Chelsea are paying for a rare summer of uninspiring transfer activity with the Premier League champions now just three points above the relegation zone.
Jose Mourinho’s men, who won the crown in such emphatic style last term, were expected to strengthen heavily, but the likes of Radamel Falcao, Pedro and Baba Rahman have failed to live up to the billing.
Last year’s summer window was a key reason for their success, with Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Loic Remy all playing a significant part in ending the club’s four-year wait for a league title.
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Mourinho swooped for Falcao, confident he could get the Columbian back to his best, but the 29-year-old looks destined to never rediscover the form that made him one of the world’s most feared strikers.
When he signed for Manchester United on loan last summer it was a move heralded as a Louis van Gaal masterstroke, but after just four goals in a red shirt he failed to convince enough to make the move permanent.
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Falcao notched as the Blues were beaten by Crystal Palace in August, but it remains his solitary goal for his new employers, and recent reports are speculating he may leave England for a new challenge with Inter Milan in Serie A.
The biggest signing of the summer came in the form of Pedro, who after being continually linked with a move to United, opted for Stamford Bridge instead.
However, the ex-Barcelona winger looks a far cry from the player that conquered the world alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto’o and David Villa, having done little of note in a blue shirt.
A goal and an assist on his debut against West Bromwich Albion sent social media into a frenzy, but he continues to struggle in his new surroundings, with the form of Willian further highlighting his plight.
Baba Rahman has, like the other signings, looked out of his depth at the home of the champions, but the rare summer success story has come in the form of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
The Bosnian was signed from Stoke City to be the new understudy to Thibaut Courtois, but an injury to the Belgian has thrust the 28-year-old into the starting XI.
Begovic has produced some fine performances – particularly in the 3-0 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium – but even his shot stopping has not prevented his side from slipping dangerously close to the relegation zone.
Mourinho will be ruing a summer of difficulty but will no doubt be aiming to strengthen when the transfer window reopens in January. Failure to do so could be the factor that causes owner Roman Abramovich to finally wield the axe.
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