Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has revealed he will try to sign a new defender if Alex fails to recover from knee surgery before the end of next month.
But Ancelotti insists he is not planning to do any further business during the January transfer window, despite seeing his squad fail to cope with injuries to key players in the last two months.
Brazil international Alex was ruled out for up to eight weeks after going under the knife at the start of the month. His knee problems co-incided with an injury to captain John Terry, forcing Ancelotti to play Paulo Ferreira as a makeshift centre-half. The move backfired spectacularly when Chelsea slumped to their worst home defeat for eight years against Sunderland.
Ancelotti last year famously vowed to run around the club's training ground if he signed a player in January but he was not willing to make the same promise 12 months on.
"If I have to bet, I can bet the opposite," he said. "Until the 31st of January, if we are sure that Alex will have resolved his problem, we won't need another defender.
"We have to wait to see his condition. We can think about things, a new defender, towards the end of January. That would be the only position."