Having scored just once in three games since Rafael Benitez took the helm, Chelsea’s lack of forward options continues to be a cause for concern. It looks ever more likely that owner Roman Abramovich will open his checkbook once again in January in order to supply an alternative for the underperforming Fernando Torres.
While Radamel Falcao has been repeatedly linked to a massive deal, it appears that the prolific Colombian may stay with Atletico Madrid until at least next summer.
It could be then that the Blues are being forced to explore alternatives. According to the Daily Telegraph, one of the names under serious consideration is Brazilian Taison. The story claims that the Metalist Kharkiv man was a guest of Chelsea’s at their recent match against Fulham. The versatile 24-year-old, who can play as an attacking midfielder or along the forward line, is believed to be close to securing a £10 million move next month.
Torres has scored just five times in 20 appearances for Chelsea this season and the £50 million signing is looking an increasingly forlorn figure leading the line for the Blues.
There was perhaps a hope that Benitez, who managed Torres during the best form of his career at Liverpool, would be able to conjure improved performances out of the Spain international. However, with that looking an unlikely prospect, Torres is now being linked with an exit from the club.
The Daily Mirror reports that big-spending Anzhi Makhachkala could present Torres with an escape route and offer Chelsea a fee that would be palatable to Abramovich.
The Russian club is currently managed by former Chelsea interim boss Guus Hiddink, who enjoys a good relationship with Abramovich.
In the summer, Chelsea were thought to be close to signing Bayer Leverkusen forward Andre Schurrle and even reportedly had a bid rejected for the Germany international. Recent speculation has suggested that the interest in Schurrle could be rekindled in the January transfer window. That now looks unlikely, with the 22-year-old’s forward, Joachim, ruling out a move until the end of the season.
“We have plenty of time left until the next summer,” he told Express newspaper.
"Until next summer, there is no reason to move. Moving clubs before the summer is not an issue. Andre very much likes being at Bayer Leverkusen.
"It's a successful team and the team plays really good football, too. We all simply have to wait and see."
Chelsea could also be set to miss out on Brazilian midfielder Bernard. The Atletico Mineiro 20-year-old has been suggested as a target for the Blues in recent times, however he has suggested that he will remain with the Belo Horizonte club as long as he is valued accordingly.
"Wherever I am, they always ask me if I'll stay [at Atletico Mineiro]," he said, according to Sky Sports.
"I'm pretty calm about that. Atletico Mineiro and the agents don't have to pay attention only to their interests. They have to pay attention to mine too.
"I'll have the last word, but I'll demand that I'm more valued by the club. Many mention Neymar, who is very valued.
"We know the football career is short. I'm not being a mercenary, but I need some stability.
"So I'll want to be valued in order to stay. But I'll leave that to [Atletico Mineiro's president Alexandre] Kalil."