Chelsea striker Radamel Falcao has claimed he rejected the advances of two Chinese Super League clubs in order to fight for his place at Stamford Bridge. Plus, the Blues are reportedly eyeing a £31.4 million bid for Roma defender Kostas Manolas.
Falcao spoke to El Tiempo, a newspaper in his native Colombia, and professed his desire to make a success out of his season-long loan at Chelsea rather than head for a lucrative move to China (h/t Sky Sports' Jefferson Lake):
It is true that I had two different offers to move to China, but I stayed in England to give myself another opportunity. Going there would have been the easiest way out because it was a great offer, but I preferred to stay here and fight.
I am focused on the club and just live in the present. Football changes very fast and what today can't happen, can tomorrow. I'm not thinking about what might happen on April 29 [the date on which Chelsea must decide whether or not to pay Monaco a pre-agreed fee of £38m to sign the player on a permanent basis].
My job is to give my best and when the time comes to make decisions, we will analyse everything and see, because everything can change in football. Today I think about what Chelsea can do from now to May. I do not look beyond that. Me staying here will depend on many factors, it doesn't depend just on my decision.
The striker's loan spell at Chelsea has been riddled by injuries, and Lake added in his report that Falcao even failed a medical with parent club AS Monaco after it emerged the French outfit were open to a return.
His place in the Chelsea squad was recently put in further doubt after the club brought in Corinthians striker Alexandre Pato on loan, and ESPN FC's Liam Twomey sees the Colombian sitting some way down the order:
Interim Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink may yet hand the once-prolific Falcao a lifeline at Stamford Bridge, but the forward hasn't been the same player since suffering a serious knee injury in January 2014.
His resolve is to be admired if claims of his spurned move to China are indeed genuine, and with his Chelsea move unlikely to be made permanent, Falcao now faces more big decisions in where to take his career this summer.
In defence, Chelsea are reportedly assessing Roma centre-back Manolas as they seek to beef up their back line, and Italian newspaper Il Tempo reported a £31.4 million bid is in the offing (h/t Metro's Tom Olver).
Defensive reinforcements are likely to be a priority at Stamford Bridge this summer as stalwart John Terry prepares for a club exit, and the Mirror's John Cross reported Danish side Brondby will offer him a quick route into management.
Manolas was brought to the Stadio Olimpico in 2014 after Roma sold centre-back predecessor Medhi Benatia to Bayern Munich, and his Greek replacement has excelled in the 18 or so months since his arrival.
Giallorossi writer Julian De Martinis has fantasised over the partnership that pair could have formed had they both played in Rome together, clearly a fan of Manolas' talents:
At 24 years of age, Manolas could present an ideal blend of immediate impact and future potential to partner Gary Cahill in the Chelsea back line while 21-year-old Kurt Zouma—currently injured—continues his development.
Chelsea may struggle to convince manager Luciano Spalletti's side in parting ways with one of their most valued assets, but just as was the case with Benatia, Roma's capability in replacing top talent is proven.