It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that Chelsea’s season could depend on achieving their aim of three to four more signings in the final week of the summer transfer window.
Antonio Conte’s squad is packed with quality but dangerously light on numbers, and the Italian will not be satisfied unless he goes into the autumn with sufficient resources to challenge for the Premier League and Champions League titles — ideally while clearing a headache or two along the way.
Chelsea have signed four players this summer – all as replacements for departures.
John Terry, Asmir Begovic and Nemanja Matic have all departed, while Diego Costa is on the market.
The Blues have also offloaded a number of youngsters.
Meanwhile, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Willy Caballero, Alvaro Morata and Antonio Rudiger have all joined the squad, leaving Chelsea with a narrow £20million net spend.
Virgil van Dijk, Danny Drinkwater and Alex Sandro are all on Conte’s radar.
And former Ireland goalkeeper Given believes Blues boss Conte will sign more recruits before next Thursday’s deadline.
“I think they will go out and spend. I do think that,” Given told Sky Sports.
“He will want to go and bring his own players in. There will be not a lot of movement at Chelsea but at least two or three players to strengthen their squad.
Drinkwater, another homegrown target and proven Premier League performer, has been at the top of Chelsea’s wish list for several weeks. The spectacular partnership he forged with N’Golo Kante at Leicester City is unquestionably also a factor in his appeal.
Chelsea are confident they can get a deal done, despite the fact that Leicester are reportedly demanding the full £40m banked in the sale of Matic
Chelsea take particular pride in sabotaging Tottenham’s plans whenever possible. Despite their long-standing interest in Barkley, it’s tempting to read mischievous intent into their desire to battle their bitter London rivals for the 24-year-old’s signature now.