Chelsea Transfer Rumours: The Latest News and Rumours on Blues' Summer Deals
Chelsea transfer rumours have abounded in recent weeks, as the Stamford Bridge club looks to get younger and more athletic.
Issues in the midfield plagued the Blues last season, as did the prolonged slump suffered by megatransfer striker Fernando Torres, which combined to see the Blues finish runner-up to Manchester United in the Premiership, and fall apart in the Champions League quarterfinals.
But, owner Roman Abramovich has pledged to find the team the youth and talent they need to contend for yet another Premiership crown, as well as the team's first Champions League title.
In honor of what could well be a massive summer overhaul of the Stamford Bridge roster (not to mention the currently vacant managerial position), we're breaking down all of the latest scuttlebutt surrounding the Blues' summer plans. We're analyzing the big rumblings and grumblings, and figuring out whether the moves are smart, whether they'll actually happen, or whether they're just wild speculation.
So, let's get to the gossip, shall we?
Raul Meireles will be irrelevant in the Chelsea Blues’ table chase.
The club needed to make a major acquisition and they did just that by landing Meireles from Liverpool.
“The deadline day took a dramatic twist as the club confirmed that Raul Meireles joined Chelsea on a four-year deal as the window was on the verge of closing.
News that the Portugal international, who had been tipped to exit Anfield this summer, had submitted a transfer request as the broke just half an hour before the deadline passed.
Chelsea were the firm favourite to secure Meireles's capture and a £12million fee has been agreed between the clubs for the midfielder, who is currently sidelined with a collarbone injury.
The 28-year-old scored Liverpool's only goal when they left Stamford Bridge victorious in February, when Fernando Torres faced his former employers as a Chelsea player,” according to Click Liverpool’s Richard Buxton.
Still, he won’t have the major affect on the club they desperately need. This team has holes to fill and it will be impossible for Meireles to fill them all—especially when he’s currently dealing with injury.
A collarbone injury is nothing to scoff at. Meireles can aggravate the injury with any sharp or sudden movement, let alone falling to the pitch attempting to make a big play. His presence will be felt immediately across the club as he will surely fire up his Chelsea teammates, coaches and fans, but a quick adrenaline rush won’t provide the Blues the boost they need for a table chase the rest of the year.
Meireles will make a bigger impact next year when he is fully healthy and puts this collarbone injury behind him. For now, I would expect to see him on the sidelines as much, if not more, than he is on the field. Chelsea needs to see a return on their investment on the pitch, not the sidelines. He can try to rile up his teammates all he wants, it won’t be enough if he’s not on the field making play after play.
Chelsea simply does not have enough to combat the talent of the other clubs. Meireles is one piece to the puzzle, but he will be severely limited moving forward. We still don’t know when he will return healthy and the Blues can’t afford to wait too long. The only problem is if he tries to be a warrior and rushes back, the Blues won’t be relevant in a table chase for quite some time.
Do not expect to see the Chelsea Blues make a run in the table chase.
Chelsea made a major splash by acquiring Raul Meireles from the Liverpool Reds, but he won’t be enough to put the Blues over the top. He won’t be able to single-handedly push the Blues forward. It’s impossible to expect the Blues to crumble after receiving the electric infusion a player like Meireles brings to the club, but they will remain stuck in the middle of the pack.
Meireles is an intense and dynamic player, but he comes to the club bothered by injury. We don’t know exactly when he will return and for all we know, his return may be too little too late.
How will he react when he comes back?
Will the injury hinder his ability to perform?
Will he rush back to the pitch and re-injure himself?
These concerns are major and cannot be taken lightly. Blues fans would be justified to be as concerned as they are happy to have his services on board. It is as high-risk-high-reward as you could’ve gotten at the transfer window deadline. It was a move Chelsea needed to make, but one that could blow up in their faces through no fault of their own.
