Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has personally given the club the go ahead to launch a staggering £46 million move for Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao in January, according to the Daily Mail.
The prolific Colombian has been repeatedly linked with the Blues since the summer and the Mail is just one of several sources claiming that they are now prepared to meet Atletico’s buyout clause in the next transfer window.
Chelsea are thought to be eagerly trying to recruit a striker, with just Fernando Torres and the reportedly unsettled Daniel Sturridge as established options in that position in Roberto Di Matteo’s squad.
Falcao’s continued impressive goal-scoring form, which included a first-half hat-trick against Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup in August, is believed to have put the 26-year-old firmly at the top of Chelsea’s list of targets.
There has also been talk of Chelsea’s interest in another South American in recent days. The Blues are said to be considering a move for Corinthians midfielder Paulinho. The 24-year-old, who helped his side to the Copa Libertadores title in July, has recently been deployed in a more defensively-minded midfield role with Brazil, alongside current Chelsea regular Ramires.
Paulinho has also been recently discussed in connection with possible moves to Arsenal and Inter Milan.
Another name linked to the Blues in the latest transfer news is Lazio’s Senad Lulic. The Bosnia and Herzegovina international, 26, has played primarily as a left-back in Serie A this season, though is also capable of operating on the left side of midfield.
Di Matteo is keeping a close check on his progress, according to the Daily Mirror, while Bayern Munich are also interested, with Lulic said to have rejected Lazio’s offer of a new contract.
Recent days have also seen renewed reports that Ashley Cole’s future at Stamford Bridge is increasingly precarious. The left-back is now ready to exit at the end of the season having failed to agree on a contract extension, according to the Daily Mail.
Chelsea have a policy of not offering contracts longer than a year to players over the age of 30 -- a decision that does not sit well with the 31-year-old Cole.
If a resolution is not reached soon, then the England international will be free to negotiate a free transfer with overseas clubs from January. Both Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid are interested parties, according to the Mail.
Whether Chelsea will relent on their stance, for a player who is still regarded as one of the best in his position in the world, remains to be seen.
A similar scenario could also see midfielder Frank Lampard, 34, depart at season’s end.