The summer transfer window might have had a slow start due to the 2014 World Cup, but judging by the latest reports, several clubs are increasing their interest in signing a number of vital Chelsea players.
Jose Mourinho is widely expected to continue improving his squad during the summer, but part of those improvements is making sure key contributors remain at the club.
With that in mind, let's have a look at some of the latest reports surrounding these players, and how the rest of the summer transfer window will play out.
Paris Saint-Germain No Longer Pursuing Eden Hazard
PSG were heavily linked with a move for the Belgian international, but manager Laurent Blanc told RMC Brazil (h/t to Sky Sports) the club no longer consider a move for Hazard a possibility:
Hazard is a top player, but I think Chelsea want to keep him.
A lot of players are going to be mentioned, but we have already got our priority, David Luiz. We’re going to wait a bit before making any more signings. Be patient.
Per the report, both Chelsea and Hazard made it clear they had no intentions of parting during the summer, with the winger enjoying a tremendous breakout season at the club in 2013-14.
Mourinho is expected to build his squad around the abilities of the explosive Hazard, who has the versatility to man every spot in Chelsea's offensive part of the midfield but does most of his damage playing on the left wing.
Football author John Green didn't hide his admiration of the Belgian following his World Cup performance against Russia, providing his team with the assist for the winning goal:
Regardless, Hazard is a genius whose feet fill my heart with hope even as his neckbeard reminds me that all human effort is finally futile.— John Green (@sportswithjohn) June 22, 2014
Players with Hazard's potential don't come along very often, so it's highly unlikely Mourinho will allow him to depart the club anytime soon.
Ramires Is Real Madrid's Top Summer Priority
Per Marca (h/t to The Express' James Dickenson), Carlo Ancelotti has informed Real's club officials his No. 1 target for the summer is Ramires, urging them to push for a move.
Mourinho has already stated Ramires is "not for sale," per Dickenson, but that hasn't stopped Ancelotti from trying.
The Brazilian international had a season filled with ups and downs at the club in 2013-14, but at his very best, his athleticism and physicality in front of the defence allow the other midfield players to take more chances moving forward.
With Frank Lampard leaving the Blues, it's understandable Mourinho wouldn't want any more turnover amongst his defensive midfielders. Chelsea do have an able replacement in Nemanja Matic, however, so a substantial offer for Ramires could change Mourinho's mind.
Real could use an enforcer in midfield like Ramires, especially given the fact Xabi Alonso's career seems to be nearing its end, via Talksport's Stan Collymore:
Xabi Alonso retires from International football. @talkSPORT LIVE— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) June 21, 2014
For now it appears Chelsea have no interest in letting Ramires walk, but if Ancelotti is truly that desperate for the Brazilian, don't be surprised if he makes the switch at some point during the summer.
Ashley Cole Receiving Offers From Barcelona, AC Milan
Chelsea decided they were no longer interested in the services of the former international at the end of last season, but according to The Daily Mail's Neil Ashton, several other European heavyweights wouldn't mind bringing Cole into the fold.
Cole showed last year that while he is no longer the dominant left-wing force he used to be, he is still more than capable of holding his own. On a short-term basis, the left-back could be a valuable asset to both the Rossoneri and the Blaugrana.
He wasn't a part of Roy Hodgson's England squad, something The Mirror's John Cross thinks was a tremendous mistake:
Spare me the excuses. Roy Hodgson made fundamental mistakes. Ashley Cole, tactics, formation. Don't buy the argument there's no-one better.— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) June 20, 2014
It'll be strange seeing Cole wear anything but Chelsea's iconic blue kit during the 2014-15 season, but should he decide to accept Barcelona's offer, there's a chance fans could see him play at Stamford Bridge once again next season, during the UEFA Champions League.