Jose Mourinho has denied that Chelsea have made an offer for Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain. The Daily Telegraph has claimed that the Blues have had a £50 million bid rejected for the Argentina international, who Mourinho managed at Real Madrid, and are readying a second offer. Mourinho, though, says there is no truth to the story.
"Nothing is true,” he said, according to Sky Sports. “He is a player that I know we cannot get. He moved from Real Madrid to Napoli six months ago and he's doing very well, he's adapting very well to Italy.
"Napoli is a club which normally doesn't sell. In the last years, they sold one player a year, when they felt it was not possible to keep them. They want to win the Scudetto, they want to win the Europa League. I don't believe they're interested in selling Higuain.
"Why should we be interested in someone we believe it is impossible to get?"
It would be a major surprise were Higuain to be prized away from Napoli at this stage. Despite the club managed by former Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez exiting the Champions League at the group phase in agonizing circumstances, Higuain is believed to be very happy in Naples. It also seems an unlikely deal from Chelsea’s point of view, given that they could have signed the 26-year-old for significantly less during the summer and he would be cup-tied for the Champions League.
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That second impediment would also be present should Chelsea pursue their reported interest in Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa. While Mourinho has played down the possibility of new arrivals at Stamford Bridge during the January transfer window, there continues to be speculation that he will address the obvious weakness in his squad up front. And Costa, who has struck 23 goals already this season, is viewed as a leading candidate.
Chelsea are not the only interested party, however, with Arsenal believed to have been scouting the 25-year-old regularly this campaign. The Daily Star reported on Friday that Arsenal are prepared to pay the buyout clause -- thought to be around £32 million -- to land the Brazilian-born star, who controversially declared in October that he would represent Spain.
With David Luiz again being linked with a move away -- this time to Bayern Munich -- a new central defender is also a possibility at Chelsea. The latest name to be linked is Villarreal’s Mateo Musacchio. The Argentine has impressed in his side’s return to La Liga and is also said to be on the radar of Manchester City. But Villarreal have attempted to deter suitors of the 23-year-old by suggesting that he will only be allowed to leave if his outlandish €50 million (£41.5m) release clause is met.
"Musacchio has a contract until 2018, therefore he will be here for four more years," president Fernando Roig said, according to Sky Sports. "If someone wants to come and pay what he is worth, then we will talk.
“For the player to leave, it depends on three parties, not just one or two -- he has a contract. If he is wanted, then for Villarreal it is fine, but only if the money is paid up front."
Much of the speculation coming out of Stamford Bridge, however, concerns a possible high-profile departure. After Juan Mata was visibly disgruntled at being substituted early in the second half against Southampton on New Year’s Day, Mourinho, while stating that he didn’t want the Spaniard to leave, said that the door was open should he wish to do so.
While Chelsea will be loathed to sell the club’s Player of the Year for the past two seasons to Premier League suitors Manchester United, The Telegraph reports that Paris Saint-Germain will make a bid this month. Serie A sides Napoli and Internazionale are also said to be interested.