Of the many circulating transfer window rumors surrounding Chelsea and manager Jose Mourinho, one of the more persistent, and more plausible, involves a possible deal with forward Andrej Kramaric from HNK Rijeka. The Croatian is reportedly on the radar of several clubs, including Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester. With reason to believe that they present better prospect for Premier League silverware to tempt him, aside from contract price, Chelsea may be optimistic about the possibility of luring Kramaric to Stamford Bridge, as has been reported by multiple sources.
That said, peering into the mind of Mourinho is never a straightforward prospect. Though reports have him close to the Kramaric deal and expected to close it shortly after the transfer window opens, even if it does happen it is most likely not an acquisition meant for short-term solutions. Along with the reports that Mourinho intends to add the attacker to the squad are more realistic reports that his intention is to immediately loan him back to Rijeka for the remainder of the season. The thought on that move is to keep him in reserve as insurance to potentially replace Didier Drogba if he should decide to retire after this season. Kramaric has been prolific for Rijeka, scoring 21 goals in just 19 matches, and might work out eventually as a strong replacement if that does come to pass.
The deal rumored to have been negotiated would have Chelsea paying £7.8 million for that particular insurance policy, though no details about the potential return loan have been mentioned. It has been suggested that Mohamed Salah may be going out on loan as well. After multiple discussions with Mourinho about his place on the team, if the manager does bring Kramaric in, even the departure of Drogba would not ensure him a more secure position. Chelsea are said to be entertaining a possible loan to Inter Milan for the Egyptian, although no details have surfaced about that particular possibility. Salah was the star of many of last year’s transfer rumors, making a splash with his arrival. A year later, it may be much less of a splash should he make a departure.
This early, before the transfer window is even open, it is much easier to tell who might not be around at the end of January than who will be added. At the top of the standings and going into the break with some momentum, he arguably hold a position making it easier to play things close to the vest. In truth, he does that anyway. With Cesc Fabregas announcing his desire to see Lionel Messi come to Chelsea, the media has pestered Mourinho with questions about that virtually non-existent possibility and provided a sound distraction from anything realistic that he might be planning. Even the Kramaric deal, close or not, most likely reveals nothing about any plans he has for adjustments to the Chelsea squad post-January. Mourinho is set to enter the transfer market a near-complete mystery, making the prognosticators and rumor mongers that much more hungry to see what he is going to do.
Commentary By Jim Malone
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