Chelsea Transfers: 5 Potential Big-Money Summer Targets for Roman Abramovich
Chelsea have endured a tough season, following what is arguably the best season in their history.
It was always going to be that way though, especially when the Blues attempted to refresh their squad and playing style in such a short time.
Mercurial talents such as Eden Hazard, Oscar, Marko Marin, Cesar Azpilicueta and Victor Moses were drafted in with Roman Abramovich's desire—unrealistic, or not—for Roberto Di Matteo to deliver more trophies, but this time with a more attractive style.
In truth, it was unrealistic to expect this group of players to be able to maximise their potential in the space of a couple of months, no matter who the manager was.
But given that Abramovich could not accept that the Blues might need to discard this season in the process of taking one step back to move the club two steps forward, Di Matteo was hastily fired after the Champions League humiliation to Juventus.
The squad's quality is a match for any in Europe, which means Chelsea do not need drastic changes this summer—just a couple of top-quality players to strengthen glaring holes in the squad.
Here are five players who could be arriving at Stamford Bridge this summer.
Radamel Falcao, Atletico Madrid
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Radamel Falcao is perhaps the most-wanted player in Europe this summer, with the inevitability that his cycle with Atletico Madrid has come to an end.
The Colombian's eye for goal is predatory and has helped Los Colchoneros somewhat challenge Barcelona for the title and surge clear of city rivals Real Madrid.
With third-party ownership another contributing factor in the probable sale of El Tigre, the market is sweltering, and Falcao will likely be the most expensive signing this summer.
Chelsea have previously held a firm interest, and despite the turmoil at the Bridge this season, they remain hopeful that a deal can be brokered, according to The Express.
Edinson Cavani, Napoli
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Edinson Cavani is one of the most coveted strikers in Europe.
The Uruguayan has often been regarded as being a level below Radamel Falcao, but this season El Matador's scoring record can rival that of anybody in Europe.
When you consider that Napoli create less chances than Atletico Madrid, Cavani is equally prolific and offers different qualities that might appeal more to the Blues.
With a larger frame, Cavani is able to hold the ball up better when asked to contend with aerial passes, something that will certainly be useful in the Premier League when Chelsea are required to mix up their style.
Rumours have been somewhat quieter of late, as everybody attempts to figure out who will be the manager at Stamford Bridge next summer, which of course could drastically affect the Blues' transfer wish list.
The Express reported as recently as a couple of months ago that Cavani was still on Chelsea's radar.
Napoli are attempting to beat Juventus to the Scudetto this season, and while Cavani has a greater affection for Napoli than many players tend to have for their respective clubs, the Partenopei will come under intense pressure to sell their prized asset.
Marouane Fellaini, Everton
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Marouane Fellaini is the type of player whom Chelsea need to be pursuing most.
If the Blues are to pursue the 4-2-3-1 formation in their pursuit of winning in a beautiful way, as well as the best way to accommodate their array of support strikers, the two holding midfielders become vital to the side.
For the moment, Chelsea are selecting Ramires and Frank Lampard for these roles, as John Obi Mikel is away at the African Cup of Nations and David Luiz has struggled to fight off an injury.
Neither are well-suited to this position, either lacking the pace to prevent the large space between the midfield and the attack from being exposed (Lampard), or the inability to resist joining the attack (Ramires).
With Eden Hazard and the potential for Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois and Kevin De Bruyne returning to the Bridge in the near future, Fellaini would settle in quickly at Chelsea with so many of his countrymen.
James Rodriguez, Porto
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James Rodriguez has somewhat replaced Hulk at Porto with a series of sensational performances for the Dragoes.
The Colombian is being deployed on the wing, with Jackson Martinez being so deadly through the middle, but the former Banfield star is equally adept at playing as a striker.
At first thought, this is not a player whom Chelsea require, as Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Victor Moses and Oscar are all options to play as part of the trident that will likely support a lone striker.
But Chelsea sold Daniel Sturridge to Liverpool, and although Demba Ba arrived at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea already craved a No. 9, so it was hardly a sufficient replacement.
Sturridge was capable of playing any of the front four positions and Rodriguez is equally adept too, a proposition that may attract Chelsea, given that none of their current squad seem capable of this.
Whether Chelsea are prepared to pay the £36 million release cause (Express) is another matter.
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Paulinho has been one of the revelations of South American football over the past year or two.
The 24-year-old was a major factor in the Timão winning the Copa Libertadores and subsequently defeating Chelsea at the Club World Cup in Japan.
Now a firm fixture in the Brazilian national team, even with the appointment of new coach Luis Felipe Scolari, Paulinho is surely ready for the next stage of his career, in the form of a move to Europe.
Outside of John Obi Mikel, the Blues do not possess a natural holding midfielder who would be capable of slotting into a 4-2-3-1 formation.
With a large contingent of Brazilian players already at Chelsea, Paulinho may be swayed to plump for the Blues over the Nerazzurri.