It may be just over 24 hours since Jose Mourinho was officially unveiled as Chelsea manager for the second time but he looks unlikely to waste any time in setting about improving his Chelsea squad in order to return the club to Premier League and Champions League glory. And, while the former Real Madrid coach was coy about discussing transfers, it is believed that he has already begun identifying targets.
“We have to improve the team, and when I say improve the team people are already thinking about how many millions Chelsea are going to spend, and when I say improve the team I am saying improving by work,” he said in an interview with Chelsea TV. “My work has to improve players and improve the team. If I don't do that I am not happy with myself. If after that we can improve the team by buying a couple of players it is fantastic but I have to improve the team and the players with my work. That's a priority, improve.”
It is a surprising name that has emerged as an early leading target for Mourinho. The Daily Telegraph reports that Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko features prominently on Mourinho’s wanted list, while the odds on the Bosnian becoming a Chelsea player before the end of the transfer window have suddenly been cut to 8/11 with Sky Bet. Dzeko has been frustrated by starting just 32 Premier League matches in the past two seasons. To his credit, the 27-year-old has scored 28 league goals in that time and finished as the club’s top scorer in the past campaign.
While the intentions of new City manager Manuel Pellegrini have not yet been made clear, it seems likely that Dzeko will be available for the right price this summer. City would almost certainly have to take a loss on the £27 million they paid Wolfsburg for the player in January 2011.
The name of Dzeko may well be an underwhelming one for Chelsea fans, when compared with the likes of Edinson Cavani, with whom Chelsea have also been linked. Manchester City and Real Madrid are also said to be interested in the Uruguayan, who finished as top scorer in Serie A last season. Yet, it could be that he is being priced out of a move, with Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis reiterating that Cavani will not be allowed to leave for less that his €63 million (£53.9m). De Laurentiis also dismissed Chelsea’s reported offer of Fernando Torres in part-exchange.
"His contract lasts another four years and there's a clause which prices him at 63 million euros,” he said on Twitter. “We have received offers much lower than his clause. [Napoli manager Rafael] Benitez prefers Cavani to Torres"
Meanwhile, there has been another surprise name linked with Chelsea in Dutch attacking midfielder Wesley Sneijder. Citing stories in Turkey, the Sun reports that the 28-year-old is already seeking an exit from Galatasaray, less than six months after joining them from Inter Milan. It was at the Italian club under Mourinho’s charge where Sneijder enjoyed the best form of his career and played a huge role in them winning the Champions League in 2010.
Yet despite the apparent still close relationship between the pair, a move for Sneijder to Chelsea appears hard to fathom. Chelsea have a trio of young and exciting attacking midfielders in Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar and there would seem no value in adding Sneijder to that mix.
There are growing reports, though, that Mourinho will return to another of his former clubs to bolster his defense. The Daily Telegraph has become the latest outlet to state that Chelsea are interested in Porto center-back Eliaquim Mangala. The 22-year-old recently spoke of being flattered with the interest and suggested that he could be open to a move. Chelsea are believed to be unwilling to meet Porto’s initial £30 million asking price, however.