Drogba and Torres set to quit Chelsea, but Hazard could join
All change at Stamford Bridge as Anzhi Makhachkala offer Robin Van Persie £300,000-a-week
IT'S ALL change at Chelsea after their triumph in the Champions League, with some big names heading for the exit door, but others likely to be arriving. First of all its curtains for Didier Drogba, according to the Daily Mail, which claims the big Ivorian's last kick of a football in Chelsea blue was the one that won them the European Cup.
The paper reports that the 34-year-old Blues legend is off to join another, less fondly remembered, Chelsea striker, Nicolas Anelka, in China. Anelka now plays for Shanghai Shenhua and will be joined there by Drogba, who will earn around £250,000-a-week net.
Drogba is likely to enjoy playing with old pal Anelka more than he did with sulky Spaniard Fernando Torres, who has told Chelsea that he needs to decide if it is "worth" staying at Stamford Bridge after what he said was the worst period of his career.
The Spaniard arrived for £50m in January 2011, but has endured a miseable season and a half in London. But after the Champions League final he claimed he had not been treated in the manner to which he had become accustomed and was not happy. His remarks are likely to be noticed around Europe and Chelsea could well be offloading the World Cup winner this summer.
However, Eden Hazard (above) may be on his way to London, after deciding that Chelsea was the place for him after watching the Blues win in Munich. The 21-year-old Belgian was strongly linked to Premier League champions Manchester City last week but The Sun says that Chelsea "have met [Hazard's] representatives" and are close to agreeing a £25million deal for the midfield magician.
The Sun goes on to say that, if true, the news will come as a body blow to the Sky Blues who allegedly took Hazard "on a tour of properties in Cheshire" earlier in the month. Apparently Hazard's reservations about joining City centre on the strength of their squad and how much game time he would actually get in a team full of top-class talent.
However, Talksport has a completely different take on events, claiming that it's Manchester United who are "favourites" to sign Hazard, who scored a first-half hat-trick on Sunday night as Lille wrapped up their domestic campaign with a 4-1 thrashing of Nancy.
Talksport suggests United are Hazard's first-choice after reaching the conclusion Chelsea's managerial situation is too unstable for a young player such as he. United are believed to be offering to pay the Belgian "up to £200,000 a week" in wages.
Talking of staggering wage demands. the latest club to be linked to Arsenal captain Robin van Persie is Anzhi Makhachkala. The rich Russian outfit are reportedly eyeing up the Gunners' star striker and the Daily Mirror says they're prepared to pay him a knee-trembling "£300,000 a week" to make the switch east.
Apparently Anzhi boss Guus Hiddink has been given a "blank cheque" with which to bolster the Russian team's strikeforce and the first name on his shopping list is the 28-year-old Van Persie. The Mirror claims Anzhi will offer him a three-year contract worth £45million and quotes Hiddink as saying: "In this summer's transfer period we are going to get a couple of really well targeted investments to build this Anzhi team into an even bigger side in world football."
The ambitions of Anzhi's owner, Suleyman Kerimov, are said to know no bounds and he's already snared a host of top European stars, among them former Inter dynamo Samuel Eto'o, who is allegedly taking home a cool £320,000 a week.
Elsewhere, the Daily Star says that Arsenal and Tottenham are both on the tail of Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel. The 27-year-old Slovakian is apparently "considering his Anfield future" after the club's disappointing season ended with the sacking of manager Kenny Dalglish last week.
The Star says that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger reckons Skrtel is the sort of no-nonsense defender the club needs, and he hopes to entice him away from Anfield with the prospect of Champions League football, a competition Skrtel longs to be part of. He joined the Reds four years ago in a £6.5m deal with Russian club Zenit St Petersburg.
In other news the Daily Mail says that Chelsea's victory in Munich on Saturday night is bad news for Tottenham fans in more ways than one. Not only did the win secure Chelsea's entry into next season's Champions League at the expense of Spurs (who'll now be in the Europa League) but it might well lead to the departure of Luka Modric.
The Croatian midfielder was the subject of a £40m bid from Chelsea last summer, which the Lilywhites knocked back, but the Mail says they'll find it nigh on impossible to hold on to him now that the club has failed to make the Champions League cut. Real Madrid are rumoured to be eyeing up Modric and may offer £30m with Lassana Diarra thrown into the bargain.
Finally, Joe Cole could be on his way back to England and the particular part of east London where he made his name. The former Chelsea and Liverpool winger has spent the last season on loan at Lille, but is now set to rejoin Premier League new boys West Ham according to the Daily Mail.