Chelsea have had their fair share of ups and downs this season and are expected to be a major player in the upcoming January midseason transfer window.
With the Blues currently trailing Arsenal in the Premier League and gearing up for the Champions League round of 16 in February, Jose Mourinho will surely be looking to add multiple pieces to his Stamford Bridge squad next month.
Here, we'll take a closer look at the latest news and buzz surrounding some of Chelsea's top targets this winter.
Blues Close to Acquiring Fredy Guarin?
It would appear as if Chelsea are the front-runners to land Inter Milan midfielder Fredy Guarin this January after his agent confirmed that the two sides had discussed a deal when speaking to Colombian network Caracol Radio, per Mirror's Liam Prenderville:
We have already been to London with Inter and met with Chelsea directors to make their interest formal.
If both clubs reach an agreement, a transfer is an option, but Fredy is happy at Inter as well if they don't agree terms.
Fredy feels important under Walter Mazzarri. The upcoming World Cup also plays a role. We will also meet with the Inter owner to see what the project looks like here.
BeIN Sport correspondent Tancredi Palmeri reports that Guarin and Chelsea are very close in their talks:
Chelsea extremely close to finalized the deal for Inter's Guarin. In any case won't be announced before next week— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) December 18, 2013
Guarin rose to stardom with Porto from 2008 to 2012 before joining Inter on loan. He would soon join the Italian squad on a permanent basis. He's scored three goals and assisted on three others in 16 Serie A appearances this season.
Known for his dribbling skill and ability to put quality balls into the box, Guarin would surely make an immediate impact at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea Linked to Andrea Ranocchia
Guarin isn't the only Inter player Chelsea have been linked to this December. Italian defender Andrea Ranocchia is another name to watch for as January approaches.
According to The Daily Star's Gary Jones, Mourinho is interested in the 25-year-old centre-back and sees him as a potential replacement for David Luiz, who has been the subject of countless transfer rumors himself.
Ranocchia has been asked about the rumors ahead of next month's transfer window, but he has played them down, per Jones: "Many silly things have been written about me, that I am unhappy and I want to leave. I am just thinking about this shirt and paying back the fans for the affection they have for me."
At 6'5", Ranocchia brings a physical presence similar to that of Luiz. Like the Brazilian, he's extremely strong in the air and can make impressive tackles from time to time when he's focused and under control. Nonetheless, Ranocchia still has his critics:
If Chelsea sell David Luiz & replace him with Andrea Ranocchia, that’d be the same as me replacing a dodgy bulb with a broken bulb.— Aran Sohal (@AranSohal) December 12, 2013
Ranocchia is similar to Luiz from an offensive standpoint as well. He's very comfortable dribbling the ball and has scored five goals in Serie A play since arriving at Inter in 2011.
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