Chelsea Making Progress With Agüero Signing

Austin LindbergCorrespondent INovember 27, 2009

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 03:  Sergio Aguero of Atletico Madrid celebrates after he scores the first goal of the game during Champions League Group D match between Atletico Madrid and Chelsea at the Vicente Calderon Stadium on November 3, 2009 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Two things are becoming evident at Chelsea: Roman Abramovich is ready to splash the cash again and Chelsea are not confident of successfully appealing their transfer ban.

Since the club had their transfer ban lifted until a hearing can take place, the club has been linked to a handful of young players as well as Sergio Agüero, Franck Ribery and David Villa in the January window.  

That's a big list attached to big money to achieve in a transfer window that is historically difficult to do business in.

Chelsea failed to meet Atletico Madrid's £60 million of Agüero in the summer and a deal never materialized. Now that Atletico are in the midst of a relegation battle and have crashed out of the Champions League, Agüero's price has fallen and his desire to leave has never been higher.

Rumors suggest that the price for the Argentine has fallen to somewhere near £40 million but with add-ons will likely reach £50 million. Additionally, Agüero is rumored to have agreed to a five-year deal with Chelsea plus an optional sixth year.  

Agüero is set to make somewhere in the realm of £115,000 a week when he arrives and have his salary rise to £250,000 a week by the time his contract expires.

Insiders still suggest the deal is "50/50" on going through but it seems as though both sides are more desperate than six months ago to make the transfer happen.

Should Chelsea land Agüero, it would likely spell the end of their interest in Valencia's star striker David Villa. Villa has been a fixture in transfer gossip for the past two years because of Valencia's financial difficulties.  

In the summer, Villa seemed poised to join either Real Madrid or Barcelona but Valencia's valuation was too high for either club.

Since that time, Villa has gone on to say that he is open to playing outside Spain. Something he was very hesitant to do before his Madrid and Barcelona deals fell through.  

This put Chelsea and Manchester United on alert. But with the Agüero deal progressing, Chelsea likely will bow out of the race to sign the 27-year-old Spaniard.

Signing any player in January is a difficult proposition. Signing a player who has publicly said he wants to join Madrid, from a club who doesn't want to sell unless they get over-the-top money would be incredibly difficult. Doing so in a January window while already allotting £50 million for another player makes the possibility of Chelsea signing Franck Ribery this January slightly higher than zero.

Regardless, Chelsea will likely make an effort to land Ribery in January anyways. They had a bid of €60 million plus Jose Bosingwa turned down by Bayern Munich. Bayern General Manager Uli Hoeness said the bid fell €15 million short of their valuation of Ribery. With Bayern struggling both domestically and in the Champions League, Ribery is likely to leave sooner rather than later.

The question for Chelsea is if they can convince Ribery to defect to West London in January rather than following Zinedine Zidane's dreams of Ribery joining Madrid in the summer.

Should the Agüero deal go through, it will likely mean Villa goes to United and their ability to sign Ribery is a question mark. If the Agüero deal falls through, it puts greater pressure on the club to agree a deal with Villa and, again, leaves the club uncertain regarding Ribery.

Chelsea are willing to splash the cash and desperate to get their man. The only question is which man, or men, will they get?