At this point, given the concerns surrounding his health, Chelsea has to hope his presence alone will be enough to spark the club. They need the adrenaline pumping throughout the city. They needed a move to send shockwaves throughout the club and its fan base. They were successful, but all that matters is the play on the field. They need to start winning games and they won’t do that as long as Meireles is sidelined.
Even if Meireles returns sooner than later, the opposition is too strong. He would have to play above and beyond his abilities, despite worrying about further injury, to even begin to catapult the Blues skyward. Chelsea made a great move to prepare for the future, but they will not seen immediate return on their investment.
Chelsea has solidified its place among the top four in the Premier League with the signing of former Liverpool star midfielder Raul Meireles.
The deal, which is reported to be for four years, lands the Blues a player in Meireles who was named the 2011 PFA Fans' Player of the Year following a highly-successful first season at Liverpool last season.
In Meireles, the Blues have their sixth signing since last season, as the 28-year-old will join recent acquisitions Juan Mata, Thibaut Courtois, Romelu Lukaku, Oriol Romeu and Ulises Davila.
Known for a physical style perfect for the Premier League, Meireles also has good range on his passing, with the ability to set up spectacular opportunities for Chelsea. He's a dominant, all-around player who will be a big addition to a club trying to catch favorite Manchester United along with the rest of the league.
Meireles first caught the eye of Liverpool with his performance in the 2010 World Cup, particularly when he scored and helped Portugal defeat North Korea, 7-0, in the club's second group stage match.
And although he started off slowly with Liverpool, he quickly blossomed after coming to life in January when he scored five goals in six games.
Chelsea, currently fourth in the Premier League behind United, Manchester City and Liverpool after a 3-1 victory against Norwich on Saturday, has got to be feeling good about the Meireles signing. After Liverpool reportedly rejected the Blues' initial offer on Tuesday, Chelsea met the Reds' demands after missing out on Tottenham's Luka Modric.
While still not the favorites, Chelsea once again has proven it is a solid club always to be looked out for in the top four.
Chelsea Transfer News: Florent Malouda Will Regret Staying at Stamford Bridge
Florent Malouda's desire to remain at Chelsea FC despite interest from Premier League rival Arsenal is a major mistake in the Frenchman's career.
Malouda has been a constant presence in the Chelsea starting 11 the for years, but with the arrival of Spanish winger Juan Mata last week, and the abundance of youth starting to see action with the first team, Malouda's days as a regular are likely numbered.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has reportedly had interest in buying the Frenchman to bolster his depleted squad, with a bid of about £10 million needed to acquire the Chelsea man.
But Malouda has insisted he's not leaving Stamford Bridge, and said the following about his future today via the Daily Mirror:
"I've always been clear in my choices. It's going to be very difficult to take me out of my club.
"I've still got two years left on my Chelsea contract. My objective is to extend by one year until the 2014 World Cup.
"That hasn't changed and it won't change tonight."
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has been assembling a younger squad, and thus aging players at the club such as Malouda, Nicolas Anelka, and Didier Drogba have seen their roles diminish.
Malouda would be a very good fit at Arsenal, who are desperate for any offensive help, especially from an experienced player at both the club and international levels.
His ties with France would fit in very well with the French culture surrounding Arsenal, and their manager Arsene Wenger.
Malouda would give the Gunners another solid player on the wing, with him on the left and young Englishman Theo Walcott on the right.
If Malouda were to join Arsenal, he would receive regular playing time and would be a first choice winger for Wenger.
He'd also still be able to particiapte in Champions League football, and play for one of the Premier League's major club.
There's no reason for Florent Malouda to remain at Chelsea when Arsenal can offer him a bigger role in the squad and full participation in the biggest club competitions.
Chelsea is desperate to land a playmaking midfielder.
Their summer-long attempt to land Luka Modric has officially put them in desperation mode in chase of Manchester United and Manchester City.
The Blues are a solid squad as is, and new boss Andre Villas-Boas has done solid work so far in the transfer window. But like all squads on deadline day, the lure of one more player is almost always too much.
