Reports suggest that Chelsea are all set to sign the 27-year-old Raul Meireles from F.C.Porto, as the "Double" winning Blues look to add depth to their midfield after the exit of veterans Michael Ballack and Joe Cole.
The Portuguese national team regular has been linked with a number of top European clubs including Manchester United, Arsenal and Real Madrid in recent months. But the news on the street is that Chelsea are the favourites to land him and thwart his other suitors.
Raúl José Trindade Meireles, or Raul Meireles as he is commonly known, started his career at Portuguese Aves before joining Boavista, where he rose to prominence as a central midfielder who can also play in a defensive role.
Thereafter he signed for Portuguese league powerhouse F.C.Porto in 2004, where he has been ever since. He also had a good World Cup, where he impressed everyone with his performance.
The 27-year-old Meireles is known for his hard tackling game and excellent passing and long-range shooting. He can comfortably play in both an attacking as well as in a defensive role, which makes him a very good utility player both for his club and country.
The 2009-10 EPL champions are planning to revamp their ageing squad, and Meireles can turn out be an ideal replacement for Chelsea's outgoing stars. His experience and skills on the field can solve Chelsea's problems in the midfield and with his fellow countryman Deco most likely to leave West London, signing Meireles could add depth to the squad.
Meireles has the physical strength to survive the rough and tough English Premier League, and he could blend well into Chelsea's play of power and aggressive football. Meireles also has a good understanding of the game and can add creativity to the midfield.
Signing him for £15m could turn into a good bargain for Chelsea, as he has the potential to fill the gap left in the Blues' midfield by Ballack's exit. With the financial regulations coming into effect in 2012, the high-spending Blues need to stop their cash-splash behaviour if they are to avoid any sanctions.
It remains to be seen whether Chelsea signs the Portuguese midfielder. How he performs in the tougher Premier League, if he does indeed join the London side, also is a question left unanswered.