Chelsea’s search for a new midfielder has assumed increasing importance with the news that Michael Essien may not return to full fitness for six months after injuring his knee.
The Ghanaian hurt his right knee in training last week and went under the surgeon’s knife to promote recovery yesterday.
While the operation to repair a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus was a success, Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas will be concerned that it will still take up to six months for Essien to return to full fitness.
Chelsea were already in the hunt for reinforcements in the middle of the park, with Luka Modric a confirmed target as a means to adding creativity and fluency to the Blues’ attack.
Having now lost one of their most influential midfield dynamos for half of the season, the need to bring in more bodies has intensified.
With this in mind, it is perhaps unsurprising that Chelsea have been linked by the Sun with a move for Porto playmaker Joao Moutinho.
As Manchester United have already spent heavily this summer, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich will have to start writing cheques if the Blues are to win back the title they surrendered last season.
Second-favourites in bwin’s football betting market, the Stamford Bridge outfit have odds of 12/5 to win the 2011-12 Premier League crown.
A successful £25 free bet on Chelsea to finish first, available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account, would return £85.
In the meantime, Villas-Boas is already counting down the days to Essien’s return.
“Everyone at Chelsea wishes Michael well for his recovery,” he commented.
“His team-mates and all the staff and I look forward to helping him return to playing as soon as possible.”
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