I've concluded my jaunt across the Atlantic and am back in the States, which means that a) I've missed a few days worth of Chelsea news and b) am even less coherent than usual thanks to a massive dose of jetlag. I don't even know what day it is right now. In other words, this is going to be a weird and winding post, and that's by my weird and winding standards. You have been warned. To the bullet points!
- Let's start with the Daily Mail's claim that Juventus are 'weighing up' an offer for John Obi Mikel, and that Chelsea are willing to sell for 15M. This makes sense in two cases, the first being the world in which we can find a capable defensive midfielder to slot in as his replacement for less than 15M (which I can't really see, but who knows) and the second being a switch from the 4-1-2-3 to a 4-2-3-1 system, which also seems unlikely. Also, something about Michel Bastos, who wouldn't be a totally unreasonable solution to the left winger problem, what with being an un-injured Brazilian version of Yuri Zhirkov. But, in all likelihood, the Mail's just making this up. What a shocker that would be.
- Speaking of shockers, it looks like that Javier Pastore deal mentioned by Maurizio Zamparini doesn't exist after all, but he's sticking to his guns regarding the 90% likelihood of him leaving to England or Spain, with Real Madrid and Malaga the current favourites. Barcelona have been excluded because they have Andres Iniesta and Xavi in the midfield, but apparently Zamparini doesn't think much of the combined talents of Mesut Ozil, Nuri Sahin, Kaka and the other undoubtedly excellent attacking midfield players Jose Mourinho boasts that I've embarrassingly forgotten about. In other words, Zamparini is still crazy. Oh, and if Pastore doesn't move on by the end of the Copa America, he's not leaving Palermo at all, says the boss. I'm not exactly going to take his word for it.
- Fabio Coentrao has at long last moved from Benfica to Real Madrid. Since that news was first mentioned something like three weeks ago, I believe that this marks the fastest transfer that Benfica have been involved in, ever. Coentrao had somewhat bizarrely been linked to Chelsea (hence the mention), but that was a rumour that never really made any sense, so off he goes to Real in order to fight it out with Marcelo for the left back spot. The cost? €30M. There's a lot of talent flowing out of Portuguese football right now, and one wonders how long it'll take them to recover.
- Something something Luka Modric something something. I don't think much has changed since we last visited the little Croatian, and if Chelsea really want him they're going to have to be prepared for the transfer process to last all summer. Personally, I think Pastore's a better fit thanks to where he'd prefer to play in the midfield triangle, but I'd take Modric at a reasonably price quite happily, since Pastore will be super-expensive and it'll annoy Tottenham Hotspur.
- Oh, and there are rumours that Andre Villas-Boas could be looking to strengthen the centre of the Chelsea defence with a bid for Scott Dann or Gary Cahill. These apparently stem from the rumours that David Luiz could be on the move to Real Madrid or Barcelona, and are probably equally valid. If the Blues are looking for a fifth choice, English centre half, Nathaniel Chabolah will do just fine. Depth in the middle of the defence is something approaching the least of Chelsea's concerns.
I've probably missed some news - a peril of travel - and so I preemptively apologise for that. I'll be back in the swing of things soon, but I have about 16 hours of sleep to catch up on first.