Jose Mourinho believes the overall evolution and development of his team is more important than focusing on securing success in specific competitions.
With Kevin De Bruyne now departed, and Juan Mata on the verge of completing a switch to Manchester United, the Blues have added Nemanja Matic and, subject to a medical and agreeing personal terms, Mohamed Salah to the squad, both of whom are ineligible to participate in the Champions League.
Mourinho, though, is not simply looking for short-term gains.
‘We are prioritising the evolution of the team and the future of the team,’ he said. ‘If, now, we don’t buy Matic because he can’t play in the Champions League and we go to a player who can but is not a player we want, we are not prioritising what is fundamental for us, which is the future of the team.
‘If they can play Champions League obviously that’s the perfect situation, but the most important thing is that we do the right deal, choose the right player, build the right squad.
‘We are building a puzzle and we want to complete the puzzle in the summer or in two transfer windows, we don’t want to complete it in five or six transfer windows or in December 2018, we want to do the right things.
‘Salah cannot play in the Champions League but he can play in the Premier League so we can rest Hazard or Willian in the Premier League.
‘Matic cannot play in the Champions League but Mikel can, so probably the game before we play Galatasaray I don’t play Mikel, I play Matic.
‘I think I can move the pieces and still have a good team to play in the Champions League.’
Mourinho went on to emphasise the importance of bringing English players into the first team squad if possible.
‘It’s very important and we will try,’ he said. ‘The best way to try is through the Academy. At this moment if we reduce numbers in the first team with Ryan Bertrand going on loan and if Juan and Kevin and Michael all leave, that’s four out and two in.
‘I want to bring in another two because I like to work with a squad of 22 players. These two will be Academy players, that’s the way we’re going to do it now in order to open the door for them.’
Much has been written about the club agreeing to sell Mata to a domestic rival, but the Blues boss believes it was important to take the player’s feelings into consideration.
‘If a similar situation happened where, instead of Man United it was Arsenal, City, Tottenham or Liverpool we would do the same,’ he explained. ‘If the offer was the same, and Juan decided to go, it would be the same.
‘Man United are obviously a big club, and when a player is not happy at the moment at Chelsea, but he loves to be in the Premier League, he’s thinking about the World Cup and playing regularly.
‘He saw the stability the team has at the moment with Willian, Oscar and Hazard and he thought about leaving. He was trying to find the best option for him and he decided to go to United, which is understandable.’