Atletico Madrid have reportedly opened talks with Chelsea for forward Andre Schurrle as Diego Simeone's side prepare to defend their La Liga title in the coming season.
The Spanish side's chances of signing the German international look slim considering both the player and his club seemingly want him to stay at Stamford Bridge, but Simon Jones of the Daily Mail reports Atletico have opened negotiations with Chelsea.
Schurrle only signed for the Blues last summer from Bayer Leverkusen—for £18 million—and recently expressed his desire to make his mark at Chelsea in the upcoming season, per The Sun (h/t Jones):
I want to win titles with Chelsea and we have an opportunity this season. I need to take the experience of this summer and make the next step at Chelsea, to step up and play a big role this season with the confidence I have. Right now, I feel so confident. I’m tired but feeling better and better.
Schurrle has every right to feel confident having played a major role as an impact substitute for Germany as they won the World Cup earlier in the summer.
His fine performances in Brazil, highlighted by football writer Matthew Stanger, make it even less likely that Chelsea would want to get rid of him:
What a brilliant World Cup for Andre Schurrle. A crucial goal in the last-16 tie against Algeria, a brace v Brazil & an assist in the final.— Matthew Stanger (@MatthewStanger) July 14, 2014
He played 30 league games for Chelsea last season, although half of those were appearances from the bench.
However, he seems to be improving rapidly and could find himself with a more regular starting spot in the coming season, especially as he is incredibly versatile and can play almost anywhere in the attacking unit.
Indeed, at just 23, Schurrle is likely one of the players whom Blues boss Jose Mourinho sees as part of his squad for the long term, per Darren Lewis in the Mirror:
It’s a squad for tomorrow, for next season and also a squad with big possibilities for the next five, 10 years with so many young people so I like my squad very much.
However, Chelsea do still need to move on one more foreign player from their squad as they are currently in breach of Premier League and Champions League rules concerning non-homegrown players over the age of 21.
The Blues currently have 18 foreign players in their squad—one over the limit—but Matt Law in the Telegraph reports that one of Petr Cech, Fernando Torres, John Obi Mikel or Marco van Ginkel is likely to be moved on, not Schurrle.
Jones' report backs up the idea that Schurrle is not on the list of possibilities to be moved on by Chelsea, meaning Atletico's pursuit of the player is likely futile.
Should Chelsea sell Schurrle?
Schurrle could play a major role for Chelsea next season in his second term at the club, as Mourinho will need to utilise the entirety of his impressive squad to make the Blues competitive in both the Champions League and the Premier League.
Despite the presence of players like Willian, Mohamed Salah, Eden Hazard and Oscar, Schurrle proved at the World Cup he is worthy of his place in almost any side.
Equally, he could be utilised as a forward, Chelsea currently looking short with just three strikers, and it would be a foolish move by Mourinho to let him go, not a habit the Portuguese manager is known for.