Earlier today news broke of Chelsea making a surprise swoop of French midfielder Franck Ribery. The 28-year-old Bayern Munich star would be a very surprising addition to the West London outfit, but anything is possible.
Chelsea bid £30m for the controversial star, but the German giants wanted no less than £36m.
According to Mirror Football, the German outfit deny these rumours saying, "There has been no offer and it is a complete non-starter."
Despite their reported desire, this is a good thing for the Blues.
Chelsea, who obviously have no financial issues, can afford to pay for whomever they like. But overpaying for Ribery, who is overrated as it is, would be a major mistake.
We've already seen one surprising Bundesliga-Premier League switch, Per Mertesacker to Arsenal, and it would certainly be surprising to see another.
Chelsea are still in for a number other stars as well. With a few hours remaining it would surprise nobody to see them make another attempt elsewhere.
Villas-Boas is still in talks to land Porto's Uruguayan left wing-back Alvaro Pereira. The two sides are still haggling over fees and this could cause the Blues to halt any other moves until they lock it up.
If Bayern Munich says these rumours for Franck Ribery are a "non-starter" then Chelsea needs to leave it alone and focus their efforts elsewhere. Stamford Bridge is better off without the French midfielder.
Andre Villas-Boas has been patient since taking over at Stamford Bridge earlier this summer.
The new boss has made solid moves, has played the transfer window relatively well, and the only thing he's not accomplished is the long-rumoured steal of Luka Modric from Tottenham.
Spurs have become increasingly more difficult to appease in the deal and now manager Harry Redknapp claims the 25-year old Croatian sensation is, "one million per cent" staying at White Hart Lane.
This leaves Chelsea in a bind after chasing Modric all summer, and according to The Sun they have made a surprise £30m swoop for French midfielder Franck Ribery. The 28-year old Frenchman currently stars for Bayern Munich in Germany:
Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas has turned to Ribery in his search for a world-class playmaker after being frustrated by Spurs chairman Daniel Levy's tough stance over Luka Modric.
But Bayern Munich will not consider a deal for less than £36m. The Blues are ready to hand him a pay deal worth £10m a year.
Ribery's checkered past off the pitch is not a deal breaker, but it does bring about a question mark or two for the highest paid player in all of Germany. At £36m he'd be a hefty price tag even for the West London outfit and at £10m a year he'd be making serious money in England as well.
Chelsea's desperation to keep pace with Manchester United and Manchester City is not a pointless chase, but adding Ribery to the picture is.
By most accounts he's overrated to begin with and his feisty attitude could become a problem with Villas-Boas as he looks to assert his own ways at Stamford Bridge.
The French national team can certainly attest to the problems Ribery has caused in the past.
Losing out on Modric is a tough pill to swallow. The chase has gone on for the better part of the summer and the wantaway star nearly got it done with a transfer request. But Spurs stayed defensive and appear to have won the battle as deadline day draws to a close.
If Chelsea ups their bid and matches Bayern's valuation it will be the worst move Villas-Boas has made all summer.
Ribery is a talent, but the Blues cannot let desperation drive them to overpaying for an overrated player.
If Chelsea want to truly land a superstar this summer, and not be thwarted by stubborn chairman or bitter rivals, they need to stand up and make the move for Javier Pastore.
Paris Saint-Germain, a star-hungry French side that has just recently come into serious financial backing, has been chasing stars across Europe for much of the summer, even offering Chelsea money for Nicolas Anelka, and are reportedly the other power fighting Chelsea for Palermo's Javier Pastore.
According to Mirror Football:
The Parisians, recently taken over by the Qatar Investment Authority, have emerged as big-hitters in the transfer market this summer and Zamparini (Palermo president) believes it is between them and Chelsea for the Argentina international.
We have already heard Palermo officials speak their mind about Chelsea being the most likely destination for the star, but PSG is going to let it happen quietly.
