With the attention of the rest of the footballing world still split between the World Cup final, what Suarez will add to Barcelona now that he has signed for them, and Arsenal’s successful pursuit of Alexis Sanchez, Chelsea are pursuing their own remaining transfer targets with quiet determination.
The hunt for Ashley Cole’s replacement now appears to be all but over, with the English media reporting that a fee has now been agreed with Atletico Madrid for left-back Felipe Luis. The metro newspaper puts it at £20 million, which is slightly higher than the estimates of Luis’s buy-out clause – and effectively means Chelsea have decided not to quibble over a couple of million pounds.
It seems the ruse to pursue secondary targets like Marcos Rojo didn’t faze the Atletico board, who stuck to their guns and insisted on the whole buy-out amount. That is, if The Metro is correct.
The pursuit of a new centre-back is much further from over, however. There’s little indication that Real Madrid are prepared to let go of Raphael Varane, and Atletico’s Miranda has now confirmed that he will stay at the Vicente Calderon stadium next season, this leaves Porto’s Eliaquim Mangala.
Manchester City have allegedly agreed a £32 million pound transfer fee for the big French international, but it seems they are no closer to negotiating terms with him. Mangala has gone public with his desire for a move to London, and specifically Chelsea, rather than Manchester – and it now appears he will wait and see if the Blues are ready to match City’s bid.
Chelsea, meanwhile, seems to be playing their own waiting game. They retain an interest in the 23 year-old, but are reluctant to commit to the player until later in the summer once they know if they have been successful in their pursuit of other targets.
A new midfielder at Stamford Bridge, however, is looking more and more likely. The pursuit of Toni Kroos seems a forlorn affair, given that the German appears to have given his word to Real Madrid (and the Spanish club are busy ditching midfielders to make room for him). However, Chelsea appears to be having more success with Juventus’s Paul Pogba.
Pogba was pictured in London this week, and Twitter speculation suggested he was holding talks with the Blues. One man who had his picture taken with the French footballer even claimed that he had asked Pogba where he would play next season, and Pogba had answered “Chelsea.” Obviously, this is impossible to verify.
The obstacle to this deal may be Juventus. If they sell Pogba’s midfield partner Arturo Vidal to Manchester United, they may find themselves less inclined to offload the Frenchman. They will have less need for money, after all.
With Luis signed and possibly Pogba on the way, Chelsea can then concentrate on signing a second striker. Less progress appears to have been made on this front – but the name of Ezequiel Lavezzi has cropped up once more. The Argentinian is still in Brazil preparing for Sunday’s World Cup final – and Roman Abramovich’s right-hand woman Marina Granovskaia is rumoured to be in Rio on business right now. We await developments.