Chelsea transfer window 2015: Pedro, Falcao and a 'mild panic'
The Blues have not been as efficient as they were last summer, and it shows, despite some big-name arrivals
Things have not been going well for Chelsea on or off the pitch recently. Last summer the Blues were efficient and focused in their transfer dealings and it was reflected on the pitch when the season got underway. This summer it has been rather different.
Everton scored a moral victory over Chelsea with their refusal to sell John Stones and it leaves Chelsea lacking in defence. The Blues did land Pedro and Abdul Baba Rahman there was little sense that they were players who had been identified long ago as key parts of a plan, like Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas had been a year earlier.
The fans hopes of a bid for Paul Pogba were also dashed and the signing of Radamel Falcao was a big gamble, while the last ditch efforts to land Marquinhos also failed.
"Mourinho ignored Fergie's mantra about improving from a position of strength," says The Sun, which adds that the Blues moves towards the end of the transfer window "had the air of mild panic".
However, it's not as if the Blues are short of numbers, keeping up with Chelsea's loanees has become almost impossible. Chelsea now have some 30 players plying their trade at different clubs.
Players in: Nathan (Atletico Paranaense), Radamel Falcao (Monaco, loan), Asmir Begovic (Stoke), Pedro (Barcelona), Kenedy (Fluminense), Baba Rahman (Augsburg), Papy Djilobodji (Nantes).
Players out: Didier Drogba (Montreal Impact), Gael Kakuta (Sevilla), Petr Cech (Arsenal), Marco van Ginkel (Stoke, loan), Oriol Romeu (Southampton), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Juan Cuadrado (Juventus, loan), Mohamed Salah (Roma, loan), Victor Moses (West Ham, loan).
Chelsea transfer deadline day news: no Pogba, Marquinhos bid fails
After failing to land John Stones during the transfer window, Chelsea have spent deadline day focusing on defensive reinforcements, with little or no sign of a mammoth bid for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba.
The club confirmed the arrival of Sengal defender Papy Djilobodji from Nantes on Tuesday afternoon but reportedly failed in a dramatic deadline day move for Paris Saint Germain star Marquinhos.
Marquinhos was not the only target. The Daily Mirror reports that the Blues landed Reading defender Michael Hector for a fee of £4m. The Jamaican international has been with Reading since 2009 but has been sent out on loan 11 times during his career with the Royals.
However, the 24-year-old will not walk into the Chelsea first team as he will reportedly be sent on loan, back to Reading.
Of more concern to Blues fans will be the news that Chelsea have failed to land a big name defender in the form of Marquinhos. Sky Sports claims that Chelsea made two deadline day bids but that PSG were not prepared to do business.
"It is understood the Blues have offered two separate sums between the £25.7m and £40.4m-mark for the Brazil international," says the broadcaster. Despite landing Djilobodji and Hector, Sky reports that Jose Mourinho was "keen to add the experience of Marquinhos, who has played in the Champions League and the World Cup for Brazil despite being only 21 years of age".
However, the window shut with no deal for the defender.
Chelsea transfer news: massive deadline day deal for Pogba?
With a deal for John Stones looking increasingly unlikely Chelsea have been forced to turn elsewhere in their search for a defender before the end of the transfer window.
Top of the list on deadline day is Nantes centre-back Papy Djilobodji who is set to join the Blues in a £2.7m deal according to Sky Sports. The 26-year-old Senegal international is available at a knock-down price as he is in the final year of his contract.
A rather more dramatic story comes from the Daily Express, which claims that Jose Mourinho is preparing to launch a massive bid for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba. The paper seizes on reports in Spain to claim that the "Blues boss is willing to spend £88m on Pogba in an effort to revitalise his side".
The Express goes on to state the obvious, by reporting: "Juve are keen to keep hold of the France international this summer, but are unlikely to be able to resist such a high offer for a player they signed on a free."
The Blues have been offloading talent as well on deadline day, with Victor Moses joining West Ham on loan for the season and ESPN reporting that midfielder Nathan Chalobah has joined Napoli for the season.
"Chalobah has yet to make a first-team appearance for Chelsea and he is well down the pecking order in Jose Mourinho's plans, but the Premier League club are keen for him to gain more valuable experience," says ESPN.
