Seriously, there's good news in here for absolutely everyone. Including Tottenham Hotspur fans who could probably do with some good news after getting Chris Foy'd earlier today. First up: Oriol Romeu. Take it away, Andre Villas-Boas:
First of all, this is fantastic. Romeu's just 20 years old and has been performing brilliantly in the holding midfield role all season. We picked him up from Barcelona relatively cheaply in the summer, and with a buy-back clause specified in that deal I think basically every Chelsea fan under the sun has been living in fear that the European champions will take him right back this year. That's led to some hand-wringing whenever he's done anything good, which is mostly everything he's done. Well, fear no longer.
Second, Chelsea have confirmed that Barcelona have the right of first refusal rather than an actual buy-back, which would have been helpful to know at the time it happened, because that makes the deal absolutely bloody amazing and I'd liked to have given the club more credit for that at the time. Sounds like we've all been worrying for absolutely nothing, because Chelsea aren't going to be willing to sell Romeu anytime soon. This also explains why the poor kid's been so baffled by the 'do you want to go back to Barcelona' questions.
Moving on, we've got AVB talking goalkeepers, including the on-loan Thibaut Courtois:
There are false stories about Petr Cech leaving the club. We are trying to reach an agreement with Petr and he knows we are interested in renewing his contract.
Regarding Courtios, we have to make a decision at the end of the season. We will not recall him in January for sure.
Despite a somewhat erratic start to the season by Cech, I think we can all be pretty satisfied with keeping him around for a few more years. As for Courtois, he's doing pretty gosh-darn well at Atletico Madrid, and recalling him to be a backup would be a complete waste of his development time. Thank goodness that that's not going to happen.
And now some good news for Spurs fans and bad news for people who enjoy trolling them (i.e. me):
[Are we going for] Luka Modric I don't think so because we have Michael Essien returning and I think we have left that one out for sure.
Fiddlesticks! Fortunately there's another rumoured transfer target we're not going after either, and that kind of balances it out - we're not interested in Bolton's Gary Cahill:
At the moment we have not made any enquires about Gary Cahill. He is a fantastic player because he plays for the English national team and he is a central defender of high qualities. He had a fantastic year last season and this year he has improved but he is not a player that we are considering.
The fact that Villas-Boas says that Cahill is a fantastic player is slightly disconcerting, because Cahill is sublimely average, but I'm going to go ahead and assume that the boss is just being diplomatic. Also out of the running, apparently, is FC Porto left back Alvaro Perreira, but I don't want to quote that because this post is full of quotes already.
Anyway, there's been some fuss about reinforcing the defence and adding more depth at centre half with Alex leaving, hence the Cahill rumours floating around like so many buzzing, irksome flies. Turns out that we may not have too much to worry about, because we might be able to just bring Slobodan Rajkovic back from Hamburg. There are several stories to that effect (and some supposed quotes from the manager) running around the internet, but I'm not 100% convinced they're true.
Even if Chelsea do have a buy-back on Rajkovic, there would still be work permit issues plus the fact that he's looked merely ok playing for a bad Hamburg team alongside Jeffrey Bruma. But hey, more options would always be nice, and anything that distances us from Cahill rumours gives me smiles.