Jose Mourinho's need to meet the Premier League's foreign player quota may be limiting Chelsea in their array of transfer options this summer, but it hasn't stopped the rate of speculation hitting Stamford Bridge.
The Blues are still said to be working to sanction deals of the highest order, with targets both young and old appearing in this week's latest headlines.
Here, we break down the most recent developments surrounding the west London outfit, discussing the club's options as they move into the closing stages of the summer transfer window.
Having left Manchester United before really having a chance to make a first-team impression, Paul Pogba may yet dazzle Premier League audiences after talks of a switch to Chelsea emerged.
Along with midfield partner in crime Arturo Vidal, the Juventus anchor has been linked with a £60 million move out of Turin. Anthony Chapman of the Express quotes the player in suggesting he's happy in his current surroundings:
Of course (we want Vidal at Juventus), I hope he will stay. He's injured at the moment and he's trying to get fit. We want him to stay at Juventus. For the moment he is here so we won't speak about him leaving.
I'm just focused on the pitch and on Juventus and doing great things on the pitch. I haven't spoken to any manager or with anyone about my contract so for me I'm just staying focused and training hard.
Nevertheless, Chelsea's practice of conducting major-money deals means that they can't yet be ruled out of the race, having already signed Cesc Fabregas as midfield reinforcement this summer.
Should Pogba's speculation intensify, attention will turn to whom the Blues midfield would sacrifice to make room for his arrival, Mourinho currently possessing too many options to fit the Frenchman in.
John Terry's one-year extension with the club was good news for all at Stamford Bridge, but rumour dictates that Mehdi Benatia is being eyed as the next superstar centre-back in west London.
Manchester United are already attempting to land the Roma bruiser, but the Express' Chapman says Mourinho wants to steal in with a £30 million swoop of his own.
For me, it’s clear. He’s under contract and he will be a Roma player this season. Fortunately the president makes a point of speaking with the players, he likes talking with everyone – he hasn’t just spoken with Mehdi, he’s spoken to them all.
The only thing is that for you, the chat he had with Mehdi is more interesting than the ones he had with the others. In my opinion Mehdi is relaxed, he’s motivated and he will play tomorrow. There’s no problem.
With Kurt Zouma coming into their defence and Branislav Ivanovic providing backup alongside Gary Cahill, Chelsea may not have an immediate need for centre-back recruits, but Mourinho's planning for the future may lead to a pre-emptive move.
Another option for the Portuguese would be to link up with Raphael Varane, the French youngster having apparently left an impression on his old Real Madrid mentor.
Gary Jacob of The Times says that Mourinho may use Real's apparent interested in Petr Cech in order to land the French defender:
Gary Jones of the Daily Star backs up those reports, adding that Varane has become a priority after Atletico rejected Chelsea's attempts on signing Joao Miranda.
Speaking to Yahoo (h/t Sky Sports) earlier this summer, Mourinho lauded Varane's ability:
I think he is the best young central defender in the world. Already I think he's the best. A young player must be somebody who plays in the World Cup for the first time. These are players like Hazard, Neymar and Rafa Varane. Maybe I forget some others.
Such high praise evidently indicates that Mourinho holds a strong admiration of the youngster, but the current limitations on Chelsea's transfer movement may mean a switch must hold off for now.
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