Chelsea transfer news: £35m bid as Stones asks to leave Everton
It seems that Everton defender John Stones has tired of playing the waiting game and handed in a transfer request to the Toffees, and could soon be on the way to Chelsea.
As broadcaster Talksport reports, the 21-year-old has been chased by Chelsea since the end of last season but Everton have knocked back three bids for the centre back with the most recent reputed to be "in the region of £30m".
With Everton gaffer Roberto Martinez repeatedly refusing to countenance the idea of offloading Stones, Chelsea's hopes looked dead and buried, but now comes news that Stones has given the Merseyside club an ultimatum. As a result, says Talksport, Everton "could now be forced into doing a deal" with Jose Mourinho before the transfer window closes in six days.
But perhaps Martinez has been prepared for just such an eventuality because Talksport reports that he has lined up River Plate defender Ramiro Funes Mori as a replacement. According to the Daily Star Chelsea will shortly table a fourth and final bid for Stones with the paper predicting the offer will be £35m "with add-ons taking it up to £40m". The Star adds that Mourinho is "hopeful" the offer will be enough to persuade Everton to sell the young defender.
Meanwhile Goal.com is one of several media outlets to confirm that Chelsea have finally agreed a deal with Juventus for winger Juan Cuadrado, with the 27-year-old Colombian now set to join the Italian champions on a season-long loan. Cuadrado has failed to fire at the Bridge since arriving from Fiorentina in January and his fate was sealed when the Blues signed Pedro from Barcelona last week.
Chelsea transfer news: Blues plot Pogba swap deal
There is a plot going on at the Bridge and according to the Sunday Times it is "thickening". It concerns the future of Juventus playmaker Paul Pogba, with claims that Chelsea want to sign the French dazzler to "retool their squad."
In return for Pogba, Jose Mourinho will offer the Italian champions Ramires and Juan Cuadrado and the Sunday Times reports that Juventus are "interested" in the proposition.
The paper says that Chelsea's recent purchase of Pedro has left the squad "heavy on players comfortable on the right side of the attack", and Mourinho is desperate to rectify this imbalance before the transfer window slams shut.
As for Juventus, they are apparently keen to strengthen their midfield following the summer departure of Andrea Pirlo to Major League Soccer and the sale of Arturo Vidal to Bayern Munich. The paper says that as far as Cuadrado is concerned they'll take him "on a season's loan, possibly with a guaranteed option to buy".
Chelsea transfer news: 'crazy' Pedro deal down to Fabregas
Even by the crazy and confused standards of the summer transfer window, Chelsea's capture of Pedro on Wednesday is one of the more outlandish deals of the summer.
For the past few weeks the Barcelona playmaker has been linked with one Premier League club only - Manchester United, with Sky Sports reporting that the club's chief executive Ed Woodward recently "visited Barcelona for talks". But it seems Woodward and the European champions couldn't agree terms, and the Red Devils turned their attention to Southampton frontman Sadio Mane.
That left the door ajar for the Blues, and they forced their way through it this week with Sky reporting that negotiations between Chelsea and Barca "began as late as Tuesday but were concluded swiftly".
It's understood that Pedro flew into London yesterday and is "likely to undergo a medical" later today. The 28-year-old winger is expected to cost Chelsea £21.1m, and according to the The Guardian it was telephone conversations with manager Jose Mourinho and former Barca teammate Cesc Fabregas that led Pedro to "snub long-standing interest" from United.
The paper adds that Pedro was also increasingly concerned by "Van Gaal's treatment of his friend, the discarded goalkeeper Víctor Valdes", who joined United last season and has struggled to form much of a relationship with the Dutch manager.
Chelsea transfer news: Everton demand £40m for Stones
Everton may have knocked back three Chelsea offers for defender John Stones this summer but according to Talksport it's a matter of when and not if the Toffees finally relent and sell John Stones.
The 21-year-old defender has been eyed up by the Blues since the end of last season, and although they've just had their latest offer – believed to be in the region of £30m rejected – Talksport predict the reigning Premier League champions will "keep coming back" until Stones is ensconced at the Bridge. With John Terry starting to look his age - he was substituted at half-time in Chelsea's 3-0 defeat at Manchester City on Sunday - Jose Mourinho is more determined than ever to land Stones.