Pastore, a 22-year old Argentine with an extremely bright future, has been linked to nearly every major club this summer and of all the rumors the one likely outcome is that he won't be back in Italy for the upcoming campaign.
As for Chelsea though, they have been in the hunt for a big name since landing Andre Villas-Boas as the new manager but have not broken through just yet. They are expected to complete a deal with Barcelona for Oriol Romeu, a potential long-term replacement for Michael Essien, but their attempts to land Luka Modric have been anything but successful.
Reports indicate they're willing to add 21-year old striker Daniel Sturridge to the deal for Modric to try and entire Tottenham to finally sell, but that depends on the signing of Romelu Lukaku, the 18-year old Belgian heir to Didier Drogba's goal-scoring throne in West London.
So with a plethora of implications surrounding their other targets, Villas-Boas needs to see the gold mine in front of him with Pastore.
The Argentine playmaker is poised to move away from Italy, wants to play for a big club and the Blues have an inside track if they can fend off PSG. The French side finished fourth in Ligue 1 a year ago and the competition in the top six of France is very tight.
With Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy so adamant about holding onto Modric, the Blues best move right now would be to focus all their energy on Pastore because the Italian club is looking to get a deal done sooner than later.
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Luka Modric has joined his fellow Spurs teammates in pre-season training, but Chelsea hasn't given up in the chase for the Croatian just yet.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has fought endlessly in his attempts to keep the 25-year old, going as far to say he wouldn't even sell him at valuation price.
Levy also fears that if Modric goes then teams will pounce on superstar Gareth Bale. Tottenham finished fifth last campaign just behind Arsenal and are poised to make a run at the Champions League if they can keep both players, but Chelsea is making life incredibly difficult.
According to a report in the Daily Star, Villas-Boas is set to increase his offer once again:
Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas is poised to test Spurs’ resolve to keep Luka Modric by offering them £27million and Daniel Sturridge.
Don't think too much into it just yet though, the inclusion of Sturridge depends on Chelsea's pursuit of Anderlecht striker Romelu Lukaku.
The 18-year old Belgian striker would be an ideal fit up top for Chelsea going into the future as Didier Drogba is entering the last years of his career at Stamford Bridge, but Arsenal is chasing him as well.
But Villas-Boas is confident the deal will get done after reportedly landing Barcelona starlet Oriol Romeu, a young Spanish midfielder as his first move of the summer.
Back to Sturridge though, the 21-year old striker erupted for 8 goals in 12 league appearances for Bolton last season and he has shown more than enough talent to push for time. But Chelsea doesn't have a ton of room at the striker position, not with Drogba, Fernando Torres, Nicolas Anelka and Salomon Kalou all in front of Sturridge.
With Lukaku they can afford to sell off Sturridge, even if he is extremely talented.
Modric welcomes a move to West London, has gone as far saying it would be a "dream move", and if they were to put Sturridge into the mix it would likely come out to about £37m - Sturridge included - in the deal.
This will be a really difficult decision for Levy to make if the bid is put on the table. The Blues, although persistent in their chase for a striker this summer, were set on keeping Sturridge and value him very highly, but Modric is on another level.
Adding the 25-year old could change everything for the Blues' chase of Manchester United in the English table and Villas-Boas looks to be making all the right moves to make it happen.
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The West London club has a new boss, but longtime defensive midfielder Michael Essien is down with an injury again the Blues need a replacement.
It could be six months, it could be the entire campaign, but either way the injury to the 28-year old is the third in as many years and is a legitimate problem for the Blues.
Chelsea haven't made a major signing all summer other than inking Villas-Boas as manager, but now, according to Mirror Football, they have agreed to terms with Barcelona on a deal for Oriol Romeu:
Chelsea have reached agreement with Barcelona for the signing of Oriol Romeu. Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas confirmed the news at a press conference in Bangkok, although 19-year-old Romeu is yet to have a medical or agree personal terms as he is currently with Spain at the Under-20 World Cup
Romeu has made only two appearances for the Catalan giants, but he has starred for their B-squad since 2009 and has an extremely bright future.
