Chelsea are once again being linked with a transfer move for Juventus star Paul Pogba, while the Blues face a battle for Bologna's Amadou Diawara and Zlatan Ibrahimovic wants to stay with Paris Saint-Germain.
Fichajes.net (h/t Metro's Mark Brus) are the latest to write about Chelsea's hunt for the talented Pogba, claiming owner Roman Abramovich is willing to pay a club-record £64 million for the France international.
The 22-year-old has bounced back from a rough start to the season to once again establish himself as the best young midfielder in the world, guiding the Bianconeri to a superb run of seven straight wins in Serie A.
His agent, Mino Raiola, recently addressed the ongoing transfer speculation and told Turin-based newspaper Tuttosport (h/t Football Italia) his client may leave the club during the summer:
What are the chances of Pogba staying next season? We don’t know yet. Paul will decide based on the offers on the table and what he feels inside. He was already in the same situation last summer.
The player has grown and with him his price-tag, so I think €100m won’t be enough. It depends on (President Andrea) Agnelli.
[…] There haven’t been many calls to my phone for Pogba because so few can afford him, like a limited edition Ferrari. Are Barcelona in pole position? No, the only favourites are Juve.
Pogba has long been touted as one of the most talented midfielders in the sport, but his progression in the last two years has been exceptional, and despite his young age, he already ranks among the top difference-makers in football.
Once known mainly for his flashes of brilliance and the occasional spectacular goal, he's now consistently performing for Juventus and the national team, showcasing his super ability as a ball-winner, distributor, technician and scorer.
Here's a look at some of his highlights:
Per Brus, just about every top team in Europe has expressed an interest in the powerful midfielder, and while £64 million is a lot of money, there's a good chance Juventus will hold out for a sum significantly larger.
The teenager has been a regular starter for Bologna despite his young age, showcasing his tremendous defensive potential for the Serie A club. Here's a look at what he's been up to:
Blues fans may not be too keen on adding yet another young midfielder, as even Ruben Loftus-Cheek has barely seen playing time in 2015-16, but Diawara projects as a more defensive option than Loftus-Cheek and an understudy for Nemanja Matic. He would certainly make a great replacement for John Obi Mikel, who seems likely to leave the club at some point in 2016.
Chelsea's youth setup has done some fine work in the past couple of years, and adding another young stud the club can continue to groom ahead of the arrival of a new manager next summer is never a bad idea. Diawara may not turn the club's fortunes around in 2016, but he could be a great long-term investment.
Meanwhile, Ibrahimovic seems unlikely to leave the French capital anytime soon, as he told L'Equipe (h/t Football Italia) he still has a strong relationship with PSG, saying: “I have a good rapport with PSG. I have no intention of leaving the club and there are no current negotiations on the table.”
The Swede was previously linked with a shock move to Stamford Bridge by gossip website Don Balon (via Luke Gardener of the Daily Star), who claimed Chelsea were willing to offer him wages of up to £215,000 a week.
A move never seemed likely, and in the same interview with L'Equipe, Ibrahimovic hinted at a return to Serie A, rather than a move to the Premier League.
The veteran would be a solid short-term solution for the Blues, but he's always been keen on winning silverware above all else―a move to the struggling Blues would make no sense whatsoever from his point of view.