Chelsea look set to miss out on long-time transfer target Radamel Falcao, with the Atletico Madrid striker reportedly close to sealing a move to French side Monaco.
It had long been thought that the Blues were favorites to land the Colombia international this summer, but Monaco are believed to have agreed to meet Falcao’s €60 million (£50.75m) buyout clause, as first reported by Spanish TV station La Sexta.
Goal.com has now claimed that the transfer has already been finalized, with Monaco agreeing to pay the 27-year-old £8.5 million a year, after tax.
It is a sensational deal for a club that only secured promotion back to Ligue 1 at the weekend. However, the club is bankrolled by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev.
Falcao has also reportedly been a target for Manchester City and Manchester United as well as Real Madrid. Jose Mourinho, who is widely expected to return as Chelsea manager this summer, is believed to have been keen to add Falcao to his squad.
With the club’s hierarchy thought to have run out of patience with £50 million forward Fernando Torres, a top class replacement is likely to be sought.
To that end, there has also been plenty of speculation that Chelsea are one of the clubs closely monitoring Wayne Rooney’s situation at Manchester United.
The forward was left out of United’s squad for the match against Swansea City on Sunday with manager Sir Alex Ferguson revealing afterward that Rooney did not want to be included after recently asking to leave the club.
Ferguson added that the request had been rejected but that the matter was now out of his hands as he will step down at the end of the season to be replaced by David Moyes.
The rumor mills suggests that there are three possible destinations should Rooney leave Old Trafford -- Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich.
One man that would be pleased if Rooney made the move to Stamford Bridge is Chelsea’s David Luiz.
“Everyone knows about his quality so if he wants to come to Chelsea, why not? I’d be happy with it,” Luiz said, according to the Sun.
The future of Luiz’s current teammate Frank Lampard is also back in the spotlight after the veteran midfielder became Chelsea’s all-time leading scorer on 203 goals when he netted twice in the 2-1 victory over Aston Villa on Saturday.
Lampard’s contract, of course, is set to expire in the summer. It had been thought that the 34-year-old would definitely be moving onto pastures new with the club seemingly unwilling to offer a new deal.
However, the potentially imminent appointment of his former mentor Mourinho has led to suggestions that Lampard could be staying after all. The England international has revealed he still hopes to extend his time with the club.
"I'm hoping that I'll be here [next season] and at the end of the season we'll get a decision on that,” he said, according to the Guardian.
Regardless of what happens with Lampard, Chelsea could well be looking to strengthen their central midfield -- an area of the team that has looked lacking in depth and quality for much of the season.
The Daily Mirror has reported that Mourinho will attempt to bring Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira with him to Stamford Bridge. The Germany international has been a consistent performer at the heart of Madrid’s midfield since joining from Stuttgart in 2010 and has become a dynamic all-round midfielder.
It appears unlikely that Madrid will be keen to allow the 26-year-old to depart, although the Mirror claims he will be available for £20 million.