Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Jose Turns Blind Eye to Transfer Window

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Jose Turns Blind Eye to Transfer Window

Article excerpt

Byline: By Adrian Curtis

Chelsea's victory at Highbury on Sunday did not just end Arsenal's title ambitions for another season ( it may also have confirmed Jose Mourinho's current belief that he does not need to add to his squad in the January transfer window.

Even with the departures of Michael Essien and Didier Drogba for the African Nations Cup next month, Mourinho feels he has enough strength in depth to cope with any injuries to key players during their absence.

The Portuguese coach's observation that Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal have all to play each other in the run-in is another reason why Mourinho will stick with a squad that has put them nine points clear at the top of the Barclays Premiership table.

It was no coincidence that the return of their influential midfielder Claude Makelele against Arsenal inspired Chelsea to their best performance of the season.

His comeback will have cheered Mourinho immensely, and he can now let Essien take a breather from the Premiership and the ever-growing controversy surrounding his bad-boy reputation.

Makelele, back in the side after recovering from knee ligament damage, looked as though he had never been away and while Ivory Coast striker Drogba's presence will be missed, Hernan Crespo has proved to be an able replacement.

He also has further firepower in the shape of Eidur Gudjohnsen and Carlton Cole to call upon in times of trouble.

"I don't even think about new players," Mourinho said. "I don't want players in the open market in January."

The reticence to add to his squad was underlined by the club's decision not to follow up any interest in Bayern Munich midfielder Michael Ballack when he was offered to them by his agent last month.

Chelsea were simply not interested in signing him, even though they were aware of Essien's likely departure to the African Nations Cup with Ghana. …

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