Chelsea’s current transfer ban will be finished when the January transfer window closes. They will be able to preen their squad and make new signings in summer. The latest news from the rumour mill is that the Blues have now added the name of Ruslan Malinovskyi to their hit list.

The 26-year-old Ukrainian international central midfielder currently plays his football for Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio, more commonly referred to as simply Atalanta; the Italian Serie A side who are currently positioned 4th in the table.

Malinovskyi began his professional footballing career when he was signed by the Shakhtar Donetsk U17 side in January 2006. In July 2009, he graduated to the Shakhtar 3 side; another of Shakhtar’s reserve teams. After getting into the Shakhtar D squad, he spent several years from 2009 to 2017 being loaned out to various teams in the Ukrainian league.

In 2016, Malinovskyi began regular loan sessions to Belgian First Division A side, KRC Genk, ending when the club finally bought him outright in July 2017 for two million Euros. He stayed with KRC until July this year when he was transferred to Atalanta for 13.7 million Euros.

According to the FIFA 20 ratings, Malinovskyi is a very useful player with an overall score of 79 and a potential score of 81. His most valuable skill is his shooting ability where he ranks 90 for shot power, 87 for the accuracy of his free kicks, 85 for curved shots and 84 for shooting from distance.

Former Chelsea player and current club scout, Claude Makélélé, has been keeping a close eye on the Ukrainian. The 26-year-old’s recent performances for his current club, Atalanta, have been winning him rave reviews. Makélélé’s recommendation to buy Malinovskyi comes after watching him play recently for the Ukraine national side.

It is believed that Chelsea will be keeping tabs of the 26-year-old over the run-up to next year’s summer transfer window when their transfer ban will be lifted.

Although so far this year, Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard has been putting his trust in his younger players; he is all too well aware that his squad needs some experienced heads and legs too. Ruslan Malinovskyi would certainly fit that bill.

Negotiations, if they do go ahead, could be tough. The Ukrainian’s contract isn’t up until 2024,. Given his current form, Atalanta will not be in a rush to part company with him. Especially as they are looking to maintain a high position in the Serie A league table where they are currently third.

But things are going well for Lampard at the moment. Yes, as Nigel Winterburn said in a recent interview, he is something of a legend at Chelsea, but that won’t count for anything if results start going against Chelsea. Their aim has to be to get a Champions League qualifying spot at the end of the season. So, he’s got his work cut out for him.

The new Chelsea manager has yet to sign a player. The ban has prohibited him from doing so. Instead, he has had to resort to taking players from Chelsea’s youth academy, and to date, this has worked well for him.

A prime example is young Mason Mount who has already made his England international debut. Alongside him, other academy youngsters like Fikayo Tomori, and Tammy Abraham, have rewarded the trust placed in them by helping the Blues to reach fourth place in the Premiership table following their 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge against Newcastle.

Lampard needs more of the same if the Blues are to compete for trophies this season. Losing Eden Hazard was a blow, so a lot is expected of his young side. That’s why, going forward, bringing established players like Malinovskyi into the squad will serve the team well in the long term.

If their good form carries through until next summer, they can then reinforce their squad and who knows? They could very well seriously challenge the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City for taking the Premiership crown and become regular Champions League contenders as well.