Chelsea's drab 1-0 win over Malaysian 11 at Kuala Lumpur on Thursday suggested an urgent need for a creative figure in midfield, someone along the lines of Luka Modric. To that end, the West London side have been reportedly preparing a third and final bid, around the region of £35 million for the Croat.
Footybunker.com reported that Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp could be tempted to sell the 25-year-old as he has had much luck in selling Robbie Kean, Nico Kranjcar or Wilson Palacios. Chelsea already have had two bids - £22 million and £27 million - rejected for the player, but Spurs could be tempted to sell for £35m as Modric clearly wants to move, while it could be detrimental for Tottenham to cling on to a player whose heart lies elsewhere.
Chelsea are also reported to have closed in on Barcelona midfielder Oriol Romeu. According to The Independent, the Catlans are demanding £4.35 million Spanish Under-20 star, who can play as a defensive midfielder as well as a central defender. Romeu is one of two Barca youngsters wanted by Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas, the other being Thiago Alcantara. The latter has already signed a contract extension with the Catalans and will stay on till 2015.
On the subject of Anderlecht striker Romelu Lukaku, who has been long touted by Chelsea, Villas-Boas refused to comment on the speculation, but hailed the 18-year-old's quality.
It's a player I know, obviously, and he had a magnificent season in Belgium, but I can't comment on the speculation about him, Villas-Boas said. We are pondering every decision because we don't want to go into the market and make mistakes. Let's wait and see if it becomes a reality or not.
Chelsea already are up to their neck in the forward department with Didier Drogba, Nicholas Anelka, Fernando Torres, Salomon Kalou and Daniel Sturridge all quality strikers. After win against Malaysia, Villas-Boas was questioned about Torres' form, as the Spaniard's performance fizzled out after an impressive start. The Portuguese was irked and said it was too early to analyse players' forms, and placed importance on collective efforts than individuals.
I don't want to turn Torres into an obsession like you people are trying to do, he said. I am not going to waste time over this. I disagree that he is lacking in confidence.
Every time a player doesn't score, I am asked questions about him. I agree that Torres is a £50 million striker but my focus is purely on the performance of the team, not the individual.
It doesn't matter who scores. These are pre-season games and they don't have the importance that some people think. The point of these games is to get a feel for your team and achieve your objectives in terms of fitness and training.
To gain the confidence to find the back of the net, Torres needs training, tolerance and patience. It doesn't look like he is getting this at the moment but we are ready to give our forwards this patience.
Finally, according to The Mirror, Chelsea have been alerted to the availability of Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi after his contract talks with the Italian side stalled.
De Rossi was one of the players linked to the Blues as a replacement for the injured Michael Essien, and he could be available for a fee lesser than £15 million, as he is into his final year at the club.
However, Roma's new boss Luis Enrique is keen to hold on to the 27-year-old, who is a key part of his plans for the team.
He is very important for my plans and it would be impossible to find a replacement for him in the current market. He told The Mirror.
West Ham's Scott Parker was also touted as Essien's replacement, but reports now suggest Villas-Boas wants someone with European experience.