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Chelsea ponder Mikel’s replacement

Chelsea are set to sign Corinthians star Paulinho to replace Mikel Obi who will be away with Nigeria at the AFCON in January.

Paulinho helped Corinthians win their first-ever South American Copa Liberatadores earlier this year, and starred as the Brazilians booked their place in the FIFA Club World Cup final inJapan.

ShouldChelseareach the final, they will be able to get a good look at Paulinho’s ability.

Paulinho is valued at around £12million.

Following Chelsea’s confirmation that Oriol Romeu will miss the rest of the season with a serious knee injury, and with Mikel set to take part in January’s African Cup of Nations tournament, ‘The Blues’ suddenly find themselves short on ball winners in the midfield.

Despite boasting a plethora of attacking talent,Chelseaare severely lacking in defensive options. The Blues’ reliance on a deeper-lying player has become an integral part of their game, and even led interim boss Rafa Benitez to suggest that the club will need to dip into the transfer market in January.

“If you have too many players with quality, all dynamic but cannot regain the ball – you do not have the balance. If you give the ball away, you have to regain [it],” Benitez said.

With Michael Essien on loan at Real Madrid,Chelseawill need to bring in reinforcements if they are to mount a serious title challenge this season.


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