Stamford Bridge side set for busy summer.
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Stamford Bridge owner Roman Abramovich is ready to make major moves in the summer transfer market, armed with a large budget and the gravitas of the title ‘Champions League winners’ to help secure the capture of a trio of players that the club have identified with the assistance of technical director Michael Emenalo.
Chief among the targets on the Blues radar is Lille starlet Eden Hazard, a player who is being pursued with some vigour by both Man City & Man United. Abramovich is ready to match offers from the Premier League top two and will hope that the lure of a move to London and a salary offer that will match any coming from the Etihad Stadium big spenders will convince the 21 year old to make the move to Stamford Bridge.
Abramovich is keen to flex his financial muscle having seen Sheikh Mansour preside over a huge spending spree that has led Man City to the title. The Russian’s celebrations following the win at the Allianz Arena have been tempered by the fact that his side are still some way off the top of the Premier League and believes the addition of a ‘marquee’ signing such as Hazard would help to bridge the massive 25 point gap that opened up between the club’s sixth place finish and the Premier League summit.
Next on the Blues radar is Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao, who has long been linked with a move to Chelsea, primarily it seems due to the connections between the former FC Porto forward and former boss Andre Villas-Boas.
Abramovich and Emenalo are keen to bring in a striker capable of netting 20 goals a season and whilst the hope was that £50m striker Fernando Torres would be that man, 18 months following his move from Liverpool that doesn’t appear to be any nearer a reality. The Spaniard has notched up a paltry return of 12 goals in 66 appearances has left the club ready to consider offers for the 28 year old.
Didier Drogba is yet to put pen to paper on a new deal but even if the Ivory Coast international does sign a short term extension it is clear that the 34 year old is no longer a long term prospect and despite his Champions League Final heroics the veteran is not a striker in form, as evidenced by the fact the Chelsea hero has managed just five goals in 24 Premier League appearances this season.
Radamel Falcao has had a consistent first season at the Vicente Calderon, scoring 36 goals in all competitions, but his side’s failure to secure Champions League football could lead to the Colombian international being open to Chelsea’s advances and the cost of missing out on a top four spot could make Atletico Madrid more liable to accepting large offers for the 26 year old.
Third on the list of high-ranking targets is Newcastle United full-back Danny Simpson, who contrary to the huge sums Chelsea will need to fork out for Hazard & Falcao, is available on a free transfer when his Magpies contract comes to an end next month.
The former Man United defender has been a consistent performer at St James’ Park this season but his decision to hold out on any offer put forward by Newcastle United has led many to suggest that the 25 year old is open to offers and would jump at the chance of a move to the European champions.
Chelsea are looking for further defensive options on the right despite a return to form from Portuguese international Jose Bosingwa and feel the chance to snap up a player of Simpson’s quality on a free transfer is too good to pass up. Though Branislav Ivanovic is also able to fill the spot he is considered a far more effective at centre back.
Though Roman Abramovich is keen to show his spending power and improve the Chelsea squad he is also wary of over-extending the club financially, especially given the FFP (Financial Fair Play) guidelines ushered in by UEFA start to bite over the next year or so.
With that in mind the Russian will look to trim his squad by making a number of players available for transfer whilst refusing to give in to increased wage demands from those who’s deals are near to an end.
Abramovich will reportedly consider advances for veterans Florent Malouda, Yossi Benayoun, Michael Essien, Gael Kakuta and Ross Turnbull whilst the Chelsea career’s of soon to be out of contract duo Drogba and Salomon Kalou still hang in the balance.