Chelsea plan one-in one-out policy to streamline January signings

Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino wants to have greater influence on Chelsea signings from January onwards - Getty Images/Darren Walsh

Chelsea are planning to significantly streamline their January transfer business in a bid to avoid the problem that former head coach Graham Potter was handed last season.

Telegraph Sport understands that Chelsea are looking at making two or three first-team signings in the winter transfer window to boost head coach Mauricio Pochettino’s squad.

But the club want to offset any signings with at least the same number of departures, so that Pochettino’s squad does not grow out of control.

Trevoh Chalobah, who was a summer target of Bayern Munich, is expected to be sold, while Chelsea will again listen to offers for left-back Ian Maatsen, who turned down a move back to Burnley during the summer.

Malang Sarr remains up for sale, while, depending on incoming business, the likes of striker Armando Broja and winger Noni Madueke could consider their immediate futures.

There remains doubt over the long-term future of Conor Gallagher, although it is thought Pochettino would be against considering January bids for him and wants Chelsea to agree a new contract with the midfielder.

Chelsea have remained coy on their plans for Gallagher, despite the player making it clear that he would like to sign a new deal.

In terms of positions Chelsea will look at strengthening, a top-class striker remains a priority, although the club would have to drastically alter their recent approach over wages to land Victor Osimhen or Ivan Toney, while defensive reinforcements could be considered.

Chelsea signed six players who immediately joined the first-team squad and sold only one first-team player, Jorginho, in January last year, which put Potter in an impossible position.

That left Potter with a horribly bloated squad of 31, meaning that players had to change in corridors and sit on the floor because the changing-rooms at the club’s Cobham training ground were not big enough.

Potter also had to leave senior players, such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and January signing Benoit Badiashile, out of his Champions League squad.

He ultimately paid the price for Chelsea’s chaotic business by being sacked in April and his interim replacement Frank Lampard experienced many of the same issues.

Chelsea embarked on another huge overhaul of the squad in the summer, with eight first-team players arriving and a total of 16 players who had been part of last season’s first-team squad leaving.

According to Chelsea’s website, Pochettino has a first-team squad of 30 players and the club do not want to finish the January transfer window with an even larger group.

Pochettino will also want to avoid more big changes as he tries to develop a culture and spirit within the squad that has shown signs of growth at times this season but was badly lacking in the disappointing defeat by Newcastle United.

Chelsea co-owner Behdad Eghbali played an extremely active role in the club’s January and summer business, alongside co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart.

It remains to be seen whether that is the case again with Pochettino making it clear that he would like to have a greater influence on decisions from January onwards.