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Football news - Chelsea fans only want one Xmas present from Sarri Claus - new Eden Hazard deal

Chelsea fans only want one Xmas present from Sarri Claus

17/12/2018 at 10:33Updated 17/12/2018 at 10:41

If Chelsea do nothing but extend Eden Hazard's deal next month it will be a successful January transfer window, writes Dan Levene.

The contracts have been flying out of Marina Granovskaia's Chelsea office in recent weeks.

First, back in October, a new five-year deal was announced for Marcos Alonso.

In the weeks that followed, it was N'Golo Kante and Cesar Azpilicueta who put their name on the dotted line.

Chelsea are making use of what they have: extending, and improving the contracts of players they see as being key to the next few years of the club's on-pitch development.

While some headlines have talked-up the possibilities of some massive January transfer window splurge (£200m, insisted one report), all of the signs are that Blues are to eke out their already thin resources, to cover whatever bases might be needed.

Maurizio Sarri

Maurizio SarriPA Sport

If you're expecting a dash to the January sales, then you may be disappointed: Santa hasn't brought a gift voucher, but a darning needle and some thread.

This isn't, in itself, anything new.

Chelsea have not been among Premier League's the big spenders for some time.

Chelsea's Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard applauds the fans as he leaves the pitch after being substituted off during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Chelsea.

Chelsea's Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard applauds the fans as he leaves the pitch after being substituted off during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Chelsea.Eurosport

With the notable exception of Kepa Arrizabalaga, for whom they were forced to break a goalkeeping world record price, their outlay on players has generally been in the mid-market area for several seasons.

If the Manchester clubs have both been spending big on Ferraris, Chelsea have definitely been more of a Mondeo man for quite some time.

And yet, they have still managed to compete with the best for honours while doing it.

Chelsea are not, of course, in the fight for the Premier League title this season.

But they do see a top four posting as perfectly sustainable, given this strategy.

The two recent occasions on which that failed to materialise were both based upon managerial meltdown: outlying seasons where the side was perfectly good enough to qualify for the Champions League, but failed to do so because of factors outside their control.

Eden Hazard of Chelsea celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's second goal during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Chelsea FC at American Express Community Stadium

Eden Hazard of Chelsea celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's second goal during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Chelsea FC at American Express Community StadiumGetty Images

This will doubly disappoint those who are of the view that Maurizio Sarri will be able to deliver the craved trophies only if large scale investment is offered.

Even he is clear that it won't be coming: and Sarri repeatedly says, when asked, that he is not expecting some major shopping list to be fulfilled, and that he is very happy to work with what he has.

Indeed, that seems to have been a large part of the criteria for his employment: much as Chelsea aren't in the market for bank-busting signings, they are also past the days of employing cheque book managers.

That's not to say this will be a dry January: there are a series of names already well reported to be seeking pastures new, and some will be replaced from outside.

But with one notable exception (2011 – Fernando Torres, David Luiz), Chelsea have not tended to be huge January spenders, and this New Year is not expected to buck the trend.

The one lingering re-singing is, of course, the biggie.

Eden Hazard was again a cut above the rest at Brighton this weekend.

But, as his contract continues to run down, so does his potential transfer value to Chelsea.

If Ms Granovskaia can pull off that signing of a new contract this January, then many will consider it to have been a successful transfer window for Chelsea.

Dan Levene @danlevene

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