You'd normally hear the words 'Mourinho masterclass' bandied about when the self-appointed 'Special One' outwits one of his top-of-the-table rivals with a typical display of tactical astuteness, such as in Chelsea's 1-0 home win over Manchester United in April en route to winning their fifth Premier League title.
But the same expression could just as easily be applied to Mourinho and the Blues' transfer business last summer. On top of offloading the erratic David Luiz to Paris Saint-Germain for an astronomical sum of £40m, the Stamford Bridge outfit swiftly set about plugging the gaps that had been exposed on numerous occasions during the 2013-14 campaign – namely by signing a 20-goal-a-season striker and a creative fulcrum in the middle of the park.
In came Brazilian-born Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid for £32 million and midfield maestro Cesc Fabregas, no stranger to the Premier League having previously plied his trade at Arsenal, from Barcelona for £30 million. The rest, as they say, is history.
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Despite coming off the back of a title-winning campaign, Chelsea will no doubt be looking to bring in reinforcements as they attempt to fend off their rejuvenated rivals and retain their crown. With the summer transfer window now open ahead of the 2015-16 season, we take a look at where the Premier League champions might look to strengthen.
Make no mistake: the loss of Petr Cech is a big one. The towering Czech international was a reliable back-up to Thibaut Courtois last season, keeping seven clean sheets in just 16 appearances, and was an influential figure in the dressing room throughout his 11-year stint at the club. That said, Chelsea have completed the signing of Asmir Begovic from Stoke, and the Bosnian goalkeeper is a fine understudy to Courtois, so between the posts is one area of little concern.
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How do you improve a defence that only conceded 32 league goals during the whole of last season (at an average of 0.8 goals a game) and saw three of its back four make the PFA Team of the Year?
Certainly a difficult riddle to solve, though any signings will surely be made with a view to covering for the ever-present defensive unit of Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Out of those four, a successor to Terry will likely be the top priority: the former England captain is now in the twilight of his career at 34 and would do well to match the heights of last season. Young France international Kurt Zouma could be a ready-made replacement after impressing in brief spells, but the Blues are reportedly looking at Real Madrid's 22-year-old Raphaël Varane – someone Mourinho is a huge admirer of from his time in charge at the Bernabeu. A natural left-sided full-back will be another for the shopping list if Filipe Luis departs.
If there was one blot on Chelsea's 2014-15 triumph, it was that, in some of the tougher away fixtures (most notably the 5-3 defeat to Tottenham), the midfield was alarmingly scattered and disorganised, lacking the bite and steel required in a performance away from home. None could criticise the contribution that Nemanja Matic made on his return to the club, nor the creative spark provided by Fabregas (in the first half of the season, at least).
With Radamel Falcao on board and Patrick Bamford on his way back from a stunning loan spell with Middlesbrough, the Blues look well set in attack.
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