Cheque please Roman - Five options for Chelsea to replace Romeu

Fellaini

Oriol Romeu is likely done for the season after rupturing a cruciate knee ligament, will Rafa Benitez head back into the transfer market?

Rafa Benitez has made it clear so far he is not a huge fan of Jon Obi Mikel - Dropping him for Oriol Romeu, but now the Spaniard is going to be out for several months, probably the rest of the season, the manager has to make a decision.

Here are five options for Benitez, and we fully expect him to use his knowledge of the Spanish market, if he decides he needs to. Here's a look.

Benat

Benat has become the latest hot property in Spanish football, impressing with Real Betis this season and scoring a winner over Real Madrid. He has even broken into the Spain international team, a fine achievement considering the talent at Vincent Del Bosque's disposal, and that Juan Mata can't even get a game for them at the moment. His contract runs until 2014 and has a £16 million release clause, which may tempt Chelsea to go in for the 25-year-old.

Oscar de Marcos

De Marcos is two years younger than Benat and has been in impressive form over the past 12 months for Athletic Bilbao. He scored home and away against Manchester United last season and was been linked with a £25 million switch to Old Trafford as recently as last week. Rafa's Spanish contacts and nationality could give Chelsea the edge, and the midfielder would be an ideal partner alongside Ramires, scoring four goals in 18 games this season.

Marouane Fellaini

No doubt about it, Fellaini would be the missing piece of the jigsaw in Chelsea's midfield. He is having his best season to date and has inspired Everton to fourth place. The Belgian would feel right at home, alongside international teammate Hazard, plus De Bruyne, Courtois, and Lukaku when they rejoin. Everton's Champions League charge could persuade him to stay, but if their form falls away between now and the end of January and Chelsea slap down a big bid, who knows.

Xabi Alonso

Now this would be a blockbuster move, and we concede its certainly a long shot. Yet there are whisperings over Alonso's contract negotiations at Madrid with the club unable to tie him down to an extended deal so far. If he did return to England, its likely he would not go anywhere but Liverpool, but if anyone could persuade him otherwise it would be former manager and mentor Rafa Benitez, armed with a wedge load of cash.

Mikel/Essien

The fifth option of course is to not sign anybody. Benitez can reconsider his evaluation of Jon Obi Mikel between now and the transfer window, but he also has another alternative - Michael Essien. He is on a season long loan at Real Madrid, but has played just 10 times and recently returned to Chelsea for treatment on an injury with his loan put on 'hold'. Romeu's injury could force Benitez to recall him and give him a chance again with the Blues.

What should Benitez do? Let us know your opinion...

images: © nicksarebi, © WSHJackson, © nicksarebi

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