Chelsea Transfer Rumours: Lavezzi and 5 Biggest Names the Blues Are Going After
Though league games against Liverpool and Blackburn are still on the schedule, the odds of Roberto Di Matteo approaching them with any conviction are slim as they are all but out of contention for fourth place in the EPL.
With Europa League guaranteed after Saturday’s FA Cup win, the only thing left to really strive for in this turbulent 2011-12 season would be the coveted UEFA Champions League crown, which Chelsea will go after May 19th against Bayern Munich.
However, the outcome of that match will matter little in the details of the Blues' summer targets. Once that transfer window opens, you can expect Roman Abramovich to once again open his checkbook and have another go at rebuilding the club.
With the future of the managerial position still up for grabs, it would likely be the first thing the owner gets established. But it is looking more and more like Di Matteo has earned himself the job through at least the fans. After all, is that not who this game is played for anyway?
But often times a club can find itself lagging behind if they do not get an early jump on the signings. So with or without a manager, there has already been speculation around a variety of names. Here are five of the biggest who could be at Stamford Bridge next season.
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Chelsea have struggled mightily in front of the goal for the better half of this season.
It would have been foolish to assume that Andre Villas-Boas' departure would cure them of all their striking woes, yet somehow the forwards have gotten a sudden burst of energy over recent weeks.
Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres have had much success under Di Matteo and been a huge part of the club making this an great season. Both have returned to a form which fans have come to expect and are looking better and better every week.
However, if Drogba and Chelsea cannot agree on a contract extension, there is a good possibility that they will need another striker to help fill the lack of depth. Lavezzi seems to be a possible solution.
The Argentinean striker enjoyed perhaps his most successful season with Napoli this past year, netting 11 goals and adding nine assists as part of arguably one of the top attacking trios in all of Europe. He even had two against Chelsea in their Champions League tie.
Napoli is rumored to be asking for around £28 million for Lavezzi’s services, which would be a steep price for an alternative to Torres. But it is by no means outside of Abramovich’s wheelhouse to make outrageous purchases.
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Another striker on the Chelsea watch list, Ba may already be more apt to the Chelsea system than any other. A big strong forward, he conjures up a liking to a young Drogba, physical and tough in the air, while subtle and quick with his feet.
Ba enjoyed a excellent start to the season, helping boost Newcastle from a predicted mid-table finish to likely being in the top four at season’s end. However, his personal numbers have declined recently with the arrival of Papiss Cisse this past January.
Since the Senegalese international has arrived to Tyneside and scored 13 goals in 13 games, Ba has not managed to get on the score sheet once. This is not as much for lack of quality as simply the fact that Cisse is the better pick right now and in premier form.
Ba may be looking for a place to start over as Cisse has clearly made Newcastle his own, and Chelsea would provide a great place for that. With a rumored less-than-£10 million release clause, the ability to buy such a consistent talisman for low cost may be too good of an offer for the Blues to pass up.
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Chelsea have been chasing a winger ever since Villas-Boas came to the club. Though the current formation and style does not call for incredibly gifted ones to succeed, it would help to have a bit more inventive and assist minded players out wide than the current forwards, who have been retrofitted for the time being.
Hazard has been a target of Chelsea’s intrigue dating back to last summer, when he looked to be one of Villas-Boas’ first signings. He kept on the Blues' radar all the way through the winter and remains on it going into this coming transfer window.
At a not so cheap £34 million, Chelsea could finally get their wide player they have been craving and perhaps the support the forwards desperately need.
However, the hindsight of the situation is even more discouraging as Chelsea scout Guy Hillion recommended Hazard four years ago when he was only a teenager. Since then, Hazard has become one of the hottest young commodities in the game and thus seen his price skyrocket.
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In what is somewhat of a surprise to many, Chelsea fans have found their club linked to Everton midfielder Marounane Fellaini. Not to suggest that this is not a decent idea, but rather rarely has the club gone directly after other players within the league. In the past decade, they have only made nine transfers into the team from another Premier League side.
But Fellaini offers a good solution to an issue the club has in the midfield. He is a reliable and industrious player, who is as comfortable in holding midfield role as he is in the attack. He is also good in the air, adding even more threat off the club’s already dangerous set-piece play.
Coming from Everton, he may not be the biggest name in the game, but he was highly productive with David Moyes and understands the game in its totality to a level few can. Everton is well aware of his talents, pricing him at £22 million, but at only 24 years old, he really could become a valuable asset to the Blue’s for years to come.
You think I could make a list of Chelsea targets without including this outrageous one, which keeps popping up no matter how ridiculous it seems?
Chelsea have been after Hulk since Andre Villas-Boas arrived at the club, with many expecting him to follow his former manager to bigger and better things. However, the dismissal of Villas-Boas has done little to smother the flames of speculation surrounding the Brazilian’s move to Stamford Bridge.
Porto had originally wanted to full release clause of £85 million fulfilled, but has since backed down to a comparably modest £35 million. Though for me, it still seems like far too much for a player who has never been in the EPL and just saw his former manager vanish under the pressures of not living up to expectations.
It makes even less sense since he was made mute twice against Manchester City in the Europa League.
But once again, no list would be complete without the potential for Hulk to be wearing blue next season.
What Names Are You Watching?
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For my two cents, this image here is enough to tell me little change is needed at Stamford Bridge. This team has not been this well managed and together compatible since the early days of Mourinho.
But it is certain that some changes will be made this summer, players coming in and others going out. So who will you be watching to see if the club will be going after?
As always, please leave your comments below and thanks for reading!
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