The 19-year old Spaniard is currently playing in the U-20 World Cup and has yet to take a medical or agree to terms with the English club, but that is merely a formality at this point. The Blues have plenty of money, a major position of need and this deal will be completed when Romeu returns.
Essien's absence is a big deal for this team, and Chelsea have been linked to a number of other players before coming to a deal with the Spanish side for Romeu.
149 league appearances from Essien are impossible to replace, but they need to start trying somewhere. At only 19-years old Romeu could be the present and future for this club if all goes well.
The Blues won't stop spending after the move for Romeu as their pursuit for Luka Modric continues. That situation is ugly though, and Tottenham are fighting tooth and nail to stop the move.
You can follow Wes O'Donnell on Twitter.
Chelsea's search for a new midfielder to replace injured star Michael Essien has been unsuccessful through the first few weeks of looking. Bids for everyone from Samir Nasri and Luka Modric to Javier Pastore and Daniele de Rossi have yet to generate any kind of results.
But that won't stop manager Andre Villas-Boas from continuing the search. In fact, the new Blues' boss has ramped up the search, casting a wider net to encompass more long-term prospects.
That wide net helps explain the Blues' interest in Barcelona teen phenom Oriol Romeu. The 19-year-old defensive midfielder is one of the brighter young stars on Barca's reserve squad, having made a pair of surprisingly successful stints with the senior club early on last season.
According to a report from The Independent, that time with the big club was enough to draw Villas-Boas' interest. Barcelona are willing to part with the teen phenom, at a cost of approximately £4.35 million, but given his versatility, Romeu could prove well worth the sticker price.
The young Spaniard has shined on the U-20 international stage, finding his niche in a big way. He's capable of playing a central midfield role or a centre-back role, which only serves to increase his value significantly.
He's got solid pace, and his tackling is exceptional for such a young player, particularly a hybrid defender like he is. Romeu brings plenty to the table offensively, as well, displaying good touch on the ball and decent passing skills.
In fact, given his skills, Romeu is seen by many as a potential replacement for Essien or as a long-term defensive heir in the centre for the Blues. He's a supremely talented player, and one who would be a major asset, particularly in the thin midfield at Stamford Bridge, over the long term.
But, there's a minor hitch. As they do with many of their best young prospects, Barca have reportedly demanded that a £7 million buyback clause, giving them the option of grabbing Romeu back from the Blues if he wound up becoming a star in the not-so-distant future. If Chelsea aren't keen on that idea (a very real possibility), then either the price would go up significantly or the deal would be scuppered.
In the end, this would be a good move for the Blues, given their need at central midfield and in their central defense (depth never hurts there). He's a talented player with plenty of upside, and could make a major impact shortly after his arrival. Even if it takes him a bit longer to stick in the Blues' starting XI than they'd like, he could be great. But, the buyback clause could be a major sticking point here. There's a lot that needs to go right for this deal to get done, but there's a good chance it does. Look for it to progress quickly, as terms have been negotiated, as the Blues hunt for someone capable of giving them talent at central midfield.
Chelsea's hunt for a new central midfielder to replace injured star Michael Essien is getting steadily more pressing by the day. The Blues lack the depth and talent in the midfield to find an adequate replacement for the Ghanian star on their own roster, and their pursuits of midfielders like Javier Pastore, Samir Nasri and Luka Modric have each come up empty-handed.
So, the Blues push on in their pursuit of an adequate replacement, looking far and wide to find the kind of playmaker they need to fill the void. Most recently, the club had been linked to a move for former midfield standout Scott Parker, but manager Andre Villas-Boas isn't ready to call off the hunt just yet.
