Chelsea have been linked with an improbable January transfer for Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo. The rumor comes from the Daily Express, which cited unnamed reports claiming that Chelsea are set to vie with the Ballon d’Or holder’s former club Manchester United to bring him back to the Premier League next summer.

Ronaldo’s Real Madrid future was the source of fervent speculation 12 months ago as he entered the final two years of his contract and was continually linked with a return to Old Trafford, where he played  six seasons before moving to Spain in a then world record £80 million transfer in 2009. But he then signed a new five year contract at the Bernabeu and suggested that he would finish his career at the Bernabeu. The 29-year-old recently attracted headlines for questioning Madrid’s transfer business this summer, and in particular the sales of Angel di Maria and Xabi Alonso, in comments he later moved to play down. Still, it is extremely difficult to envisage any way that Ronaldo could be prized away from Madrid given the size of his contract and time remaining on it.

And in the unlikely event that he does leave, Chelsea would be far from the top of the list of probable destinations. Ronaldo has repeatedly stated his love for Manchester United as well as his doubting about whether he could ever play for one of their rivals. On top of that, Ronaldo’s relationship with Jose Mourinho deteriorated significantly toward the end of the Chelsea boss’ time in the Real Madrid dugout.

Currently there appears little need for Chelsea to add to their squad. Having made their two key signings by adding the creativity and dynamism of Cesc Fabrergas and the forward focal point of Diego Costa, Mourinho swiftly replaced Fernando Torres toward the end of the transfer window by signing Loic Remy. Yet, with 36-year-old Didier Drogba currently filling one of the three striker positions, it will likely be an area of his squad that Mourinho moves to strengthen again in the coming 12 months.

According to recent reports, one striker Chelsea are looking at is Paco Alcacer. The Valencia 21-year-old has started the season well and marked his first start for Spain this week by getting on the score sheet and adding an assist. Spanish publication Marca has subsequently reported that several clubs are interested in Alcacer, who has a release clause of 18 million euros (£14.4m). But the player himself has confirmed that Valencia are working to offer him a new deal and stated that he is happy to remain with the Primera Division side.

“The club are keen to renew my contract and I’m delighted about that,” he said, reports AS. “I’d like to be here for many years. I’m quite clear about what I want, which is to be at Valencia for a long time. I want to thank the club for the love they’ve shown me. We’re keen to sort it out as quickly as possible, but right now the main thing is the game against Espanyol.”

In other rumors, the Daily Mirror, along with other outlets, has named Chelsea as one of the clubs interested in Aston Villa youngster Jack Grealish. The attacking midfielder, who celebrated his 19th birthday on Wednesday, is currently set to be out of contract next summer and is also thought to be a target for Manchester United. However, both Chelsea and United may be disappointed, with the Mirror’s understanding being that Villa have opened negotiations over a new four year deal and that Grealish is keen to stay at Villa Park, where he believes he has a better chance for regular first-team action.