As soon as it was announced that Cesc Fabregas would be on the bench as the only high profile casualty of the arrival of Antonio Conte, it sparked speculation regarding his future. The Telegraph now report that the Spaniard could be set for a hugely controversial move to Real Madrid after Juventus withdrew their interest. The 29-year-old is not a key figure in Conte’s plans and will be allowed to leave, though no fee has been set or agreed between the clubs.
Fabregas struggled for form last season and may not be seen as a massive loss by many Blues fans, and with Real Madrid desperate to strengthen ahead of an impending transfer ban from FIFA, the club will be hoping to cash in while they can before the World Cup winner sees his value plummet with age. As a Barcelona youth product and former star for los Cules, a move to Real Madrid would upset many but in terms of his career prospects, it is a great opportunity for him to join the Champions League winners and compete for titles.
There could also be a replacement coming the other way if the Evening Standard are to be believed. They claim that the London club are preparing a move for unwanted Colombian James Rodriguez, who Zinedine Zidane is keen to sell before the window shuts at the end of the month. A marquee signing after the 2014 World Cup, James has been disappointing for the club but they are reluctant to lose money by selling him and have put a valuation of £75 million on his head, though many believe that they will accept a lower offer to force through a sale.
How he would fit into a Chelsea side full of attacking midfielders and not as a like for like replacement for Cesc Fabregas remains to be seen, as he would be an expensive man to accommodate unless there is a plan in place. There would also be doubts over how he would adapt to the physicality of the Premier League, particularly given his frequent injury problems. Therefore, it seems an expensive gamble for the club to take, though it may just be worth taking if they can get a bargain deal with Fabregas going the other way and he can replicate his form of the last World Cup which saw him earn his move to Madrid.
The Blues are also preparing yet another offer for Kalidou Koulibaly, with the Sun reporting that this offer will have a value of £48 million as they attempt to persuade Napoli to part with their commanding central defender. Identified as a top target in June by Antonio Conte and his staff, the Blues are desperate to get their man despite reluctance to negotiate from the Italian club.
At such an inflated price it is hard to argue that the deal would be valid for money, particularly given that the home grown and younger John Stones was available for little more. However, with Kurt Zouma still not fully recovered from a knee injury, and only John Terry, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic available, reinforcements are necessary for the Blues, particularly as the club seeks a long term replacement for their captain having almost let him go this summer.
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