Rafael Benitez may still be reeling from the hostile reception he received from Chelsea fans on his debut as manager against Manchester City on Sunday, but his attention is likely to quickly turn to possible recruitments in the January transfer window.
Currently on a short-term deal and given the control that is exerted from above at Stamford Bridge, it is unclear just how much say Benitez will have on the club’s transfer dealings. According to Metro, though, the Spaniard has identified two long-time Chelsea targets to recruit in the New Year.
There is little surprise that Radamel Falcao is one of those mentioned. The Atletico Madrid striker has been heavily linked to the Blues for several months and surely there are few coaches who would not welcome the prolific Colombian been thrust upon them.
While Manchester City are also reported suitors, it is thought that Chelsea are favorites to complete a deal. Given that Atletico are still flying high in second place in La Liga, however, they are likely to be hesitant to sell their star man midway through the season.
But with Fernando Torres showing no signs of returning to anywhere near his best, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich may be prepared to secure Falcao at any expense.
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The other player that Metro claims Benitez would like to bring in is Bayer Leverkusen forward Andre Schurrle. Chelsea reportedly had a £16 million bid rejected for the Germany international in the summer, with his Bundesliga club believed to be holding out for £20 million.
Schurrle, 22, is capable of operating through the middle, but has played predominantly as a left-sided attacker.
If a move for Falcao fails, Chelsea could potentially turn to another leading South American striker in Leandro Damiao. The Brazil international has been repeatedly linked with a move to Tottenham in the past couple of years, but Chelsea could also be an option for the 23-year-old.
And Damiao has suggested that he would welcome a reunion with former Internacional teammate Oscar at Stamford Bridge.
“I had an excellent relationship with Oscar here,” he said, according to the Sun. “It is true that I would like to be reunited with him.”
According to TalkSport, it is another Brazilian, midfielder Paulinho, that Benitez is targeting as his first signing for Chelsea. The Corinthians star was linked to the Blues before Benitez’s arrival, but the former Liverpool boss is believed to be eager to pair the 24-year-old with his Brazil teammate Ramires.
Paulinho, who could well come up against Chelsea for Corinthians in the FIFA Club World Cup next month, is also said to be interesting Inter Milan.