Chelsea have become the latest Premier League fat cat to enter the race for sought-after Southampton duo Morgan Schneiderlin and Nathaniel Clyne.
The Blues watched the twosome in action as the Saints went down 1-0 at Everton recently and are now contemplating rivalling their fellow big guns for both players’ signatures this summer.
Manchester United are reportedly mad keen on England right-back Clyne, while Arsenal and Tottenham have been squabbling over Schneiderlin’s services for over a year.
Both look likely to depart St Mary’s with the former entering the final year of his contract and his French colleague making no secret of his intentions to play for a Champions League club next term.
A move to Chelsea, it would appear, is a possibility for both, with bwin going 5/1 that Clyne is on board at Stamford Bridge next season, as opposed to the 6/4 that he’s turning out at Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho should instruct his money men to make sure they don’t lose out on either this pre-season, for both are perfect signings for the west Londoners.
The criteria that makes them ideal recruits has very little do with ability, despite the fact both are highly capable practitioners.
A combination of administration hoop-jumping and profit-turning opportunities is what quantifies their eligibility as prime potential Chelsea signings.
Clyne, a son of Stockwell and a senior Three Lions representative, would augment their pool of home-grown players.
If Greg Dyke’s grand plan to restore the England national team to their former stature of mediocre outfit is passed, Premier League clubs will only be required to house 13 assets who weren’t schooled on these shores before their 15th birthday from next season onwards.
The Blues have three full-backs at present in Branislav Ivanovic, Cesar Azpilicueta and Filipe Luis.
None of the trio will comply with the new regulations, but the sparse use of the latter this term means they may wish to relinquish him and draft in Clyne.
Like Luis, Clyne would be used almost exclusively in a reserve capacity, which is also true of Schneiderlin, who isn’t going to oust either of Nemanja Matic or Cesc Fabregas from the starting XI.
Despite not possessing the quality to improve their team, Chelsea shouldn’t pass up the chance to sign both.
In doing so they would prevent rivals landing players who would undoubtedly improve their teams, as was the case when they beat Spurs to the signing of Willian last season.
In addition to this, there is the prospect of keeping two valuable assets on their books for a year, maybe two, then selling them for exorbitant profits.
It’s a moneymaking strategy that worked with unbridled success in the cases of Belgian trio Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne and Thorgan Hazard this season, whose sales have proved crucial in Chelsea remaining ahead of the Financial Fair Play curve.