Chelsea Transfer News: Falcao, Paulinho, Butland And N’Koulou Discussed In Latest Speculation

 @JasonLeMiere
on January 29 2013 2:48 PM
Rafael Benitez
Rafael Benitez looks set to have to rely on his current squad until the end of the season. Reuters

Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has said that he doesn't expect the club to make any further signings before the close of the transfer window.

Demba Ba has been the only new arrival in January and, despite hinting that his squad lacks depth, Benitez doesn't believe that there will be more new faces before Thursday’s deadline.

"I don't think so but my job is to improve my squad and manage the situation we have,” he said, according to Sky Sports.

"We are playing more games than anyone. In some positions we have only two or three players, that's the reality.

"After the Africa Cup of Nations, and when we get Eden Hazard back, we'll be able to manager a bit better.”

Benitez did not completely close the door, however, and his interim status means that he may not be the first man to be made aware of Chelsea’s transfer activity.

Sky Sports has reported their understanding that Chelsea have made an approach for Birmingham City goalkeeper Jack Butland. A number of clubs are believed to be interested in the 19-year-old. And he could well be on the move before the transfer deadline as Birmingham’s financial problems mean that they have a strong imperative to sell.

Chelsea are in need of a stronger backup to Petr Cech, with Ross Turnbull coming under fire for his performance against Brentford at the weekend. Yet, with the club also having highly rated Thibaut Courtois—currently on-loan at Atletico Madrid—on their books, it remains to be seen what long-term future Butland would have at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea’s other targets may have to wait until the summer.

Top of their list is still thought to be Radamel Falcao. It has long appeared unlikely that the Atletico Madrid striker would move in midseason, but there is expected to be much competition for his signature come the summer. Real Madrid, Paris-Saint-Germain and Manchester City have all been linked, along with Chelsea, to the Colombian.

Falcao, 26, has claimed that he is not yet thinking about a future beyond Atletico.

"I have three years left on my contract with the club and my reality is that this contract ties me down for a few more seasons," Falcao told CNN.

"Afterwards though, I don't know what's going to happen in the future as it's in the hands of the people responsible for deciding the future of the players on Atletico.

"I simply give the best of myself for the team, for this really good season that we're having. We have a lot of objectives/goals in our sight and I hope that we can achieve them."

Also likely to be on Chelsea’s agenda in the close season is Corinthians midfielder Paulinho. The Blues are thought to have had a long-standing interest in the Brazil international, but appeared as though they may have been beaten to his signature by Italian giants Inter.

But Paulinho has repeatedly said that he is happy in Brazil for the time being and it appears that both Inter and Chelsea could now go head-to-head for the 24-year-old in the summer.

“No news on Paulinho," Inter president Massimo Moratti said, according to TuttoMercato. "It's not a question of money. We believe that the operation might be easier in June because of the player's commitments in Brazil."

Chelsea also look set to have to wait for the signing of Marseille defender Nicolas N’Koulou. Sky Sports has reported that Chelsea have been keeping a close eye on the Cameroon international for the past three months and sent scouts to watch him in action last weekend.

N’Koulou, 22, is reported to have agreed with the Ligue 1 side that he can move for an acceptable fee in the summer, but has said that he is happy to stay until then."I need to finish the season in a strong position, I am not thinking about any transfer at the moment,” he explained, according to Sky Sports. 

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