Often it takes one transfer deal to spark a host of activity. The cork coming out of the champagne bottle, if you will. Teams are naturally reluctant to let players go without citing a replacement, and for that reason, a flurry of deals can happen at a seemingly frenetic pace.
This seems as though it's going to be the case with Chelsea, who are waiting to confirm the sale of David Luiz—set to join Paris Saint-Germain in early June, per Ligue1.com—and are also supposedly set to confirm a deal for Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid at around the same time, per Sky Sports.
There are also question marks over the futures of two young players Chelsea loaned out last season, Thibaut Courtois and Romelu Lukaku. The former has been speaking about next season, claiming he’s already held talks with Jose Mourinho ahead of a potential return to Stamford Bridge, per La Derniere Heure (h/t Rhys Turrell of the Daily Star):
My future seemed clear but then we played in the Champions League. And yes, Mourinho called me before the [final League] game against Barcelona. What we talked about stays between us. I have a two-year contract with Chelsea, so in principle I will be there for training, then we’ll talk.
And just to cloud matters further—it all seems to be going on at Chelsea—speculation is rife regarding a host of players that could be on their way in or way out of Stamford Bridge. Here, we bring you the very latest on Chelsea’s reported pursuit, Lazar Markovic—a player who this season has established himself as of one of Europe’s most exciting young talents—and PSG’s interest in another of the Blues’ defenders.
Benfica’s 20-year-old sensation Markovic is a reported target for both Chelsea and Liverpool. According to Portuguese paper Record, the two English sides are “crazy” about the player, per 101GreatGoals.com, having caught the eye with some fine performances in Portugal this season.
Portuguese football expert Jan Hagen gives us a preview of the newspaper's front page here:
"The English are crazy about Markovic - Liverpool and Chelsea lead the chase for the Serbian." [Record's front page] pic.twitter.com/6PsK2yMXG2— Jan Hagen (@PortuBall) June 3, 2014
The Serbian is a player who has enjoyed a wonderful campaign in the Liga Sagres, helping Benfica romp to a comfortable championship win. He’s an exhilarating attacker that can operate on either flank or through the middle. Should he sign up at Chelsea, he’d provide a dynamic, direct threat.
Here are some of the best bits from his breakthrough campaign that saw him net five goals in 26 domestic appearances, per WhoScored.com:
The major downside of this deal would be the complicated nature of Markovic's ownership. Benfica own 50 percent of the player, while a fund owns the remaining 50 percent. Hagen provides us with an indication as to what that could mean for Chelsea here:
Nothing official on Chelsea ownership on Markovic, but @Record_Portugal has reported CFC have an option to buy 50% of his rights for €7,5m.— Jan Hagen (@PortuBall) May 30, 2014
Given the confusing situation regarding the player’s ownership—not to mention the wealth of options Chelsea currently have in attacking midfield—this is a deal that would be best avoided for the Blues.
Mourinho has insisted he is only looking to make "a couple of critical signings" this summer, per Sky Sports, and at the moment, there are areas of the squad that need bolstering much more urgently than in attacking midfield.
Having already taken one defender off Chelsea’s hands, French champions PSG are looking to make it two, with reports suggesting that Laurent Blanc is keen on recruiting Ivanovic.
According to Simon Jones of the Mail Online, Ivanovic is happy to extend his stay at Chelsea, but there could yet be a dispute regarding the length of the contract offered to the 30-year-old. The Serbian international has two years remaining on his current deal, but according to Jones’ piece, when that expires, Chelsea will only be prepared to offer him a one-year deal.
That looks to have alerted PSG, who are reportedly ready to part with £15 million for the player's services and offer him the contract security he craves.
French football expert Jonathan Johnson can see why the Parisians are looking at Ivanovic, but he thinks they should turn their attentions elsewhere:
It’s difficult to see Chelsea parting with the player in truth, especially on the back of such a fine campaign. Ivanovic was key to the Blues finishing the Premier League with the stingiest defence of all 20 teams, and his versatility—capable of playing right-back or centre-back—makes him an invaluable member of this squad.
Even as he is approaching the twilight of his career, Ivanovic is a defender that has shown little concerns when it comes to fitness and is seemingly improving season upon season. You suspect it would take an enormous offer for Mourinho to consider selling one of his most experienced figures, especially after the departures of iconic men Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard.