Chelsea have opened talks about signing Benfica central defender Ezequiel Garay this summer, according to Portuguese publication O Jogo.
Manchester United have been strongly linked to the 25-year-old with suggestions that they were ready to launch a £15 million bid. But it has now been claimed that Chelsea are ready to battle it out with their Premier League rivals for the Argentina international.
O Jogo reports that Chelsea have made informal contact to signal their interest in Garay as well as trying to discover a likely transfer fee. Garay has been a big success in Lisbon, following a spell at Real Madrid where he struggled to make much of an impact.
It is said that Chelsea have concerns in central defense with age taking its toll on John Terry and potential interest to arrive this summer in David Luiz from Barcelona.
Chelsea’s priority in the transfer market this summer, though, is likely to be in attack. Fernando Torres’ struggles have continued, making it increasingly likely that owner Roman Abramovich will cut his losses on the striker at the end of the season.
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The leading target to replace the Spaniard is widely perceived to be Atletico Madrid’s Radamel Falcao. The Colombian has recently hinted that he could remain at the La Liga side beyond the summer, although a large offer could persuade Atletico to sell. The 27-year-old also has a buyout clause of €60 million (£52m).
The Daily Express suggests that Abramovich has already made contact with Falcao’s agent Jorge Mendes and is prepared to offer Falcao a four-year contract worth £200,000 a week.
In a separate story, the same publication puts forward out-of-favor Bayern Munich front man Mario Gomez as another target to replace Torres. Citing a story in Germany, the Express reports that Chelsea are prepared to offer £30 million for the Germany international.
Despite hitting 40 goals for Bayern last season, Gomez has been unable to regain his place in the side this term after recovering from injury last November. Mario Mandzukic has proved a big hit following his arrival from Wolfsburg, while there are also strong suggestions that Bayern are trying to push through a deal for Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski.
Gomez is eager for clarification over his future.
“I have no fear of anyone,” he reportedly told Deutsche Presseagenthur. "The club [Bayern Munich] must commit themselves clearly and tell us what's going on. If it is so, then it is so. But it's not my job to comment on speculation.
"I can only say that all the strikers feel very comfortable here in Munich. We will see what happens."
In other news, the Daily Mail reports that Chelsea are looking to usurp Liverpool’s attempts to sign English non-league star Daniel Carr.
The 18-year-old has scored 23 goals in as many matches for Dulwich Hamlet this season and was training with Liverpool’s academy players this week. It is now claimed that Chelsea have contacted Carr’s club about the player coming to train with the Blues.
Chelsea and Liverpool are said to be just two of the 14 clubs interested in Car—a list that also includes Manchester giants United and City.