According to a talkSPORT report, Chelsea are looking into a move to grab Marseille playmaker Lucho Gonzalez to fill the void left by Essien in the middle. The 30-year-old Argentine international is set to leave the French club this summer, and Chelsea just so happen to have a sizable need for his services in the middle.
Gonzalez is an incredibly versatile midfielder, capable of playing a plethora of different roles in the midfield. He can play in the centre or on the wing in the midfield, and has the skills to thrive in whatever role Villas-Boas needs him to play.
Lucho is renowned for his work ethic and drive, and has sublime passing skills, to boot. His shot is excellent, and he's been known to unleash fantastic goals from distance. His defensive skills are solid as well, and while he's a bit older than Chelsea would probably like, he's got the skill to make up for it.
The Argentine playmaker likely won't come cheaply for the Blues; Marseille paid €18 million for his services and would look to recoup a solid portion of that in any deal they do. But, we know Chelsea have the funds to acquire virtually any player they see fit, and if the interest in Gonzalez is strong enough, they'll make it happen.
The Blues aren't the only ones in this race; Everton have an active interest in the talented midfielder as well, although they lack the prestige of Chelsea and would be considered the second-favorite to land him at this stage of the game.
Much of Chelsea's interest in Gonzalez will hinge on how some of their other target quests turn out. The Blues are in the hunt for players like Daniele de Rossi and the aforementioned Parker, and both of them could be higher on the Blues' target list than the Argentine. If they get either Parker or de Rossi, their interest in Gonzalez is likely to wane, making Everton his likely destination.
In the end, the Marseille star is an excellent consolation prize for the Blues, if their other options fail to pan out. He's a balanced, skilled midfielder who would fill Villas-Boas' needs brilliantly, and is reasonably priced at this stage of the game. We'll know more about Chelsea's interest in the Argentine in the coming weeks, but if they want him, they have to be considered the favorites to land him. He'd be a solid fit, and would thrive in the system at Stamford Bridge for the next few seasons, while Villas-Boas searches for younger talent with better upside.
Chelsea have been on the lookout for a new central midfielder to help boost their offense since the summer transfer window opened. New manager Andre Villas-Boas has been looking for new, younger playmakers to help take pressure off talismanic midfielder Frank Lampard, and has cast a wide net to do it.
However, the Blues' search was intensified courtesy of Michael Essien, who tore his MCL in practice two weeks ago and is slated to be out for six months with the injury.
One name consistently linked to a move to Stamford Bridge over the last two weeks is that of Roma's Daniele de Rossi. The 27-year-old playmaker's contract is up after next season, and many thought perhaps he could be headed out of the club this summer.
However, Roma have been less than willing to sell, firmly convinced they can persuade de Rossi to take their contract extension before the transfer window slams shut, thereby ending the Blues' bid to land the talented Italian international.
But a Daily Star report hints that perhaps the Italian club are slowly becoming more willing to sell their captain of the future, thanks to a hitch in their plan to re-sign him.
Shockingly, De Rossi isn't terribly keen to re-sign with a club whose fans took to booing him regularly last season, and Roma are struggling to make any kind of headway in their pursuit of an extension. Now the Italian club may be willing to let their star midfielder go for a price well below the £15 million many expected him to cost this summer.
The 27-year-old has been destined for greatness since stepping on the pitch at Roma, but was doomed by unrealistic expectations. He plays a complete game, without many holes offensively or defensively, and that versatility is what makes him such a hot commodity this summer. He'd slip perfectly into Chelsea's midfield alongside Frank Lampard, and would provide a massive boost to the Stamford Bridge offense.
While Chelsea are the logical destination for the talented playmaker, they're not the only ones in the market for his services. Manchester City, who are officially in every transfer race going on this summer, have also inquired about de Rossi's services, as they look to improve prior to their Champions League debut.
City have the cash to splash to get the talented Italian, and can match Chelsea's bids with deep pockets of their own.
But while City have the cash, Chelsea are banking that their promise of a guaranteed starting spot in the midfield will be enough to entice De Rossi to Stamford Bridge.
