Despite all the turmoil involving Chelsea’s current manager, transfer targets for next season continue to be discussed. In Rafael Benitez’s outburst after the FA Cup victory over Middlesbrough on Wednesday it was confirmed that he would be leaving the club at the end of the season, but the lack of a manager is unlikely to prevent squad planning for the next campaign from going ahead.
The club has a structure in place, most notably including technical director Michael Emenalo, which allows for player recruitment to be undertaken without a manager’s involvement. That fact has reportedly led to dissention from more than one Chelsea manager during Roman Abramovich’s ownership of the club.
Whoever is in the dugout for Chelsea next season, the Blues’ main transfer target appears to be Radamel Falcao. His signing is likely to be difficult to procure, however. The Atletico Madrid striker has recently hinted that he could remain at the club into next season and even if he is available then there will be serious competition to land the Colombian.
The Sunday People recently reported that Manchester City have already opened negotiations to try and get ahead of Chelsea in the race for Falcao. City are believed to be targeting a £40 million deal, although they are also considering other forwards in the form of Napoli’s Edinson Cavani and Brazilian star Neymar.
Metro reports that it is Malaga’s Isco that is Chelsea’s leading target. Emenalo is said to be a big fan of the 20-year-old attacking midfielder and it is claimed that the Blues will push ahead with his signing despite the fact that Isco signed a new contract in January that increased his buyout clause to €35 million (£30m).
Chelsea may use Lucas Piazon, who Chelsea sent on-loan to Malaga in January, as a bargaining chip in any bid for Isco.
One of Chelsea’s main needs is a stronger presence in the center of midfield and it appears likely that an approach will be made for Everton’s Marouane Fellaini. The Daily Mail has claimed that Real Madrid, Manchester United and City, as well as Chelsea have all expressed an interest in the Belgium international.
While Everton understandably hope to hold onto the influential 25-year-old, Fellaini’s future could well be decided by whether the the club is playing in the Champions League next season. Everton have now fallen seven points off of fourth spot in the Premier League, increasing the likelihood that Fellaini will be on the move.
Chelsea would appear to be in a strong position to get a deal done, having reportedly trailed him for some time. Fellaini recently encouraged Chelsea to make a firm offer.
Southampton’s Luke Shaw is also said to feature prominently on Chelsea’s list of targets as they look to replace some of the squad’s veterans. Ashley Cole has been given a one-year extension to keep him at the club next season, but highly rated Shaw is already being lineup as the 31-year-old’s replacement, according to the Daily Mail.
Aged just 17, Shaw is already a regular for Southampton and thought to be attracting interest from some of England’s top clubs. The Mail reports that Chelsea had a £10 million bid for Shaw rejected in January, but remain in pole position for his signature.