According to former Everton legend turned loud-mouthed pundit Andy Gray, Chelsea will "up the ante a bit" and make the Merseyside club an offer they cannot refuse. Asked how much he believed Everton would sell Stones for, Gray said he believed they would accept an offer of £40m.
Meanwhile the Daily Express claims that Chelsea are going to make a late move to pinch Pedro from under the noses of Manchester United. The 28-year-old Barcelona star has long been linked with a move to Old Trafford, but apparently the Blues are now "ready to gazump" their Premier League rivals.
Jose Mourinho, who at one stage had "reservations" about Pedro, has decided that the winger could cut the mustard in the Premier League after all, and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has authorised his manager to "indulge in a late splurge". Whether the splurge will come in time remains to be seen with the Express claiming that United are "confident of closing out a £22m deal" before the transfer window closes.
Chelsea transfer news: Berlusconi blocks Ibrahimovic
Has disgraced former Italian president Silvio Berlusconi set out to stop Chelsea signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic? That's the claim in the Daily Express with the paper reporting that the king of Bunga Bunga – and also the president of AC Milan – has "waded in" to block the efforts of Chelsea to sign the 33-year-old Swedish striker from Paris Saint-Germain.
It's rumoured that Ibrahimovic will be sold by the French champions "before deadline day" and although Arsenal and Manchester United have both been mooted as possible suitors, Chelsea have shown the greatest interest in the lanky goal machine.
But Berlusconi has ambitions to bring the striker back to Italy, declaring: "I want him... if Ibra wants to come, we're waiting for him with open arms. Let's hope." Ibrahimovic, who played for Milan between 2010 and 2012, is still a huge favourite with the San Siro faithful but it's debatable whether Milan will be able to meet the Swede's astronomical wage demands.
Chelsea transfer news: Stones still not for sale, say Everton
Not for the first time this summer Everton manager Roberto Martinez has told Chelsea that his coveted defender John Stones is not for sale.
A visibly irritated Toffees gaffer was asked on Thursday about the continuing rumours linking the 21-year-old defender to Stamford Bridge, reports Talksport, which notes that an offer close to £30m has now been lodged.
But if Chelsea think that will be enough to weaken Everton's resolve they might have to think again. "I have said before the player is not for sale and that is the end of it," snapped Martinez at the club's Finch Farm training headquarters. He continued: "Our situation has been very clear from the beginning. We are not a selling club who will lose our best performers."
Martinez declared that he believes Stones will be a part of the Goodison Park furniture for years to come, telling reporters: "He is very important player for us and we are looking forward to seeing the best of John over the next few seasons, not just the next few weeks."
Chelsea transfer news: Everton demand £34m for John Stones
A stutter at home to Swansea on Saturday has sharpened Chelsea's desire to land Everton defender John Stones, and according to the Daily Mirror the Toffees are prepared to sell.
However, the Blues – who were held 2-2 in the season's league opener against the Swans - will have to meet Everton's £34m valuation if they want to bring him to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have already tabled two bids for the 21-year-old defender but on both occasions they were knocked back with Everton ridiculing the £20m and £26m offers. The Mirror alleges that Everton boss Roberto Martinez believes Stones "has had his head turned by the attention" from the champions and has told the club board that they might as well squeeze Chelsea for every penny they can get.
Whether Chelsea cough up that amount remains to be seen. The Guardian reports that Jose Mourinho is planning to make a third offer for the centre-back, but says he will only put £30m on the table.
Chelsea transfer news: Ghana star Rahman agrees Blues move
On the same day Chelsea wrapped up their pre-season with another defeat, this time at home to Fiorentina, the reigning champions could at least console themselves with the capture of Augsburg left-back Baba Rahman.
According to Sky Sports the 21-year-old has given his word to Chelsea and "all that is left is for the clubs to agree a fee".
Apparently Rahman has been on Jose Mourinho's radar for a while after the defender caught his eye last season in the Bundesliga. Sky Sports says the defender "made more tackles than any other left-back" in the German top flight last season and the Ghana international is now going to bring his tough tackling to the Bridge.
"We on our side are agreed," explained Rahman's agent, Sascha Empacher, to German newspaper Bild: "It is only the clubs that have to find an agreement."