In the end, Chelsea have to like their chances of landing the talented playmaker they've been seeking. De Rossi would be a fantastic fit at Stamford Bridge, giving the midfield depth and versatility that it needs to be successful. They can offer De Rossi the same kind of cash City can, with more guaranteed playing time. Look to hear more about the two clubs' bidding war in the coming weeks, as Chelsea push to find the solution to their severe lack of midfielders sooner rather than later.
Chelsea have been in the market for young, goal-scoring talent since the instant the summer transfer window opened. The Blues have been seeking a potential long-term striker partner (and eventual replacement for) megabucks forward Fernando Torres, and have been linked to everyone from Sergio Aguero to Anderlecht teen phenom Romelu Lukaku.
Now, according to a BBC Sport report, the Blues have finally submitted a formal bid for Lukaku's services, bringing them one step closer to landing the 18-year-old wunderkind.
The Blues have been hot on the Belgian phenom's trail since the start of the transfer period back in June, and reports had previously indicated that they'd been negotiating a deal with Anderlecht for nearly a month.
In June, Anderlecht general manager Herman van Holsbeeck said: "There is still a long way to go in the negotiations.
"We are indeed negotiating with Chelsea, but there are other clubs we are talking to."
While Chelsea's bid doesn't assure them of landing Lukaku (Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City also had shown interest), it does confirm their status as the front-runners to land him. After all, they wouldn't make a formal bid if they weren't sure they'd hit the figure the Belgian side wanted in return for their supremely talented star, believed to be in the range of £18 million.
Should the Blues be successful, Lukaku would make the perfect long-term strike partner for Torres. His size, speed and ball-handling skills have made him one of the top prospects in Europe, and he figures to make the big club sooner rather than later. However, reports indicate that Chelsea plans to loan him out shortly after acquiring him, in an effort to clear what is quickly becoming a minor logjam at forward.
There's the potential for him to be a bust, but given his considerable physical gifts and the way he thrived at Anderlecht, the 18-year-old striker's risk of going bust is minimal. He's a big, rangy striker with a great nose for goal, having scored 39 goals in his last two seasons in Belgium, and should provide an excellent strike partner for Fernando Torres over the long term.
In the end, this is a smart move for the Blues, as Villas-Boas seems committed to finding young talent to keep the club successful in the future. Lukaku is one of the brightest teen phenoms in the sport right now, and as long as he's given a chance, he should thrive at Stamford Bridge in the near future. He may go out on loan for a year to give the Blues a chance to clear some veterans out, but expect to see him starring for Chelsea for the foreseeable future.
Chelsea have been looking to get younger and more athletic this summer under new manager Andre Villas-Boas, but as a result of their push for youth in the roster, several older stars have been linked to moves out of Stamford Bridge.
One of the biggest names rumoured to be on his way out of the club is striker Nicolas Anelka. The Frenchman has thrived in his time with the Blues, but with a plethora of younger talent (or, in the case of Didier Drogba, more talented veterans) ready to make the roster, Anelka seemed likely to take a high-priced offer from a different club.
Or, if a Mirror Football report is to be believed, maybe he's not. The 32-year-old Frenchman told reporters that he wants to stay with the Blues next season, to be a part of what Villas-Boas is planning.
"I am still here and still very pleased to be with Chelsea. I like a challenge," Anelka said.
It is all part of the game and when you play at a club like Chelsea you have to be ready to meet the challenge from wherever it comes.
"Every single member of this squad will have to fight to play and I am ready to fight."
But is Anelka making the right call opting to stick around in London, or would the talented veteran be better suited to plying his craft elsewhere?
There's little denying that Anelka is going to have his work cut out for himself earning regular playing time next season. With Fernando Torres a lock to start, and Didier Drogba still in the fold, Chelsea have three players who would be full-time starters at most clubs.
