Douglas Costa has ruled out a switch to the Premier League. The Brazilian, who was a target for both Chelsea and Manchester United, won't join boss Pep Guardiola in leaving Bayern Munich this summer.
Instead, Costa stated his desire to remain at Bayern, per German publication Bild (h/t talkSPORT): "No chance, I have a lot of goals here. It's true, I joined Bayern because of Pep. The first six months with him have been outstanding; the next sixth [sic] months will certainly be outstanding too. I have learned a lot from Pep."
Chelsea were linked with interest in the former Shakhtar Donetsk star prior to the start of this season. Back in March 2015, Costa told FourFourTwo's Marcus Alves he'd "be really interested in moving to Chelsea."
In June, he told Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour (h/t Goal.com) that "Chelsea are one of the great teams in Europe." Apparently, though, Costa is now content at one of the continent's other footballing powers.
Since moving to Bayern, he's added some outrageous trickery and flair, along with electric pace, to an already lethal forward line. Always a bright talent during his time at Shakhtar, his stock has now risen.
Costa has helped himself to four goals and provided nine assists in Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League action, according to ESPN FC.
His fit at Chelsea is obvious since Stamford Bridge is now home to Costa's fellow Brazilian and former Donetsk team-mate, Willian. Costa even talked up their connection during his interview with Alves.
But the Blues aren't really lacking in wide areas, at least in terms of numbers. Willian is joined by Pedro and Eden Hazard. What Chelsea really need is for the latter pair to rediscover their best form.
Instead, the Blues' biggest transfer need is a little further back.
Chelsea Make Firm Offer for John Stones
A young and quick centre-back to replace Gary Cahill and help usher John Terry into retirement is a must. Everton's John Stones fits the bill.
Perhaps that's why Chelsea are said to have bid £44.2 million to finally tempt the Toffees into a sale. According to Spanish website Fichajes.net (h/t Metro's Jamie Sanderson), Arsenal, Manchester United and Barcelona are also identified as keen suitors.
Of course, Stones has been on the Chelsea radar for quite some time. It was one of the transfer sagas of last summer, with Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror claiming Everton turned down four bids from west London for the 21-year-old.
Maybe yet another increased offer will finally get a deal done. Then again, it's hard to see why Everton's stance would have changed with the club still counting on Stones as their talisman at the back.
One thing that is clear is how Chelsea must find an infusion of fresh talent to overhaul their creaky defence. Young Frenchman Kurt Zouma is a starting point, but the 21-year-old central defender needs help.
Needing to replace some ageing players isn't an issue restricted to Chelsea's defence, though.
MLS Side Want Radamel Falcao
Radamel Falcao's ill-fated stint in the Premier League could be nearing a merciful end. MLS side Columbus Crew are apparently in talks concerning the Monaco loanee's future, according to the Daily Mirror (h/t Rhys Turrell of the Daily Star).
Yet while many may be anxious to see the back of him, the report claims there is a potential snag in the talks: "But Chelsea may have to wait until March to get Falcao’s £140,000-per-week pay packet off the wage bill as the MLS season doesn’t start for another two months."
Falcao hasn't made the grade at Chelsea, just like he didn't make the grade at Old Trafford for United last season. Once one of Europe's deadliest finishers, he's become a forgotten man.
Chelsea don't have much behind starting striker Diego Costa. The club has even blocked a move away for Frenchman Loic Remy, their only recognised cover, according to the Sun.
It says a lot about how far Falcao's stock has fallen that a club otherwise desperate to keep strikers is still keen to rid itself of one.
So far, Chelsea's transfer pattern this winter has yet to be shaped. The current rumours are more about who interim manager Guus Hiddink won't be getting.
Of those he might, the continued links to Stones remain interesting. He's young and skilled enough to fill a major need for a squad that's been consistently undermined by its problems at the back this season.
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