Just when it appeared that talk of Brazilian Hulk joining Chelsea could finally be put to bed, there has been fresh speculation about the forward’s future at Zenit St Petersburg.
Hulk was repeatedly linked to the Blues all through the summer, although it is believed that Porto’s asking price proved too high and he eventually moved to Russia for a reported £39.5 million. Things have not gone smoothly for the 26-year-old since, though, with two of Zenit’s established players speaking out against the wages paid to Hulk and fellow big-money signing Axel Witsel.
The club has also been knocked out of the Champions League and, although they finished off the group stage with a 1-0 victory over Milan, the headlines were made by Hulk’s incensed reaction to be substituted by manager Luciano Spalletti 10 minutes from the end.
Hulk had not calmed down after the match and suggested that he may not be at Zenit for much longer.
'If the situation with the coach does not resolve itself I may leave the club in the January transfer window,” he said, according to the Guardian.
The Daily Mail reports that the latest developments may spark Chelsea into reviving their interest.
While they may be about to lose Hulk, Zenit have been making claims about their interest in strengthening their squad with a move for reported Chelsea target Marouane Fellaini. The Everton midfielder has long been seen as a target for the Blues, with reports this season suggesting that a bid could well be made in January.
However, the 25-year-old’s value may increase significantly if the big-spending Russians join the hunt.
“The management team expect to strengthen the midfield during the winter transfer window,” a spokesperson for Zenit said, according to the Liverpool Echo.
“The signings will be players of very high quality. For example, the Belgium international Marouane Fellaini is on the list—he has proved himself in his games for Everton.”
According to the Liverpool Echo, Everton have yet to receive any approach from Zenit over Fellaini.
Chelsea could also face competition for another midfield target in Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verratti. TalkSport claims that both Chelsea and Arsenal are interested in the Italy international, although Juventus are now eager to pursue a deal.
Verratti, 20, has been a big success in the French capital since arriving in the summer after helping Pescara to promotion from Italy’s Serie B. A deep-lying playmaker with an impressive range of passing, Verratti has unsurprisingly earned comparisons with Andrea Pirlo.
Another young player Chelsea are said to be keenly admiring is Southampton left-back Luke Shaw. The 17-year-old, who has established himself in Southampton’s first team this season, is also generating interest from Arsenal, according to the Daily Mirror.
But Saints boss Nigel Adkins has dismissed talk of Shaw leaving any time soon.
“Luke is very happy where he is,” Adkins said, according to the Mirror. “He is in the first team, he has got great people around him and his future is very bright.
“If Southampton are in the Premier League, there is no better place for any of our young players. They have more chance of first-team football here than elsewhere.”