Porto striker to join Hazard at European Champions.
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The news comes just 48 hours after Chelsea reached an agreement to sign Belgian winger Eden Hazard, with only the formalities left to be completed on his £32 million switch to Stamford Bridge.
Hazard’s arrival in west London, days after rejecting Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal, is likely to be sealed after Belgium’s friendly with England on Sunday, by which time the Blues hope to have struck a deal with Porto to bring powerful forward Hulk to the club, as they continue their summer of spending.
Givanildo Vieira de Souze, known simply as Hulk, is rated as one of the best forward’s in Europe, having scored 52 goals in 95 appearances, including 21 last season, following his £4.4 million move from Japanese side Tokyo Verdy in 2008.
A versatile, strong, left footed forward, Hulk is seen as an ideal replacement for Didier Drogba – who will quit Chelsea when his contract expires on June 30th, with a move to Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua on the cards.
Chelsea have been chasing Hulk for around 18 months, and believed they were close to a deal in January, only for Porto to hold firm on their £60 million valuation, backed up by the player having an £80 million buy out clause.
However, the 25-year-old is desperate to move to the Premier League, and has told Porto he will try and force through a switch if a deal cannot be struck, leading to the club changing their stance.
Porto are still determined to keep Hulk for at least another 12 months, but talks with Chelsea later this week are likely to end with the Brazil international move to Stamford Bridge in a deal worth £40 million.
Hulk is likely to be handed around £120,000-a-week on a four-year contract, and following hot on the trail of Hazard and £6.5 million winger Marko Marin, he would be Chelsea’s third signing of the summer so far.
Following the disappointment of finishing a distant 6th in the League, European Champions Chelsea are gearing up for a serious title challenge next season. The focus of their rebuilding, so far, has been on attacking players. Highly rated Belgian winger Kevin de Bruyne will arrive this summer, while Marko Marin, a delightfully talented midfielder with a hint of the Luka Modric about him, has already signed – a deal that slipped under the radar somewhat.
Add Eden Hazard and Hulk to an already potent mix that includes Juan Mata and Daniel Sturridge, and the Blues potentially have a frightening array of attacking options to call upon next year.
However, it’s in defence that the Stamford Bridge side struggled most in the League last season. Captain John Terry isn’t getting any younger and was cruelly exposed by Liverpool’s Andy Carroll at the back end of last season, while David Luiz, although stylish and talented, is yet to master the art of solid defending. Gary Cahill gave everything in the Champions League but questions linger about his pedigree, while the uncompromising Branislav Ivanovic has been heavily linked to Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Chelsea’s rebuilding operation is looking formidable but they’d do well to take a leaf out of Manchester City’s book and build foundations for a title push from the back.