But the Blues also have a pair of young strikers likely to be vying for first-team minutes, as well, in Daniel Sturridge (who seems likely to stay at Stamford Bridge after a brilliant loan spell at Bolton) and Romelu Lukaku, the 18-year-old phenom who Chelsea have submitted a formal bid for this week.
In other words, things are awfully crowded on the front line for the Blues, and Anelka has a good chance of being the odd man out, even in a three-man front line.
That's not to say that the Frenchman won't play next season; there's a solid chance that Villas-Boas decides to go with experience over upside in his rotation, and gives Anelka the minutes in this situation, either as the first man off the bench or as the third forward on the three-man line. He could still see serious minutes, even if he's not starting, and has shown an ability to thrive in a substitute role in the past.
However, should he decide to jump ship, the 32-year-old striker would likely be assured of starting week in and week out at whatever club he joined. He'd be the featured offensive option for at least another season or two pretty much anywhere else, and could thrive in that role, as well.
In the end, Anelka has a chance at keeping his place at Chelsea, but the safer move would be to jump ship soon. Even if he's getting a regular spot this season, his place for the future is hardly assured, and he'd likely be able to make a bit more cash jumping to a club interested in acquiring him. I think he'll stay, and odds are good he'll carve out a niche given his talent and the inexperience of the other options, but he'd be better served over the long term leaving Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea's hunt for a replacement for Michael Essien has taken them to places they never actually expected to be looking this summer. As the weeks have gone by, the Blues' determination (or maybe it's desperation) has grown, and their net of potential transfer targets has grown larger and larger.
Included in that list of surprising targets is West Ham playmaking wing Scott Parker. The 30-year-old midfielder was the Football Writers Association player of the year last season, and has since attracted the attention of a number of top clubs.
Previously, the Blues had been linked to Parker as a potential loan target, in a move that would allow the veteran midfielder to remain in the Premiership for a season while the Hammers attempted to get back into it. Then, more permanent arrangements could be made.
However, The Sun reports that the Blues are looking at making the arrangement more permanent, bringing the 30-year-old midfielder over to help fill the void left by Michael Essien in the midfield.
Manager Andre Villas-Boas is contemplating a £7.5 million bid for the playmaking midfielder, but is the decision the right one? Will Parker fit the Blues' needs, or is the veteran midfielder a waste of the Blues' time?
Parker was a midfielder for Stamford Bridge once, as you'll recall, but the then budding midfielder was shipped on his way after a single season with the London club.
He actually fits the Blues' needs quite well. While he's not the biggest or the best midfielder on the market, Parker can run all day, and is a skilled playmaker and scorer. He works harder than anyone on the pitch, and is as dedicated a player as you'll ever find in the Premiership.
He's a solid facilitator, and loves getting forward on plays to help create chances. He's not the best ball-handler on the face of the Earth, but his passion more than makes up for it. Given the Blues' needs in the midfield, his balanced game and ability to create chances will make him an excellent fit, while his pace will make him a welcome addition at Stamford Bridge.
On top of that, at a price rumoured to be in the £7 to £9 million range, he's a much lower-cost option than pretty much any other midfield target the Blues have pursued this summer. He's not going to be a superstar, but he's certainly worth that low, low price.
There are some concerns with Parker, though. At age 30, he's not going to be the up-and-coming youngster that Chelsea have been seeking, and he's not the bona fide star they've been looking for to help boost Fernando Torres. He's got solid offensive skills, to be sure, but he's no Javier Pastore.
In the end, this move is a surprisingly smart one for Villas-Boas, particularly when you consider the fact that the Blues are losing their hunts for their other midfield targets. Parker isn't going to blow anyone away even at his peak, but his tough, hard-nosed playing style could be just what Chelsea need, while his offensive skills will be a good boost for the Blues going forward.
Parker is a solid low-cost option for a couple of seasons while Chelsea continues hunting for bigger targets, and should thrive in the offense at Stamford Bridge next season, should he decide to return there.