The club are expected to record a £40million loss in the new year. But a long-term knee injury to Alex and the departure of Ricardo Carvalho in the summer has left Chelsea depleted at the back and Ancelotti, speaking ahead of the trip to Arsenal, knows he must spend if the Brazilian's fitness does not improve.
'If we are sure that Alex will have resolved his problem, we won't need another defender,' said Ancelotti, who has had to resort to using Paulo Ferreira as an emergency centre back at times.
Case for the defence: An injury to Alex has left Chelsea short at the back
'We have to wait and see his condition. We can think about things, a new defender,towards the end of January. That would be the only position.'
It was this time last year that the Italian vowed to run naked around the training ground if he bought in January and, happily for everyone, he was able to stay fully clothed.
And such is his confidence that Roman Abramovich will give him cash to spend to help Chelsea's faltering title challenge, he has promised to take his clothes off if hedoesn't sign someone.
'If I have to bet, I can bet the opposite (of last year),' joked Ancelotti, who took a brief triphome to Italy over Christmas.
Alex has not played since the draw at Newcastle a month ago and had knee surgery at the start of December. This has led Ancelotti to start looking at the market and admitthat buying an Englishman could be a better option than looking abroad.
'Obviously, if you take an English player, you don't have a problem with the culture, the language,' he added. 'Maybe they have advantages for this reason.'
That would appear to rule out a move for Benfica's David Luiz, who the club feel is not worth the £30m asking price. That and the feeling that an Englishman would not needmuch time to adapt makes Bolton's Gary Cahill a potential target, although Owen Coyle would be reluctant to let the 25-year-old go.
No matter who Ancelotti brings in, the return of Frank Lampard will make it feel like two new signings.
The 32-year-old is expected to make his first start since August and his manager thinks the England midfielder is irreplaceable.
'It's very important to have his support for our attacking play. Having him back will be fantastic. He's fit and he's excited. It's very difficult to find this kind of player who has the capability of scoring 20 goals (a season). He has character, ability, he always runs and works hard, not speaking. He's so professional.
'It's the best image for a player. I don't like players who speak but don't run. I like players who don't speak but run. They do their talking on the pitch. I don't expect anything extraordinary from him.
'In the market there is no player capable of replacing Lampard. Every player has different skills. John Mikel Obi is not able to score but is fantastic defensively. Ramiresthe same. Essien has the skill to score from outside the box but he was injured for a month, so his condition has not been so good.'
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