As you might expect, transfer rumours are rife at this point in the football calendar. With the domestic season done and the World Cup just over a fortnight away, transfer stories hog the spotlight, with players being pestered about their futures during pre-tournament press conferences and various other media commitments.
One team set to be immersed in the transfer market this summer is Chelsea, who have been handed both a blow and a boost after various comments have emerged from a transfer target and a star man linked with a move away.
Here’s the very latest from two players whose futures look set to be the cause of much intrigue over the summer months.
Luis has been linked with a move to Chelsea after an excellent season but has spoken of his intentions to see out his contract at the Vicente Calderon, per Colin Harvey of The Daily Star:
I have a contract for three more years. My thought is to continue.
We have to lift our heads high after the Champions League final defeat and think about the next goal.
Chelsea are in desperate need of a left-back ahead of the 2014/15 season having released Ashley Cole, per BBC Sport. Luis is a player that fits the bill and is rated at £16.5 million by the Blues, but after a successful season with the Madrid outfit, he seems to already be looking ahead to next season.
You suspect that despite Luis’ insistence that he would like to continue with the Rojiblancos, he is a player whom Chelsea will continue to pursue. He has been a tireless runner up and down the left-hand side for Atletico this season, and his tireless work rate and defensive diligence will have surely impressed Mourinho when the two sides met in the Champions League semi-final earlier in the campaign.
Atletico clinched the Spanish title with a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou, and The Mirror’s Ed Malyon paid tribute to the Brazilian’s remarkable industry:
Filipe Luis is a phenomenon. Still sprinting up and down the flank after all the work he's got through http://t.co/Hzv8HtNyQm— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) May 17, 2014
In the Champions League final, the full-back was arguably Atletico’s best player, snuffing out the threat of Gareth Bale for long spells before Atletico capitulated in extra time. Tony Barrett of The Times singled out the left-back for praise during the clash:
Filipe Luis having a stormer again.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) May 24, 2014
Supporters across the Continent will be envious of those in blue, as it looks as though they’re in the market for two stellar left-backs.
While Luis is 10 years older than Shaw, Chelsea would be getting a full-back who is established and at his peak. On the other hand, Shaw—a boyhood Chelsea supporter—could be at the club for the best part of a decade and is undoubtedly one of the most talented teenagers in the game.
The mercurial Belgian has insisted that he is ignoring speculation regarding a transfer away from Chelsea.
Hazard has been persistently linked with a move to French champions Paris Saint-Germain, but when questioned on his future whilst away with the Belgian national team, he insisted he’s focusing solely on the World Cup, per Sky Sports:
If you got to know me you'd know I'm not someone who is disturbed by it. Every year they say I'm everywhere. It's part of the job. I focus on the World Cup, which is much more important than what is said in the papers.
Hazard was awarded Chelsea’s Player of the Year gong and the PFA Young Player of the Year award after a marvellous 2013/14 season.
But the continued links with PSG, per Neil Ashton and Sami Mokbel of The Daily Mail, and some brutal criticism by Mourinho—who told reporters that the 23-year-old was not a player who would “sacrifice himself for the team”—have lead to questions as to whether Hazard has the required style to fit into the Portuguese’s Chelsea blueprint.
Nevertheless, whilst Mourinho always expects defensive commitment from his players, Hazard offers so much going forward; perhaps he should be excused a little more than others? He scored 16 goals and seven assists in all competitions last season, per WhoScored.com, and is only going to improve as he becomes increasingly familiar with the rigorous nature of the English game.
The Parisians certainly have the financial clout to test Chelsea’s resolve if they were to bid for Hazard. But unless it is a truly astronomical sum, Mourinho would be wrong to cash in on one of the brightest young talents in world football.