same today as when he trained with me the first time,” added Mourinho, now in his second spell in charge of Chelsea.
“He went through a difficult period, yes, and Cesar Azpilicueta is playing fantastically. That’s the only point.”