Arsenal’s refusal to sign a truly authoritative defensive midfielder had passed over into self-parody long before they signed callow 17-year-old Krystian Bielik earlier this month.
However, while that demand remains unaddressed, Chelsea have an even greater need to bring in a proven operator in the position than their London rivals.
Nemanja Matic has been nothing short of titanic in the role for Jose Mourinho since his second spell at Stamford Bridge began.
However, the slings and arrows of injuries, suspensions and an intensifying second-half-of-the-season fixture list mean that the Serbian shield cannot always be there.
The Blues have lost just once in the 30 games Matic has started this season, compared to two of the five in which he hasn’t made Mourinho’s XI.
Among the quintet of fixtures in which the 26-year-old was rested or suspended two of the three victories secured were against lower-league opposition (Bolton and Shrewsbury) by two goals to one.
While John Obi Mikel may seem an able deputy, results when he understudies the Benfica-educated holding operative suggest otherwise.
Quite simply Matic has become so integral to Chelsea 2014/15’s modus operandi that they are a shadow of their usual selves when he is absent.
He could succumb to injury at any point during the remainder of the campaign, meaning it would be the height of imprudence for the Blues not to recruit a more able standby than Mikel.
On this season’s evidence relying on the Nigerian to underwrite Chelsea’s attacking incursions over the rest of the season is not an option if they are to land a trophy treble.
It’s not as if there’s an absolute scarcity of quality on the market either, with Sami Khedira seemingly surplus to requirements at Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, highly regarded operators such as Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho and Sergio Busquets have also been linked with moves to the Premier League in recent months.
Chelsea are evens to strike a potentially decisive blow in the Premier League title race by beating Manchester City at Stamford Bridge in their next outing.