Chelsea are reportedly in negotiations to sign 20-year-old Guingamp midfielder Giannelli Imbula.
Currently playing his trade in Ligue 2, Imbula has been likened to former Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira. According to Metro, Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez has made the player his primary transfer target, following the capture of Demba Ba, in this month’s transfer window.
Imbula is also believed to be interesting Arsenal, but talks over a deal with Chelsea are set to continue this week. The player’s valuation could present a stumbling block, however, with the report claiming that Guingamp will not allow Imbula to leave for less than his £6 million valuation.
With the French outfit said to want the player to remain with them until the end of the season, Chelsea may also be looking elsewhere for immediate midfield reinforcements.
The Blues are currently short in central midfield with a season-ending injury suffered to Oriol Romeu and John Mikel Obi on African Cup of Nations duty with Nigeria.
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TalkSport reports that Chelsea are also in the hunt for another French midfielder in Toulouse’s Etienne Capoue. The 24-year-old has long been linked with Arsenal, while West Ham are now said to be interested. It is now claimed that Toulouse could be prepared to allow Capoue to leave in January.
Capoue earned his first cap for France in August last year and scored his first goal for his country in November’s World Cup qualifier with Belarus. In 17 Ligue 1 appearances this season Capoue has scored three goals and contributed two assists.
It is also being reported that Chelsea are one of a number of Premier League clubs that could make a late bid to sign Internazionale’s Wesley Sneijder. The Dutch international is on the verge of signing for Galatasaray having been frozen out at Inter reportedly following his refusal to take a reduction in wages.
According to the Independent, however, Sneijder is still seeking a move to England. Chelsea, along with Manchester United, City, Arsenal and Tottenham all reportedly turned down the player due to his wage demands.
But, with the 28-year-old’s options now apparently dwindling, it is believed he could lower his requirements. Galatasaray are said to have agreed to pay Sneijder €6 million (£4.9m) a year after agreeing a transfer fee of €10 million (£8.2m).
Even if available on a cut-price deal, it is hard to envisage Chelsea making a move. The club already has a trio of top attacking midfielders, although Roman Abramovich may yet be tempted to snap up one of game’s stars.
One star name that Chelsea look sure to continue their pursuit of next summer is Radamel Falcao. The Atletico Madrid striker had been heavily linked to a January move, but he has committed himself to seeing out the season as his club push for a Champions League place.
While Chelsea will hope to secure the man voted into FIFA’s World XI for 2012, the Blues can expect to face plenty of competition. Real Madrid are thought to have a keen interest in Falcao, although the Colombian has now made positive comments about a potential move to Italy.
"I cannot rule out a future in Italy,” the 26-year-old said, according to the Independent. “Juve or Milan? I have a favorite club, but I prefer not to say.”
Given that Falcao is expected to cost upwards of £40 million, a move to a cost-cutting Milan appears highly unlikely. Juventus would be more of a possibility, although it would still be a major surprise were the Italian champions to rival the financial might of Chelsea or Madrid.