Arsene Wenger was recently quoted in an interview as saying: "I'm afraid of what Chelsea can do in the summer. We have to be prepared for them to be one of the biggest movers in terms of investment once the window opens."
With Chelsea's Premier League campaign turning sour from an extremely promising start, it is entirely plausible that, after watching Manchester United lift what turned out to be one of their most comfortable league titles yet; Mr. Abramovich will sanction several high-profile signings in an attempt to force his way back to the top.
Chelsea's U19 squad recently reached the final of the Next Gen series competition, missing out in the final to Aston Villa. On their way to the final they managed to beat the likes of Arsenal, Juventus, and the much heralded youth team of the Catalan giants, Barcelona.
They also have an astonishing 22 players out on loan. So why do Chelsea still feel the need to import the top talents when they have more than enough on their books?
Here are five players, who could potentially push Chelsea into title contention once again:
1. Romelu Lukaku
The 19-year-old Belgian international was bought from Anderlecht for a reported £17 million pound fee, quite a lot for a young player. Last season he found his game time extremely limited as he spent his first season in the tumultuous environment of managerial changes and poor performances.
It is clear to see that when given some form of regular game time, and the confidence that comes along with it, just how good a player this young man is.
Fast, strong, and with a good finish, Lukaku, surely is the striker the Chelsea hierarchy are searching for. He possesses much strength and traits that targets such as Radamel Falcao, and Edinson Cavani have.
Admittedly he is not up to the same sort of calibre as either of those two, but it's clear to see he has potential in abundance, and even clearer to see why he is touted as the next Didier Drogba. 14 goals for West Brom this season in the Premier League should be enough to convince his club he deserves a chance.
2. Thibaut Courtois
The Belgian keeper has been quietly plying his trade at the Vicente Calderón for Atletico Madrid, putting in some impressive performances in the process. Playing in La Liga, he has managed an eye-catching 33 clean sheets so far in all competitions.
Perhaps worryingly, as rumours are abound that the Spanish duopoly that is Real Madrid and Barcelona are said to be keen on the keeper, and whilst there have been reports of a swap deal involving Courtois for Falcao, the Chelsea hierarchy would be wise to retain his services.
Considered only a baby at his current age of 20 in goal keeping terms, Courtois still has years to improve; Cech will understandably fear for the number one jersey should this young man be recalled any time soon.
3. Nathaniel Chalobah
Chalobah caught the headlines recently for his amazing strike for Watford in the Championship, however his impressive displays deserve credit too, having been important in Watford’s bid for promotion. Able to play as a midfielder and a defender, Chalobah could certainly be a very useful utility player for Chelsea in the years to come. Having progressed well under the guidance of Gianfranco Zola, it's feasible to see him near the Chelsea first team in the near future.
His dynamic midfield performances may remind some Chelsea fans of Michael Essien, and it's certainly clear there are some similarities. Whether he will be given a chance to prove those claims remains to be seen however.
4. Oriel Romeu
The Spaniard has somewhat gone under the radar at Stamford Bridge recently, with a knee injury sustained in December ruling him out for the season. However, it is no coincidence he has been given the number six jersey.
A product of Barcelona's fabled youth system, he has skill and dynamism in abundance, able to break down opposition attacks and play incisive passes for his team mates, qualities which Chelsea simply do not have in John Obi Mikel. Chelsea have been linked with midfielders such as Paulinho and Marouanne Fellaini, and whilst it may be a lot easier to make a £20+ million signing, it is entirely feasible that Romeu has the potential to eclipse both of those players.
With financial fair play starting to tighten it's grip upon clubs, Chelsea will eventually have to start producing their own talent, if not to adhere to these new rules, then to help safeguard their clubs future in case Mr. Abramovich suddenly finds a new hobby.
Whether the hierarchy can delay their myopic thirst for silverware for long enough to find a way to harvest the bounty of talent that has blossomed in their youth system, remains to be seen however.
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