It’s set to be a case of one in and one out of Chelsea’s squad in the coming days. According to various reports, Belgian attacking midfielder Kevin de Bruyne will complete his move to Wolfsburg this week in a deal worth around £17 million.
The 22-year-old signed for the Blues from Genk two years ago, before a loan spell back at the Belgian club was followed by a season spent with Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga. It was expected that De Bruyne would be given a prominent role at Stamford Bridge this season after Chelsea rejected both loan and permanent offers from Germany in the summer. However, despite starting two of Chelsea’s first three Premier League games, he never started another and was criticized by manager Jose Mourinho following the League Cup tie with Swindon Town in September.
While Chelsea appear to be losing a player of undoubted talent, they will be making a healthy profit of £7 million. And that positive piece of business comes at a welcome time with Roman Abramovich having to sanction a significant loss to re-sign midfielder Nemanja Matic from Benfica. The Serbia international was a makeweight in the transfer that took David Luiz to Stamford Bridge in January 2011, but, having impressed in Portugal, he is now set to return for a fee of around £22 million. On Tuesday, the 25-year-old confirmed the move.
"The game against FC Porto was my last game for Benfica,” he told Portuguese publication A Bola.
"I want to thank everyone at the club and all the fans. Benfica will forever be in my heart. I played here for two-and-a-half years, gave my best at every training session, and now it is the right moment to leave.
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"I want to improve, I want to play in a better league and I want to go to Chelsea, a club I also love.”
Chelsea had previously been strongly linked with another midfielder in Internazionale’s Fredy Guarin. Matic’s imminent signing would appear to signify the ending of any interest in the Colombia international, yet his different skill set could mean a deal is still a possibility. Indeed, Inter have hinted that Guarin might be on his way.
“Guarin is an excellent player and we'd like to keep him, but when there are offers from big clubs you need to take it into consideration,” new president Erick Thohir said, according to Sky Sports. "We can't force him to stay if his heart isn't in the club."
If there is another area of Chelsea’s squad that clearly needs strengthening it is up front. Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba have all struggled to find the net on a regular basis for Jose Mourinho’s side this season.
Wayne Rooney was the subject of a failed approach in the summer and, with the England forward still yet to sign an extension to his Manchester United contract, Chelsea continued to be linked with a move. The Daily Mirror claims that Rooney remains Mourinho’s primary target, but that the Portuguese has also identified a high-profile alternative.
The man in question is Radamel Falcao, who has been linked with the Blues for more than 18 months and was thought a probable signing last summer until he joined nouveau-riche Ligue 1 outfit Monaco. However, it is believed that Mourinho is confident that he can persuade Falcao to make his stay in the principality a short one.