Chelsea may be thwarted in their attempts to sign Malaga attacking midfielder Isco, with the news that the highly rated 20-year-old has signed a new contract with the La Liga club.
The Blues have been strongly linked to Isco for several months, with recent reports even claiming that Chelsea had negotiated a first option on the player after loaning Brazilian forward Lucas Piazon to Malaga until the end of the season.
With Malaga’s much-publicized financial problems and the fact that Isco has a buyout clause of €21 million (£18m), it appeared that the club would be able to do little to prevent the departure of their prized asset. But, while the length of Isco’s contract remains the same, his release clause now stands at a much more prohibitive €35 million (£30 million).
With Chelsea already having a trio of leading attacking midfielders—Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar—even a club of their wealth may think twice about splashing such a sum on another.
Not that Chelsea’s dealings in the transfer market always correlate strictly with logic. If true, the Sun has reported on another questionable piece of business, with Chelsea having reportedly made a last ditch attempt to try and bring Didier Drogba back to Stamford Bridge.
The Ivorian left Chelsea after inspiring them to Champions League success reportedly as the club only offered him a one-year contract extension. Now Drogba appears set to quit Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua and looks set to move back to Europe.
However, Drogba has apparently turned down Chelsea’s offer and is instead on the verge of a move to Galatasaray.
“Galatasaray Sports Club has begun official negotiations regarding the transfer of Ivorian professional football player Didier Drogba from FC Shanghai Shenhua,” said a spokesman for the Turkish club.
With the close of the transfer window approaching, it would appear that Chelsea’s main need is in central midfield. Yet despite their lack of options created by injury to Oriol Romeu and John Mikel Obi’s presence at the African Cup of Nations, the club has not yet bid for reported target Paulinho.
The Corinthians star has been heavily linked in recent times, while it has recently been reported that Internazionale have begun negotiations to sign the Brazil international.
But Corinthians director of sport Roberto de Andrade has said there have yet to be any offers for the 24-year-old.
"At the moment, Inter have not made contact with us," Andrade told CalcioMercato.
"I can assure you we have not received any offers from Italy, nor from Chelsea for our player.”
According to the Daily Mirror, Chelsea could yet be active before the close of the transfer window, with the Blues set to bid for young Birmingham goalkeeper Jack Butland. There have been reports in recent days that the financially-challenged Championship outfit are prepared to let the 19-year-old leave for just £3 million in a desperate attempt to raise funds.
Butland has been linked strongly with Liverpool and Southampton, but Chelsea appear on the surface to be an unlikely suitor. Petr Cech remains ensconced as the club’s No. 1, while they also have highly rated young Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois currently on-loan at Atletico Madrid.
Chelsea’s lack of options behind Cech have been exposed in recent weeks, with Ross Turnbull struggling to provide adequate cover. It seems unlikely, though, that Butland would move to a club where he would be, at best, second best.