It's been a strange day for Chelsea news and rumours, so in the interests of saving myself some time I'm going to combine it all in this thread and write bullet points. There's lots of stuff to get to, so let's dive in...
- A Bola is claiming that FC Porto's Radamel Falcao is still being heavily pursued by Chelsea, although there's nothing concrete enough to go on just yet. The striker had previously indicated that he'd like to follow former manager Andre Villas-Boas to Stamford Bridge and has a relatively reasonable release clause, but Chelsea's striker situation is already overly complicated and if Falcao did arrive one would have to imagine that Didier Drogba would be the man out in the cold.
It's a perplexing scenario, and one I don't quite believe myself, but with everyone saying it's going to happen, this move could well go through at any time.
- Speaking of Villas-Boas, he was interviewed by the Sunday Mirror and talked about the importance of allowing the Blues to play in an unpredictable, free-flowing system:
I'm no dictator. I encourage freedom of choice in football. Players can only achieve their true potential if they are not shackled and are able to stand on their own two feet. Creativity in my players is important. I love the unpredictable part of the game. I strongly believe that players have to express themselves to their full potential, they must be able to make choices during the game.One suspects that Villas-Boas is referring primarily to the attacking players in his 4-3-3, because being overly creative in the defence isn't always the wisest idea. Then again, if he does want an unpredictable defender, Chelsea have David Luiz on hand. Anyway, look for a more fluid, dynamic front three next year, although who's actually playing in it is anyone's guess.
- Bryan English and Glenn Driscoll have apparently both left the club in the wake of assistant first-team coach Paul Clement. Both were involved in the heavily-critisised Chelsea medical department, and with Villas-Boas bringing Jose Mario Rocha in to revamp the fitness programme it's not really a huge surprise that each has been shown the door.
- Rumours of a renewed Alexis Sanchez pursuit continue, with Villas-Boas reportedly in direct contact with the Chilaean, who had previously been interested in moving only to Barcelona. Rumour has it that Sanchez would find a move to Chelsea acceptable (more so than to Manchester City, at any rate), and so the Blues are working on making an improved bid to Udinese for his services.
Club president Giampaolo Pozzo has set a 50M price tag on Sanchez's head, and while City and Chelsea are reportedly below that figure, they're not too far off at 38M (43M) each. There may well be something to this, and unlike the Falcao story this rumour actually makes sense.
- Villas-Boas' move to Chelsea was reportedly delayed by Porto refusing to negotiate down the release clause on his contract for 15M, which led to owner Roman Abramovich negotating down Villas-Boas' proposed salary by 1M per season (after taxes). Although Villas-Boas doubled his pay by coming to Stamford Bridge, he still left a lot of money on the negotiating table in agreeing to take over.
- A Bola are reporting Chelsea are looking to highjack Real Madrid's move for Benfica left-back Fabio Coentrao, which would be totally amazing. Unfortunately, their source is the Daily Star Sunday, which means that Chelsea actually don't even have Coentrao's agent's phone number.
So yeah. That's Sunday in a nutshell for everyone. There are some rumours flying around that Falcao will sign for the club as soon as today, but that would surprise me. Still, keep an eye open for anything exciting!