Chelsea have seven days left to add the signings Antonio Conte feels are necessary for his side to compete on multiple fronts this season.
Conte has openly bemoaned the club’s lack of progress in the transfer market though he adopted a less fraught approach in his post-match media duties after securing a 2-1 win at Tottenham and the Italian may not feel as pressured to bring in new faces than eight days previously.
The 3-2 opening-day home defeat to Burnley exposed Chelsea’s frailty in numerous key positions and Conte has spent the past two weeks studying and observing his first-team options to weigh up which areas are in greatest need of attention.
Defence had seemed a priority after the Stamford Bridge disaster against Sean Dyche’s Clarets, but that need eased with the accomplished performances of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen at Wembley.
A late bid for Virgil van Dijk isn’t being ruled out but is not seen as a priority for Chelsea in the remainder of the transfer window, with attention increasingly being turned to the midfield and wing-back positions in the coming days.
There is a growing confidence that Danny Drinkwater and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could be lured from Leicester City and Arsenal respectively – and though the latter wouldn’t be expected to exclusively play in the right wing-back role, his ability to is naturally appealing to Conte.
Chamberlain has frequently attempted to make clear his desire to play in a central midfield position, while he is also an option in the two attacking midfield roles off the lone frontman and if Chelsea are successful in securing his signing, it could impact on their interest in other right wing-back targets.
Antonio Candreva cannot play centrally, but could occupy one of the roles behind the attacking spearhead, while Cedric Soares is the more conventional defensive option, but both would be considered back-up options if Chelsea continue to pursue Chamberlain.
Their interest in Drinkwater is also strong and he has become their top choice to further bolster their midfield.
Conte threw Tiemoue Bakayoko in for his first start since leaving Monaco at the weekend and he repaid the faith shown in him with a bruising midfield display, but the Blues boss is wary of applying too much pressure or responsibility to the player too soon.
Bakayoko is still young, has come from Ligue 1 and remains a work in progress and the knee injuries which complicated his arrival to Stamford Bridge will also have to be carefully monitored throughout this season.
The Frenchman’s injury worries and the partnership Drinkwater forged with N’Golo Kante during Leicester’s title-winning season have prompted negotiations with the Foxes over a deal, which Chelsea believe they can complete.
Signing Ross Barkley might be trickier, with Spurs widely considered the team in the driving seat for his signature – and there is an argument that Chamberlain’s versatility, Fabregas’ ability to play higher and Drinkwater’s prospective arrival in a deeper role negate the need for Barkley.
The Everton man would be a costly signing – and the money could be spent on trying to convince Alex Sandro to leave Juventus.
The Brazilian has remained Conte’s top transfer target despite Juventus’ hardline stance over his future and a left wing-back still seems a necessity in spite of Marcos Alonso’s superb individual display against Tottenham.
Sandro would provide an upgrade, but Chelsea need a body more than anything else in the area after Kenedy’s pre-season tour indiscretions and no other specialist.
A new forward may also be sought, with Jamie Vardy seemingly becoming an option though he would differ significantly from Fernando Llorente and Christian Benteke, who have also been linked.
Michy Batshuayi looks set to stay and so a striker is not as big a priority as it could have been – but Chelsea remain in the market for a different option in that area.