Chelsea Transfer News: Latest Buzz on Ashley Cole, Eliaquim Mangala and More

James DudkoFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2014

PARIS, FRANCE - DECEMBER 04:  Eliaquim Mangala of Porto in action during the Group A UEFA Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain FC and FC Porto at Parc des Princes on December 4, 2012 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Chelsea fans may not be too happy to learn the club's manager is likely to delay transfer business this summer. But when Jose Mourinho does start talking deals, he will continue targeting younger defenders, a process likely to speed up after left-back Ashley Cole indicated his future lies elsewhere.

But Mourinho should address the middle of his defence first. That's where FC Porto centre-back Eliaquim Mangala would fit in.

The player is reportedly a target for English Premier League champions Manchester City. But the 23-year-old has expressed his preference for a move to Chelsea, per Mark Ogden of The Telegraph.

But even if Mangala has visions of West London in his head, there may not be a place waiting for him at Chelsea. The starting centre-back berths are amply filled by veteran John Terry and England international Gary Cahill.

The latter has developed into a key figure for the EPL's stingiest back line. But there is a need to get younger, especially with Terry now 33.

Yet Mourinho already laid the groundwork for that plan by wrapping up a £12 million transfer for St Etienne prodigy Kurt Zouma back in January, per BBC Sport.

Even if Mourinho is uncertain about the 19-year-old's immediate readiness for EPL action, he may not see Mangala as a viable alternative. A clue comes from a recent link to one of Mourinho's former Real Madrid players, Raphael Varane.

The English website of Spanish newspaper Marca claims Mourinho wants the powerful 21-year-old central defender at Stamford Bridge next season. Varane and Zouma would certainly give the Chelsea squad two rising young stars at a critical position.

Unfortunately, things are not as well stocked at full-back, especially after Cole tweeted he is unlikely to suit up for Chelsea again:

Cole might find a new home quicker than anticipated. A report in Metro claims he has been offered a two-year deal by La Liga giants Real Madrid.

Perhaps Mourinho won't be too eager to find a replacement left-back. After all, he did let young Spanish full-back Cesar Azpilicueta convert from the right side to usurp Cole.

That suggests a new right-back could be high on the Chelsea manager's shopping list. One player who fits the bill is experienced Switzerland international Stephan Lichtsteiner.

The current Juventus defender is reportedly a £6.5 million target for Chelsea, per talkSPORT. A peerless engine and accurate delivery defines Lichtsteiner's game.

Juventus wing-back Stephan Lichtsteiner could feature prominently on Chelsea's summer shopping list.
Juventus wing-back Stephan Lichtsteiner could feature prominently on Chelsea's summer shopping list.Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Squawka Football writer Jack Watson credits Lichtsteiner with eight assists this season and suggests his arrival would let Branislav Ivanovic return to centre-back.

Of course, Chelsea fans shouldn't get too excited about any potential deals, after Mourinho appeared to rule out business until after the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Mourinho told Sky Sports News he believes many managers will wait to make signings until the latter stages of the transfer window. Mourinho also stated he doesn't think Chelsea have "huge work to do."

Whether that's a classic smokescreen or not, time will tell. But Chelsea do at least appear serious about refreshing their ageing squad this summer.