Chelsea Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of December 30
Forget New Year's Eve and the disappointment that the most hyped night out of the year always brings: the January transfer window opens this week.
Despite Mourinho's claims that he is happy with his Chelsea squad in the Daily Mail back in September, there are still plenty of players linked with the Blues. Whether it's the potential departure of the Player of the Year, or the arrival of a big-ego striker, it's sure to be an interesting month at Stamford Bridge.
---UPDATED SATURDAY JANUARY 4---
Chelsea Have £50 Million Bid for Gonzalo Higuain Rejected
Kevin De Bruyne Can Leave for £25 Million
The Independent are reporting that Kevin De Bruyne could leave Chelsea, if any of the interested clubs are willing to stump up £25 million. Jose Mourinho had this to say about De Bruyne's status, via Sky Sports:
We know Kevin didn't adapt very well to the difficult life a Chelsea player has, which is to pay a big price to play. They have to give a lot, to work a lot, and to accept competitiveness. This is the first time he came to a big club with big competition. He is a fantastic player with fantastic potential. I don't want him to leave but we have a couple of contacts made by other clubs. But, if people think they can get our good players on sale, the sales finished in London yesterday.
Bertrand Traore to Join Vitesse on Loan; Gael Kakuta and Sam Hutchinson Return
Barcelona Still Want David Luiz
Jack De Menezes of The Independent has reported that Barcelona are ready to come back in for David Luiz, having failed to sign the Brazilian in the summer. The centre-half had this to say about the Catalan club's interest in the summer, reported by Ben Jefferson of The Express:
There was an official proposal [from Barcelona], but I opted for Chelsea. It was better for me and better for everyone. I am happy to be at a big club and be in the national team representing my country.
However, inconsistent playing time could force him to move on ahead of the World Cup in June.
Mourinho Says Mata and Essien Can Leave Chelsea
DONE DEAL: Bertrand Traore Signs
18-year-old Bertrand Traore has officially completed the deal that sees him become a Chelsea player, per chelseafc.com. Traore joined the Blues' preseason tour of Asia in 2013 as a trialist and impressed Jose Mourinho enough that he was offered a four-and-a-half year contract in October 2013.
The contract was officially recognised when the transfer window opened on January 1st 2014.
Juan Mata to Inter Milan
Darren Lewis of The Mirror has reported that Inter Milan have put Mata at the top of their January wish list. The Italian side understand that Chelsea are reluctant to sell the Spanish playmaker to a Premier League rival and are hoping to capitalise on his lack of playing time at Stamford Bridge this season.
Michael Essien to Olympiakos
The Mirror's Darren Lewis has also reported that Michael Essien could be calling time on his 10-year Chelsea career. The 31-year-old still has plenty to give and would be available for the Champions League, having been omitted from the Blues' 25-man squad.
Ashley Cole to Real Madrid
Ashley Cole has been second-choice at Stamford Bridge this season as Cesar Azpilicueta has excelled at left-back. Although Mourinho is still sure that the veteran will be offered an extension to his current contract, a report by John Richardson in the Express links him with a move to Real Madrid.
Cole would be able to sign a pre-contract with the Spanish side when the transfer window opens, and if he is not guaranteed regular playing time, a reunion with former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti could be on the cards.
Diego Costa in from Atletico Madrid
Sounds great, right? Chelsea have been struggling to get their strikers to score, and The Telegraph's Alan Hansen believes that the lack of a world-class striker is the only thing holding them back from winning the Premier League.
However, there is an enormous catch in this potential deal.
Thibaut Courtois to Atletico Madrid
Chelsea will have to think long and hard whether a short-term solution to their goalscoring struggles is worth losing the best young goalkeeper in the world (per The Mirror.)
Thibaut Courtois has been on loan at Atletico Madrid for the last two and a half seasons. In 2012-13 he set a new club record of 820 minutes without conceding a goal in La Liga (per the Daily Mail.) He is 21 years old.
The offer of a straight swap for Deigo Costa may be tempting, but the Blues would be far better off waiting for the summer window to sign a striker rather than risk losing their future shot-stopper.