Chelsea: Real Madrid star linked; Free transfer signing imminent; Terry update
The Mirror report that the Blues had been planning a move for Real Madrid central defender Pepe, with a two year deal prepared. The Euro 2016 winner’s current deal at the Bernabeu expires in the summer, meaning that he is able to sign a pre-contract with any team outside of Spain in January, but the deal could now be in jeopardy as a transfer ban handed down from FIFA for irregularities in signing youth players has forced Real Madrid to offer new and extended contracts to some of their fringe players, including Pepe.
The feisty 33-year-old has a wealth of experience at the very top level of the game over recent years and it was hoped that he would bring that knowledge to London, where he could rotate with John Terry to ease the burden on their captain and help to bring through the next generation of Chelsea defenders. Whether or not Pepe will hold out for a move to England remains to be seen, but at present it seems unlikely with a deal until 2019, with an option to extend, on the table from his current club.
An alternative could be former Juventus defender Martin Caceres, who worked with Antonio Conte in Turin. The Express report that four other Premier League clubs are chasing the Uruguayan, with Southampton, Swansea, Sunderland and West Brom also monitoring his situation. The 29-year-old was released from Juve last season and is in demand as he offers a versatile option across the back four.
Capable of playing at right-back, and even of covering at left-back, the central defender made just nine appearances last season, so would likely take some time to get match fit, but would be a cheap alternative to provide cover for the Chelsea defence over the winter months. Caceres was one of Conte’s first signings at Juventus from Sevilla after a spell at Barcelona, and he could become one of his first additions at Chelsea too if these rumours are substantiated.
Should either player join the Blues, they would likely be providing cover and a long term option in favour of captain John Terry. The 35-year-old went down in the dying moments of this weekend’s clash with Swansea with an ankle problem, and BBC Sport claim that he is set for a scan on the injury with his ankle sorely bruised and swollen as physios seek to determine the extent of his injury.
That opens the door to David Luiz to make his second debut for the club as the Blues welcome Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool side to Stamford Bridge for an exciting game of Friday night football this weekend. However, to lose their leader comes as a blow to Antonio Conte and his team, who will be hoping that Terry’s injury is not serious and that he will be back in action sooner rather than later as they seek to keep up the pressure on Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.
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