Chelsea’s hunt for a leading striker is continuing, with Edinson Cavani still thought to be their first choice but with other options being strongly considered. Cavani has long been linked with a move to many of Europe’s leading clubs and his Napoli future now appears to be reaching a crucial juncture.
Reiterating comments from earlier in the week, the Uruguay international has requested imminent talks with his club’s president. Aurelio de Laurentiis has insisted that Cavani make a decision about his future by July 20. And the 26-year-old appears none too pleased.
“I love Naples, it’s my city and my heart is there,” Cavani said, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. “But while I was in Brazil I heard rumors and untruths about me. Because of this I want to talk as soon as possible with president De Laurentiis. I’ll talk with him, as it’s done between men, really soon.”
In response, De Laurentiis again remained stubborn in his stance that there is nothing to be discussed unless a club meets his €63 million (£54m) buyout clause. “With Cavani I do not need a face-to-face meeting,” he said, reports Spanish sports daily AS. “There is a clause. There will come a time when a club brings to the table €63 and we cannot keep him.”
With Uruguay having been knocked out of the Confederations Cup, Cavani’s future could well be decided one way or another sooner rather than later. If Chelsea are not prepared to meet the release clause, or if other suitors such as Real Madrid and Chelsea capture the player, then the Blues will turn their attentions toward Borussia Dortmund front man Robert Lewandowski, according to the Daily Mirror.
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Where the Poland international will be performing next season has also been the source of much conjecture. Dortmund have refused to allow Lewandowski to get his preferred move to rivals Bayern Munich and have also stated that he will be seeing out the remaining year of his contract. Yet, there remains the possibility that Dortmund will be tempted to cash in on the player to a foreign club rather than allow him to leave for nothing in 12 months’ time.
Chelsea could also be looking to the Bundesliga in an attempt to lure highly rated Schalke youngster Julian Draxler. Jose Mourinho is thought to be a fan of the 19-year-old attacking midfielder, as indeed are many of Europe’s top clubs. And Schalke’s president Clemens Tonnies has conceded that they would be powerless to prevent Draxler leaving if a giant from abroad came calling.
"Of course we want to keep hold of him, Julian is an important figure in Schalke," he said, according to Sky Sports. “But if we want to be fair with him, then maybe we have got to consider letting him move abroad sooner or later. If somebody like Real Madrid were to enquire about him, what should I say? Don't talk to them? Get serious."
Following the decisions to allow Thibaut Courtois to spend a third season on loan at Atletico Madrid and to release both Hilario and Ross Turnbull, signing a goalkeeper to back-up Petr Cech is also on Mourinho’s radar. And the Sun reports that Chelsea have had a £5 million offer rejected for Norwich City stopper John Ruddy. The 26-year-old’s club are said to be seeking twice that amount if they are to allow their No.1 to depart.
That may well prove too much of a stumbling block for Chelsea, while there will also be doubts about whether Ruddy would want to warm the bench at Stamford Bridge given his potential to be in the England squad for next year’s World Cup.